Relaxing in Mirissa and Unawatuna
Wednesday 19 Jan 11 - Thursday 20 Jan 11
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Easy day on the beach today as the AuSLMAT trip draws to a close.
We enjoyed the cool, blue seawater before breakfast, attempting to bodysurf rather unsuccessfully before cleaning off the sand in the hotel pool.
The sole job of the day was completed in the hot midday sun. We had to do a stocktake of the medication in the truck, as that was heading back to Colombo, and also so that we know what we need to buy next trip. Although it didn’t take much more than an hour, we were pretty tired by the end – the heat drains the energy from you.
After the job was done we were ready for another swim and then lunch. We stopped at one of the small restaurants along the beach and hand picked our fish, a red snapper, and ate it with gusto.
We had to get back to the hotel to meet the drivers for the scheduled late afternoon beach cricket match. The sand was hardly ideal – too soft for any significant bounce – but where there’s a will, there’s a way, and we got going quickly.
A few British tourists joined in. How they beat us in the Ashes is beyond me. From this small sample group there is absolutely no talent in English cricket whatsoever, and the Sri Lankans and Australians well and truly showed them up.
The game didn’t last long, however, because our two 15 rupee tennis balls were quickly broken beyond repair. We shook hands and called it quits before walking up towards Parrot Rock further along the beach for farewell drinks. The Schneider-Grills are leaving tomorrow, and a drink as we watch the sun set over the beach seemed an ideal opportunity to say goodbye to the country.
And so it proved. By the time we left the rock, having talked and drank and snacked for a good hour or more, the sun was down and the moon was up, and this was the primary light for our walk back to Paradise Beach Hotel.
A swim in the dark before dinner completed a very nice day, and I’ll be sure to return to Mirissa over the next few months if I get a chance.
Lying at the Unawatuna Beach Resort on the last evening with the family before the big split.
Another fairly relaxing day today, with not much of note to report. We started in a similar fashion to yesterday, with breakfast and a swim, enjoying the sizable but manageable waves as we again tried to bodysurf. The water is so clean and refreshing – I could have stayed in all day!
But we had to get moving. We packed our belongings, and went down to the restaurant for a drink and to say a final goodbye to Hans and Vivien. It was here I met Sagala, an ex-politician friend of Des, who could be a very useful contact while I’m in Seenigama. Stay tuned for more.
Mum made a speech thanking the entire bunch of Schneider-Grills for their hard work, and Vivien made a very nice speech thanking us for having them. Kaye also got up and thanked Mum for all her ridiculously hard work and presented her with a gift from the group, which I think she really appreciated.
But UBR were expecting us, and so we got moving, saying our final goodbyes to the Schneiders and to Mirissa.
Our first stop was Galle, a very old city with heaps of character and history dating back to its Dutch and Portuguese origins. We had lunch at Mama’s, a delicious and cheap curry selection with some fresh prawns thrown in, enough to whet our appetites until dinner.
Some of the female members of the group then inexplicably decided it was time to go shopping. Perhaps I should explain my attitude towards shopping: never, ever, ever, ever, ever, particularly when overseas. If it is absolutely strictly necessary and cannot be helped, then it should be limited to a maximum of 15 minutes – after quarter of an hour I start to lose my sanity.
So I wasn’t particularly pleased while we waited and waited and waited for the shoppers to finish, particularly as there is a world heritage site in full view waiting to be explored. The Galle Fort provides spectacular ocean views, but we didn’t get a chance to see any of them as we were stuck outside a shop.
The shoppers finally emerge and then a number of them decide it would be a great idea to visit another shop, a branch of which has already been visited back when we were in Colombo. I couldn’t have handled it, and luckily Wendy decided it would be a good idea to split into two groups. Although the shopping drastically cut back our opportunity to explore the Fort area, it didn’t cut it out altogether.
We got back on the bus to go to Unawatuna, the town we were staying in back in 2004 when the tsunami hit. Since it was rebuilt it has gone from boom to even bigger boom, with restaurants and hotels packing the beach area. UBR, Unawatuna Beach Resort, our accommodation here, has also been incredibly successful, so much so that the only rooms left for us were the recently renovated deluxe rooms. Not that I’m complaining.
A walk and drink on the beach and we were ready for a bit of a rest before dinner. I managed to sneak in a bit of Star Cricket viewing before bed!
NB. I’m in the process of uploading a few photos from the AuSLMAT trip – stay tuned!