Fishing for Money
Trip Start Nov 16, 2007
27Trip End Dec 15, 2007
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However, I stuck with my original plan to visit the village of Mirissa. Mirissa was formerly the island's most famously "undiscovered" beach, and although there was a very small smattering of (mainly backpacker) tourists, you still felt you had the place almost to yourself. Far better to sleep off any excesses along one of the prettiest beaches in the island, which was mercifully free from hawkers, than a darkened hotel room.
The coastal section between Unawatuna and Mirissa is the best place to witness one of Sri Lanka's most emblemic sights, stilt fishermen. The stilts consist of a single pole and crossbar planted out in the sea, on which fishermen perch whilst casting their lines when the currents flow in the right direction
It's often claimed that Sri Lanka has more festivals than than any other country in the world, with four major religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Muslim, and Christianity) all represented on the island - with the largest ethnic and religious groups being the mainly Buddhist Singhalese (74%) and the predominently Hindu Tamils (18%).
Buddhist festivals revolve around the days of the full moon - or Poya days - which are official public holidays as well as having special religious significance. On poya days, Sri Lankan Buddhists traditionally make offerings at their local temple, whilst the less pious section of the population seemingly mark the occasion with widespread drunkeness! An example of the latter spent the evening serving the same merry band who had met the previous night with ever larger measures of arrack (beer is widely available on poya days), with a "one for you, two for me" approach. Not that we had a problem with that, especially when it came to settling our 'heavily discounted' bar tab, before trudging along the beach to respective accommodations guided by the intermittent lightening (fortunately the rain held off).