Sunday, January 1, 2012

Notes from Galle

Sunset from the balcony
The weather report has been mentioning rain at various times during our stay but we have enjoyed fabulously blue skies with some overcast in the evenings. Even this morning was gorgeous as we wandered through the forest ( least it was gorgeous at the beach. Once you get in the jungle, the blue sky was hard to see.). This afternoon, however, there was a noticeable increase in wind, the ocean choppier, a smell of rain on the wind until was absolutely pouring rain. The lightning and thunder coming together! I've only heard it that close together a few times and it is LOUD. Thankfully it seems to be moving away. It's still very warm and we have a wonderful balcony, protected from the rain, looking out on the clouded, restless sea, drinking tea (or scotch).
My lightning strike - the one and only

We actually spent the better part of the afternoon trying to take pictures of the lightning. There was quite a show of sheet lightning with periodic bolts of lightning breaking up the sky. After many hundreds of shots, I finally got one shot and Jeff got two great ones - one is absolutely gorgeous. It is really tough to get a good shot - heck, to get any shot at all! Satisfying to get the one.

We always learn so much on these trips. Now I realize that the hotels in these places make a lot of their money off their restaurants. I know that the prices you pay helps support the place, the community, pays the workers. However...the charges can get out of hand, especially when you're vegetarian and have no interest in eating the heavy meat meals. We took off tonight for the fort again and ate at Indian Hut - a restaurant complete with the same logo as pizza hut in the states. Their sign out front shows their total support for the community they are in..."No Pork, No Beef, No Alcohol". Seafood, chicken, mutton, and LOTS of vegetable dishes were all on the menu. Great food, nice and spicy and 1/10th of the price at the hotel. Yum!

Started out on a walk down the beach the next morning. Immediately found the obligatory self-appointed tour guide, ready and willing to walk us down the beach, telling us all about every rock, every fishing spot, every grain of sand. Since we were not staying more than one more day he finally decided we weren't going to latch onto the boat trip or dive trip he had planned so he moved on...and so did we. The beaches here are full of rocks, jutting through the sand and into the ocean, making it very picturesque. Sadly, our beach hike ended at the river - had to make our way around the boats and tethered calf up to the bridge...and more waiting and available guides. We were finally saved when the downpour came and we took refuge in a passing tuktuk.

Barking bird

The last couple of days, whenever we were sitting on the balcony in the evenings, we could hear the barking of a seal or two, but every time we searched for it, we absolutely could not find it anywhere. We finally solved the mystery. I spied a blue and red bird perched up in the branches of a tree. In the process of trying to get some pictures, I noticed that the bird was puffing up his breast and woofing - our mysterious seal! We were amazed that such a loud sound came from such a tiny animal. The picture has lousy color - it was the same rainy afternoon and lightening it didn't do much to improve the coloring.

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