Day 39-40/ Unawatuna & Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

 

In the back of a tuk tuk, I leaned up against my backpack and gazed out to the ocean as we made our way along the coast to the next destination. I was happy to be out of the chaos of Mirissa and the destruction of the beach bars. I was a little sad though to be leaving my new friends, but that is just life on the road.

I had developed a bit of a pattern of breaking up hostel stays with hotel stays to have some privacy and keep my sanity. The next stay was a hotel stay and I was excited about it, although the online reviews varied. I walked into a small reception area, but it was open plan and it opened out onto the beach. I thought this would be an ideal location as I was only here for 2 nights and I had based myself here to go explore Galle Fort. 

The gentleman checking me in was very nice and he advised me my room had been upgraded. I was quite excited at this news! Maybe I had been upgraded to an ocean view room or maybe even a suite? Apparently the room I had originally booked had no air conditioning and my “upgraded” room now does. I was still happy with the gesture. Armed with my key and wifi password, I was ready to be shown to my room. The porter takes my bag and heads outside towards the back of the hotel. OK, right maybe there is a second wing, I did read about a newer wing of the hotel, we must be going there. We walk past a decent size plunge pool. I liked this because as much as I enjoy the beach, the surf makes me nervous when I am swimming alone. We are now walking with sand beneath our feet. The ocean Is sprawled out in front with beach chairs and an open restaurant, again with tables and chairs in the sand. Perfect, I don’t have to leave the hotel. We turn a corner and I am shown my room….there is no “second wing”. No hallways. There is a group of three rooms that open up into a small little front courtyard and then you are basically at the outdoor seating area and beach. The door opens and my room is dark. There is no windows except for some very small ones near the door, but you have to keep the curtains closed if you don’t want people walking past looking in. It was made harder to see once inside because the lights were quite dim. I took a deep breath and told myself this was fine. I had a bed, air con AND a fan, with my own small bathroom. It was only for 2 nights.

After getting settled, I went in search for a drink and some food. I found a spot where I had a prime view of the water. Whilst perusing the menu, this random Sri Lankan approaches me, “ Foot massage? I rub your feet?”……WTF? No, no strange man you may not rub my feet. I sat and watched this guy as he walked off, looking pissed off at either me, life or both as he proceeded to approach the other few guests who were on the beach area. I then saw on the chairs closer to the beach, a lady selling shitty made bracelets and then it clicked….PEDLERS! I soon realised that there will be no peace and quiet here with people trying to sell you stuff. I was a little annoyed as I now had my guard up along with my “please leave me the fuck alone” face, which I really didn’t want to have to do. I soon forgot about the buying and the selling when I was presented with a new obstacle. A large dog had seek refuge under my chair. I shifted a little bit to see if he got the hint to move, but he didn’t even flinch. I was too scared to touch him in case he bit me because the last thing I wanted was rabies or a course of rabies injections. I looked around for some assistance from a waiter but none could be found. The problem then solved itself when another dog came screeching past barking and snarling, the mutt under my chair then joined the chase of a poor cat who scurried up a tree. Enough excitement for one lunch, I then thought I would go take a dip. I set my towel up on a sun lounger, I pulled out my kindle and got comfy. Next thing I know there is a different man, much older this time, asking if I wanted a foot massage! NO, NO CREEPY MAN FOOT MASSAGE TODAY! Made me yearn a little for the little Indonesian ladies of Bali and their massages, or even sandpaper hands from the massage I had in Ella. Feeling harassed and bothered, I retreated to my dark, dingy room. I wished I had stayed in Mirissa.

That night I convinced the kitchen staff to let me have dinner in my room, even though they do not provide room service. How did I manage that? Well my friend, it turns out my room was located directly behind the kitchen! Yes it shared a common wall. I could smell and hear my dinner being made!! That night I didn’t sleep too well. I was thinking about how anyone from the beach could come straight to my door without being noticed. I also observed there was no phone in my room, so if I did require any assistance, I couldn’t contact the front desk. But it is ok, because I knew the kitchen staff were there until late because there scooter/car parking was also next to my room. They liked to take there breaks there as well, So do the morning staff and they all talk extremely loud!The anger was building and this property was not going to escape a bad Trip Advisor review!!!

The next morning I felt unexpectedly refreshed and I was in a good mood. I got ready to go exploring Galle Fort. On my way across the sand and towards the reception desk, a man stops me and points to his small jewellery shop attached to the main building. I tell him I don’t want any jewellery. I get into another argument and I am frustrated to no end with this place. I had no problems in the other cities except for maybe Kandy when they were trying to convince me to go to the cultural dance show.

Galle Fort is a small, walled city and it was my Sri Lankan oasis!!! It was built by the Portuguese in 1588 and fortified by the Dutch in 1649. The buildings are so beautiful but what’s inside them is what made me giddy with happiness. The first place I strolled by had a large open door that lead to a courtyard garden restaurant. I peered at the menu and it had delights like pate on it. To me, this was “normal food”. I spent a few hours meandering around the streets, in and out of little inconspicuous shops with funky designed knit knacks, from homewares to clothing. I wanted it all!! An afternoon shower started to fall. I seeked out refuge in a gelato shop and indulged in a scoop or two. Next door was another boutique. It also had a courtyard with bright colours and drinks served in jars. For an hour I felt like I was back home at some funky cafe. I ordered a caramelised onion and goat cheese tart. It was the day before mother’s day, so I called home and had a lovely long chat with mum. The rain then eased up for now to keep exploring. I had made my way to the ocean’s edge and continued walking around on the top of the forts walls. Dark storm clouds were gathering above and there was a wind, a sort of warm wind that didn’t chill your bones despite how angry the weather looked.

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I came across the maritime museum and thought it was time for some learning. The building itself is a an old dutch warehouse that was built back in 1691. It was actually fascinating seeing the relics from the shipwrecks that were off the Sri Lankan coast. Lots of old coins and pottery. 

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Once I made my way through the exhibition and back out onto the streets I noticed a wedding party taking photos’s in front of the building. It would have made for a beautiful back drop. Then I spotted another couple, and then another and another. I must have passed at least 5 of them! Maybe I should get into the wedding photography business! 

I then came across a hotel with a beautiful large colonial looking balcony. I noticed people having afternoon tea and scones out there. I may of not been dressed as nice as maybe I should have been for this establishment, but I thought what the hell, treat yourself Skye. I found the cocktail list and ordered a sparkling wine with a fresh strawberry puree through it. It looked divine and it tasted divine! It also costed an arm and a leg!

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When I returned to the hotel, I sat on the beach and watched the sunset. There were a few others doing the same. My trip was winding up and it was a good time to reflect on my time in Sri Lanka. That night a massive storm hit. Apart from a few loud thunder claps I slept quite well. I wasn’t concerned about creepy foot massage men breaking into my room. Dad had a theory when he was a kid that burglars didn’t go out into storms as they didn’t want to get wet. I was more than happy to believe this now!

The weather cleared the next day. I was feeling happy as I was travelling up to Colombo today. I had a last lunch on the beach. I found out that those mangy dogs had caught that cat they were chasing the other day and had sadly killed it. That was it, I was done, time to blow off this creepy, foot massage, cat killing town!

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