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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pleasant and less pleasant surprises

Tuesday we decided we actually needed to leave the house and go to Galle. It is a fortress town originally built by the Dutch and later taken over by the British. Because of its high surrounding walls, the fortress part of the town escaped most of the Tsunami destruction elsewhere.

We planned to take a bus, but at the last minute had a guy at a neighboring hotel call a taxi for us. After some negotiating on the price (why do we bother when they actually know how to do this?) we were told he was 200 yards away and would come straight away. After 15 minutes we were getting impatient. Apparently the driver was 200 yards away having lunch, a point that was not communicated from the beginning. We got a little hissy and suggested that the delay would affect the price.
The driver readjusted our thinking. He offered to not only drive us for less than the originally negotiated price, but also to spend the day in Galle doing his own business and bring us back whenever we were finished. He told us not to rush, enjoy a nice dinner there and call him when we were ready. Another lesson for us: Time is relative.
We found some very nice shops, bought a gift for our host, and very nearly bought a fabulous necklace for Alison, before heading to the Galle Fort Hotel for a much needed cocktail. This was a charming place with only 12 rooms and an excellent bartender. While sitting out as the sun was setting we were bothered a bit by mosquitoes. The duty manager noticed and brought us a very nice rose scented mosquito repellent cream along with a nice after-bite balm, both at no charge. If you sit still long enough someone will offer you exactly what you need.

We Checked out the menu – very British (and dare I say boring?). We were advised to go to Serendipity for local food. Upon entering we saw one large communal table, which was fine, and no alcohol, which was less fine. Change of plans – we would head back to Hikkaduwa.
Our driver was already waiting for us at the designated spot, and recommended we go to "Refresh" in Hikkaduwa. He accompanied us to a beautiful beachside restaurant which we had not discovered earlier in the week, and made sure we were being taken care of before leaving us to our dinner, which was the best we have had so far here.

Hopped in a tuk-tuk to go for our nightcap at Top Secret, and were joined at our table by 3 men, a Swede and 2 Sri Lankans. They admitted they were already quite drunk but sat with us and talked our ears off for an hour or so. We left them to come home, keeping an eye that no one was following us. Upon arriving at our locked gate we attempted to rouse our night watchman. While repeatedly banging on his window and our gate, 3 men appeared on motorcycles and stopped just across the road, watching us. Of course we were sure they were somehow threatening, so we banged louder and woke the neighborhood dogs, and eventually the night watchman. I am pretty sure he was drunk. We decided to just lock our doors and hope no one was going to attack us, since he quite obviously would be no protection on this night.
We noticed something strange on the floor, but the light was dim so we agreed to call it flora vs. fauna for the evening.
Then the power went out. This is a big old house, and we were already on alert from the night’s events. Now it is a big old pitch black house. And we could not find matches to light the candles. And there was no flashlight.  The moment to make sure there is a flashlight and candles in the house is at least 5 minutes before the power goes out! Back to the night watchman, woke him up again, and asked him for a lighter. He came into the house, watched us light a couple of candles, and then offered us the only flashlight. We accepted. We also decided to sleep in the room with 2 beds, not that we were frightened or anything just for practical purposes you understand. Of course by the time we went to bed the power came back on and we called off the alarms. Well Alison did. My body decided to stay on high alert for the whole night just in case any remaining danger should present itself.
This morning we got a proper photo of our late night visitor. It wasn’t flora.


  1. Quite a night for the two adventurers.
    Spiders and bats, oh my.

  2. Oh goodness gracious! I'd flip my lid and head straight for the bar.

  3. Eventful! So, you also got a ride on local tuk-tuk. :)


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