Galle Fort - July 23rd 2015

Last night at the Villa, we dined on fresh caught prawns. I had them grilled with garlic sauce and Erica had them devilled. Washed them down with a couple of Gin and Tonics for good measure. A violent storm struck just on dinner time and put paid to our romantic last dinner on the beach!  

Kodi (our host from Galle Fort) picked us up at 10am and took us to the village he was born in on the way to the Fort. He related to us the most tragic story. His brother and his two daughters had been living in the 90 year old family home in April this year when tragedy struck. Someone had left the stove gas on overnight and when the daughter smelt gas in the kitchen she summoned her father who went into the kitchen to turn off the gas. The daughter turned the light on and a spark from the switch ignited the gas and they were engulfed in fire. With nearly 100% burns to the body, despite all efforts they both died within a week.

They are having a Buddhist ceremony this weekend with 400 people attending to mark 3 months since it happened. We met the other daughter who was very attractive, spoke excellent English and has been topping her class at University. Had a great conversation with her ranging from lack of education amongst the youth here to her desire to travel.

The house was stunning and had been built by Kodi’s grandfather. Decorum did not allow for us to take any pics so soon after such a tragedy. All concerned seemed very accepting of the cruel twist fate had played on them and the way they were coping so well was inspirational.

Kodi and Erica eating coconut

Kodi and Erica eating coconut

Leaving the house we passed a very old villa and Kodi explained that 75 years ago a son had killed both his parents and their dog because they would not give him money. He was hung for the crime and no one has lived in the house since! Kodi bought us both a King Coconut roadside and then took us to the Closenburg Hotel set on what was once an island on the bay. It was built in 1860 by a P&O shipping agent and named after his wife. Sold in 1889 and has been in the same hands since.

A wedding reception was about to start and not to be deterred we walked in to take a look. A very lavish affair was about to begin so we retreated after admiring the Floral arrangements on the entry steps. This hotel is about US$ 140 a night but its position is magnificent and would be a great place to overnight in Galle.       

Fish market roadside

Fish market roadside

Next stop was the simple fish market set up roadside in front of their beached boats. So many types of fish and all locals doing the buying. On to Fort Galle when on enquiring where to get a haircut Kodi stopped and introduced us to his barber and we were left there to get a cut while he took our bags to his place. It was a good haircut, moustache trim and eyebrow trim with a long head massage to finish. My first Sri Lankan haircut and a big improvement on my Chinese one in Melakka! Cost A$6.

Went for a walk around Galle fort and then the rain came down. We stopped to shelter outside a Gallery/Jewellers and the owner came out and was chatting to us. He was telling us that a maid or gardener here costs around A$300 a month. House rentals outside The Fort in the hinterland are from A$500 to A$1000 a calendar month. He also explained that it is still possible for foreigners to buy here as Lawyers have found a way that circumvents the foreign ownership rules. They state that any property purchased by a foreigner must be by a company incorporated in Sri Lanka with 51% Sri Lankan ownership and the foreign owner with 49% is not able to buy out the 51% for 20 years.

Beatrice House is being painted inside but Kodi has insisted on feeding us tonight!