Great wall of Galle

Trip Start Oct 31, 2009
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Trip End Feb 25, 2010


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Where I stayed
Fort Inn

Flag of Sri Lanka  , Southern,
Friday, January 22, 2010

A very short bus ride from Mirissa to our final stop in Sri Lanka, in fact on the Indian sub-continent, Galle. The town is split into two parts, the old town: Galle fort, and the new town. Galle fort occupies a peninsular, and is totally surrounded by a high, thick  stone wall - on three sides are sea and to the other land. The walls, designed to resist cannon blasts, were strong enough 5 years ago to protect the old town from the tsunami - whilst the new town was badly damaged. A local cafe owner showed us his pictures - buses well into the town knocked over and left laying at strange angles, wrecked tuk-tuks, and people clinging to roofs waiting for the water to go. Pretty horrifying.

The old town within the fort is a small pleasant collection of old colonial era buildings - residential, interspersed with good quality tourists shops, guest houses and boutique hotels. The old town has a lovely laid-back atmosphere - locals and tourists walk along the tops of the walls taking in the great views across the turquoise Indian ocean, sunset being a particularly popular time to promenade. The food is good - thanks to the boutique hotels - we have a great meals at the Galle Fort Hotel and the sun house. There's also a good cheap Indian - "Indian Hut" - decor and logo suspiciously similar to Pizza Hut. 

Like most tourists to Sri Lanka we buy a traditional wooden mask - tightly wrapped in bubble wrap but instantly recognisable to the parcel wrapper at the post office. Parcel wrapping in Sri Lanka is not quite the art it is in India - where the parcels are sown into linen and sealed with sealing wax - in Sri Lanka simple paper does. At the post office counter the staff looked shocked at our customs form - apparently over the amount where we would have to pay tax, and obligingly change all the values for us so we avoid this!
 
We take a day trip from Galle to a turtle hatchery - a short bus ride up the coast. They buy sea turtle eggs for slightly more than the going rate they sell for eating, let them hatch and release the turtles. They have a few tanks of turtles - from small new hatchlings, to big adults, to bring in the tourists, to fund the hatchery. The small ones are very cute, the big ones very large powerful looking beasts - I wouldn't want my fingers near their beaks. 

Our last rice and curry of the trip from our guest house just before leaving for the airport. In both Indian and Sri Lanka there is great reluctance to give westerners spicy food. I'll miss the huge smile of surprise and joy you get from Indians and Sri Lankans when we insist that yes we do like spicy food.  Although it usually then still comes out somewhere between mild and medium accordimg to a good English curry house...

Then that's it - after three months we leave the Indian sub-continent - onwards to South East Asia! 
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