Sunday, January 1, 2012

Heading Home

The time has come…when we arrived at Sri Lanka, the end seemed an eternity away but like all good things, it came all too quickly. Our final day was spent in the town of Negombo, chosen because it is only 20 minutes from the airport.
Kingfisher (if I remember right)
Monitor Lizard - a baby
We roamed the streets and beaches in the area of our hotel…definitely groomed for the tourist. On the beach the sand is pristine, raked, full of kite flyers and families but if you walk past the hotels…the real beach appears with the flotsam the tides brought up. The tide was coming in so we did the splash and dodge up and down the beach until we sat it out, drinking tea, watching the sunset. Finally, we headed into the touristy area to locate a restaurant for dinner. Without Kapila’s help, it’s hard to know which real local Sri Lankan restaurants are the “safest” for tourists. OMG did we ever find a fabulous one. It’s a fusion restaurant, owned by a Britain, with a long history here in the country. The food served is unbelievable – at least a 20 page menu to choose from including a couple of pages of vegetarian main dishes. I had a wonderful curry of Mushroom, Raisins, and Cashews – scrumptious! (It was so good we had lunch there the next day). So much for watching what I was eating.
The next morning we took advantage of the location by heading out to the Dutch Canal for a ride through the waterways. Short story…The Dutch Canal was built by the Dutch because…that’s what Dutch people did…build canals. Obviously an oversimplification but… canal was actually built to connect some of the many rivers in the area and to allow better movement of trade goods at the time (and, supposedly, to help thwart the pirates of the time.) It’s actually still being used to this day, though there seems to be two sections…the tame, manicured portion that runs through town and the jungle encroached section that fishermen and numerous birds hang out in.

Canal View

We headed off in the morning in a local tuktuk, out through the villages and to the lagoon where we met our small boat. I am amazed at the ability of our guide and driver to spot the various animals among the overhanging trees and bushes – they found numerous birds, monitor lizards, as well as sleeping hogs that looked just like rather large rocks. Sadly most of them refused to hang out to be photographed but still, it was an enjoyable morning on the water.

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