Broome to Hikkaduwa without a hitch
Trip Start Feb 25, 2011
6Trip End Apr 01, 2011
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Where I stayed
Ocean Beach Cottages
The longest delay we had was in our hometown of Broome waiting for the plane to take off.
On our arrival in Columbo we'd arranged for our accommodation to pick us up and take us directly to our accommodation in Hikiduwa, 3 hours south. We where pretty tired at that stage and took turns sleeping on the back seat whilst the other person tried, in vain, to convince the driver to turn the Air-con down- it was freezing. Every half hour the driver would stop and wipe down the windscreen as he couldn't see out of it due to the aircon fogging it up. I tried again suggesting he turn it off and got to reply "about 2 hours, yes it is a nice van, 5 rupees"???? We got to our accommodation around 5am, after traveling 12 1/2 hours, and sitting in airports for another 6 hours
To go straight to our accommodation was worth it though- it was great getting up and walking down to the beach rather then face another days travel if we opted to spend the night closer to the airport.
Hikaduwa was a Hippy enclave in the 1970's and is home to huge waves, lots of Germans, French, Israelite tourists and ferocious traffic one street back from the beach. Our accommodation was called the Ocean View Cottage, somewhat misnamed as it was a 3 story cottage but very clean, big rooms with hot water shower, pristine pool and very happy staff. US $35 per night. Our first image of Sri Lankans were a very friendly smiling people, bright and colourful landscape, lush & tropical with pretty houses and well tended gardens.
Our second image was the traffic, OMG the traffic. Virtually every guest house/hotel in Hikaduwa was situated on Galle Rd- one of the busiest roads outside of Colombo.
Having traveled a fair bit Dave & I are no stranger to traffic but Sri Lanka wins the prize. Have you ever seen a fuel tanker overtake a bus which is overtaking a Tuk Tuk on a blind corner? We have. We learnt 3 words in Singalese in our first couple of days in Sri Lanka, 1: "Istutde"- thank you, 2- "Harrihydi": very nice (for food) and "Phissu" - which means: "Crazy", especially used for the Bus Drivers (note; since heard that Indian traffic is ten times worse- how is anyone left alive in India?)
On the 2nd day there we had a revelation, Dave was avoiding the "Sleeping dog lying at the side of the road" and spotted a lane way, we went down the lane way and it was a total different world
That night we hung out at a beach bar with the locals and watched Sri Lanka play Pakistan. Sri Lanka lost which was a pity but the Sri Lankan's watching it had a great time anyway. This is one of the reason we decided to come to Sri Lanka, in the last world cup in the Caribbean the Sri Lankans always looked like they were having a ball.
The next day we visited a Moon Stone mine and a mask factory
The next day we got our Tuk Tuk driver to take us to Galle- our objection was to find accommodation- his was to take us on a tour. We compromised and let him show us around a few places before dragging him off to take us around to various accommodation.
We nicknamed our driver "Darth", after Darth Vader from Star Wars, as he had a very deep voice and the reflexes of Luke Skywalker. He needed it in this traffic. He also had a very strict code of honour, he allowed a car to cut straight across in front of us to pull into a parking space. This caused the enormous bus behind us to hit his brakes and his horn, screeching to a stop about 2cm behind our backs. I let out a squeak of fear, Darth just smiled.
The following day Darth dropped us off to our accommodation in Galle; "Seagreen"
Galle is made up of two parts, the Fort and New town. Inside the enormous fort walls are houses, hotels, shops, old churches and mosques. Parts of the Fort dated back to the mid 17th century and a couple of the old churches had gravestones in the inside dating from around the same era. Many of the houses were old Dutch houses with huge columns and roofs. Obviously the Dutch were a really tall people even then and not just today.
During the evening dozens of locals, tourist and school kids strolled around the wall (the whole wall would take around 2 hours to walk), and played cricket on the green just inside the walls.
We spent a couple of days in Galle wandering around the beautiful old town before catching the train to Colombo. Dave's favourite discovery in Galle was the power points- apparently as a safety feature you have to push in one of the holes so you can plug in the appliance to the other two holes. To push the hole in you use a screwdriver- due to it being drummed into us as children that you "never stick anything in an power outlet" we couldn't bring ourselves to do it and had to get a staff member to help us out.