Archive for the 'Traveler’s Reports' Category

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HOME AWAY FROM HOME

As with most Asian countries, ita??s not necessary to book accommodation, or anything else, in advance when visiting Sri Lanka. However, I knew that Ia??d be arriving into Arugam Bay in the middle of peak season aka surf season and so I emailed a couple of places to see whether they had any room. Most replied saying that they were full, with the exception of the Siam view hotel, whose reply was, well, intriguing:

No problem, dear Tom-Tom.
Just make your way.
(“But “Don’t mention the War” 😉
Drop in.
And all will fall into ita??s place.

No worries.

Arugam bay, and this hostel both sounded like my kind of places, and they havena??t disappointed. The town itself is a small, relaxed, hippy surf town, pretty much a Sri Lankan Byron bay. Except that ita??s much cheaper a?? a coconut costs less than 50 cents a?? is less busy, has pumping waves and there arena??t the stupidly strict drinking rules that exist in my usual hippy paradise. So far so good, then I got to the hostel.

AbaY Beach in front of the YMCA

AbaY Beach in front of the YMCA

The YMCA is right in the centre of town, and it is the first hostel Ia??ve come across in Sri Lanka, the first time that Ia??ve had air-conditioning, and the cheapest accommodation Ia??ve found. I wandered into the only dorm room, and I wandered into a new family. The floor was covered in sand (sorry Fred), a mouse ate through my iPhone case and 500 rupees, the power is intermittent, and I used a towel as a bedsheet for a week, but the YMCA is everything a hostel should be.

YMCArugam's Road front

YMCArugam’s Road front

Ita??s full of fascinating and fun people, inspiring quotes cover the walls, and the relaxed approach of the owners makes for an incredibly welcoming atmosphere. The guys running it didna??t even know that I was staying for the first 4 days, and Ia??ve now been here 7 days and I still havena??t paid for one yet, a perfect environment for someone that hasna??t had a house key for over a year.

YMCA Philosophy

YMCA Philosophy

Little Derek (great name for a baby!) runs around the hostel naked, therea??s a brightly painted VW camper can parked in the garden, and the locals chat to you while youa??re using the outdoor showers, with butterflies swooping overhead.

The owners, of various hippy and traveller backgrounds, even offer the rooms for free on couchsurfing.com if theya??re not occupied by paying guests. When I asked one of the owners why theya??re so relaxed, the response was a fairly obvious one: when youa??ve lived through a tsunami, nothing else seems worth worrying about.

If I ever do own my own hostel, I want the atmosphere to be based on this one. I wona??t make any money, like the guys here dona??t, but Ia??ll have a great time with great people and thata??s what really matters to me. Unfortunately, however, all good things must come to an end, and most of our family have gone their separate ways, despite staying for far longer than planned, and I will leave tomorrow too. Fortunately, thata??s because I have to catch my flight to the Maldives for some more sun, sea and surf, life is tough right now!

Message Wall

Message Wall

source / original post:
http://travellivedream.com/2014/08/11/home-away-from-home-away-from-home/

Arugam Bay Taxi Initiative News

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This is in answer to unprofessional so-called local “Drivers”:

The A?helpful “Taxi” Mafia of Arugam Bay
Has vandalized the innovative , popular
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How you will travel and
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Remember. That We don’t get one single Rupee out of this Initiative.
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In the long run it will be good for everyone.
Sadly, some guys don’t yet realise that. As Yet.
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ARUGAM BAY: YOUR SURFING HEAVEN

A travel report by Crazzy Travel

ARUGAM BAY: YOUR SURFING HEAVEN

Wea??ve been to many beaches, swam in many oceans and seas, but wherever we go we will always remember two weeks we spent on the most unbelievable beach in the world. We love literally everything about Arugam Bay and now ita??s high time for us to share our experiences with you.

What is Arugam Bay?

That is a 3 km long beach, situated on the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka. Waves here are big (the Indian Ocean, you know), and fishermen huts are tiny. It used to be a little forgotten village until it was discovered by surfers in middle-late 20thA?century. Since then, every June and August (high season), ita??s crowded with people in search of their perfect wavea??

Why Arugam Bay?

Because ofA?SURFING! It holds the 5thA?place in the list of worlda??s best surfing spots, and doesna??t seem to slow down. You dona??t need a special swim suit, license, or anything. Just come, and surf. The spot is perfect both for beginners and advanced surfers. You can take classes for just 1000 rupees ($10) and hire a board for just 800 rupees/ day ($8).

Dona??t take surfing classes

We took surfing classes and dona??t recommend it. Better learn on your own a?? just ask a tourist wherea??s the nearest spot and watch what others are doing.

Illia after 2 hours of surfing, happy and tired 🙂

How to get there?

There are two direct buses daily from Colombo to Pottuvil (a town near Arugam Bay). The bus number 98 departs from Pettah Bus Stand in Colombo at 04.45 AM and costs 400 rupees ($4). The journey takes approximately 7 hours. Then take a tuk-tuk to Arugam Bay for 500 rupees ($5).A? Otherwise, you can always hire a minivan for 18000 rupees a?? $180 (share it with other surfers to save money!).

Tuk-tuks are ready to help you out anywhere, any time of the day or night.

Where to stay?

We stayed at a lovely Sooriyas guesthouse (free WiFi, movies and cartoons, quality writing service, clean bed sheets,A? air con + fan, A?monkeys in the garden) and paid for 3000 rupees per night ($30). However, there are cheaper options, starting from 1000 rupees ($10). They are good as well, but without air con and with noise from the restaurants nearby.

Where to eat?

As most places on Sri Lanka, all restaurants in Arugam Bay have very slow service (you can easily spend 1-2 hours waiting for your meals). The only way to avoid this is either to eat at food stalls for locals (not extremely clean), or choose restaurants run by Europeans (like Gecko restaurant, for example a?? more expensive, but faster and cleaner). A meals for two would cost you around 600 rupees ($6).

Isna??t it lovely? Most places in Arugam Bay have their little surprises.

Here is our small selection of the best restaurants at Arugam Bay:

Mamboa??s a?? located right near the point, a bit overpriced, but one of the greatest places to chill out and eat after surfing (they even have ping pong and pool!)

Chili a?? best pizzas

Samanthia??s Order speman tablet Order endeporte a?? very cheap local food, spicy!

Hakeem a?? cheap, close to European food, closed on Fridays

Gecko a?? very expensive, but fast service

Siam View a?? great for drinking

Plus, dona??t forget about Sri Lankan unique bakeries on wheels: they come around 5-6 pm, play silly childish music so that you know they arrived, and sell extremely tasty and cheap bakery stuff (be sure to try their muffins!).

Anything to do except surfing?

Of course! You can enjoy hammocks on every corner, swim in the ocean or play ping pong. There is a nice Buddhist temple, yoga classes and numerous gift shops.

Something else I should know?

Again, yes. There are a lot of Muslim men working as tuk-tuk drivers, shop owners, etc. at Arugam Bay, so, girls, avoid walking wearing only bathing suit along the main road. Otherwise, you will experience irritate looks and hear someone shout at you. Also, the majority of such shops and restaurants are closed on Fridays.

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One of the surf schools in Arugam Bay.

Did we inspire you to add surfing in Arugam Bay in your to-do list? Or maybe you are surfer and can share with us your experiences? In any case, wea??re waiting for your comments!

About us:

Illia and Nastia

Wea??re a couple in love with each other and traveling. Wea??ve been to 32 countries, and it was amazing.

CrazzzyTravel is where we tell our story.

Want to get in touch? Contact us atA?crazzzytravel@gmail.com or via the form below!

source:
http://crazzzytravel.com/arugam-bay-surfing-heaven/

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You never ride alone

The Arugam Bay Taxi Initiative Cheap eulexin
(A100% Non-profit Service to our visitors)
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AbaY Terminal "Share My Ride" Board


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The New daily updated board is located opposite the “Hang Loose Hotel”
next to the Siam View Brew Pub.
It’s in
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(see booking links on our “Taxi” Tab above


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Leseprobe: Der Krokodilfelsen

This article was first published 4th June, 2006
It’s an extract from a Travel Novel of events set in Arugam Bay. The recently deceased “Ram” of Sooriya’s plays a huge role in this great Book. Sadly only in German.

Autorin:
Claudia Ackermann

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Like in the Novel. Is it all Real?

Ich erreichte den Mitternachts-Express gerade noch rechtzeitig, suchte mir einen Platz und sah aus dem Fenster. Ein Tourist drA?A?ngte sich A?A?ber den Busbahnhof. Er kam nur langsam vorwA?A?rts, denn auA?A?er seiner Reisetasche trug er noch ein groA?A?es Surfbord unter dem Arm. RA?A?cksichtslos schob er damit die Passanten zur Seite, die ihm im Weg waren. In letzter Sekunde erreichte er den Bus, aber da schon fast alle PlA?A?tze besetzt waren und im Mittelgang Taschen und KA?A?rbe standen, weigerte sich der Fahrer, ihn mit seinem riesigen GepA?A?ckstA?A?ck einsteigen zu lassen. Der Surfer stellte einen FuA?A? in die TA?A?r, die Spitze seines Bords ragte bereits ins Innere des Busses. Aggressiv und drohend redete er auf den Fahrer ein, und an seinem Akzent erkannte ich, dass er Australier war. Er war groA?A?, bestimmt einen Kopf grA?A?A?A?er als der Fahrer. Sein KA?A?rper war muskulA?A?s und durchtrainiert, aber der Busfahrer, ein schmA?A?chtiger, hagerer Mann, lieA?A? sich davon nicht beeindrucken. Um so lauter der Australier sprach, desto sturer wurde sein GegenA?A?ber.
A?a??A?Das Brett braucht so viel Platz, wie zwei MA?A?nner”, behauptete der Busfahrer. A?a??A?Du musst drei Tickets kaufen.”
Nach langer Diskussion, die die FahrgA?A?ste interessiert verfolgten, entschloss sich der Australier schlieA?A?lich, den Preis zu bezahlen. Schimpfend wuchtete er sein Surfbrett in den Bus und kam direkt auf mich zu, denn neben mir war noch ein Platz frei. Continue reading ‘Leseprobe: Der Krokodilfelsen’

Germany -to- Australia by “Boat”

What a remarkable Australian Lady!
She retracts a historical journey
Done in the 1930’s by a Germany adventurer
(Oskar Speck)
All the way from Germany -to- Australia
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Great! That she stopped by at Arugam Bay !

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Best Beach. Arugam Bay ?

Best Beach is …. Arugam Bay ?

I had a lot of non-beach activities planned for my two weeks in Sri Lanka a?? theA?cultural wonders of Anuradhapura, theA?Ceylon tea country andA?hectic Colombo Buy styplon himalaya , to name a few a?? which left me with enough time to visit just one of the islanda??s countless beaches, realistically. I had to make the right choice!

My friend Helene, whom I met last year in Australia, whereA?she attempted to teach me how to surf, recommended a small spot on Sri Lankaa??s east coast called Arugam Bay. Helene assured me that although a??A Baya?? has mostly gained fame among surfers a?? this is why she has visited it so often over the past decade a?? ita??s also awesome for swimming, sunbathing and generally lazing around.

I knew Helene was correct in her recommendation immediately upon my arrival in Arugam Bay a?? the sexy, shirtless man who greeted me when I arrived was just the beginning. Leta??s take a look at why Ia??m so certain Arugam Bay is the best beach in Sri Lanka, even though ita??s the only Sri Lanka beach Ia??ve sunned my white ass on.

Arugam Bay Beaches

After checking into Arnea??s Place, a simple, comfortable strip of bungalows near the northern end of Arugam Bay beach, I grabbed my camera and headed out for a stroll.

Arugam Baya??s main beach immediately won points with me because of its exotic, multicolored sand, sparking, turquoise waters and its half-moon shape, which reminded me ofA?Palolem Beach in Goa, India. Its waves are also really something to behold, even if you dona??t surf a?? theya??re huge!

I assumed my walk, which allowed me to traipse among the dozens of wooden fishing vessels being prepped for the morning catch, would end once I reached the surf point at the far end of the beach. But I continued walking to see what appeared to be literally miles of unspoiled, virgin beaches extending into the distance.

Having explored many of these beaches during the subsequent days I spent in Arugam Bay, I can promise you that no matter what youa??re looking for a?? swimming, sunbathing, surfing or eye candy, be it sexy surfers to perv at or pristine, natural scenery a?? Arugam Bay has you covered, from a beach perspective.

Activities Near Arugam Bay

Sri Lanka is a small island, and while Arugam Bay is considered a relatively remote destination (more on why in a second), it is in close proximity to a number of non-beachA?activities.A?The most popular of these is Yala National Park, home to a diverse range of wildlife that includes elephants and cheetahs, among other highlights. Continue reading ‘Best Beach. Arugam Bay ?’

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Kite Surfer and the MH370 Mystery

Kite Surfer returns from the Bondives


Kite Surfer and the MH370 Mystery

World Exclusive News

Kite Surf Legend Dill Sill recovering at nearby KaputtoVille hospital.
He wasA?Blown off course and badly crash landed at AbaY today.
He is dilsirious, but he has indicated a possible explanation to what may have happened to the missing Malay flight MH 370

Crashed at AbaY beach - blown way off course

Drifted in from the distant Bondives

Attempted Kite Surfing in the Bondives

World class Kite Surfing legend Mr. Dill Sill seems to have been blown across from the previously unknown island of The Bondives to all the way toA?Arugam Bay.

His somewhat incoherent account is being questioned.
He claims that The Bondives IslandersA?reported a ‘low level flight’
However, his helmet camera has captured this amazing photo.
Which is the last known image of the missing Boeing 777:

Due to the isolation of the Island Nation of The Bondives this has only just now been reported. A group of Natives as well as the one only Police man on the island have seen a large aircraft a few weeks ago.

Did MH370 BonDive nr. AbaY ?A?

(artist’s impression)

Why does this news only come in NOW?

Because:

It happened in the uncharted Islands of The Bondives

You have never heard of them?

No wonder! Here is why:
(Extract from Wikipedia)

The Bondives

Are an island nation in the Southern Indo-Pacific Ocean.

The Bondives are almost unknown. And they not even shown on any maps. The reason has just come to light: Those islands are shifting. Continuously.

The most singular feature of The Bondives geography is its mobility. Similar to the annual shifting of the famous ARUGAM BAY sand bank, The BONDIVES have a constant process of erosion that removes sand from the east coast and deposit it on the west coast, the islands were moving westward at the rate of 1400 meters a year. It is anticipated that the islands would collide with Sri Lanka in 2020. To slow down this movement, boats constantly ferry sand from the east coast back to the west.

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First known mention of the Bondive Islands

:noframe
Flag
:San Serriffe (02).png
Quick Facts
Capital Feemal
Government undemocratic republic
Currency dimes Roman (dR)
Area 692.7 sq km
Population 1,782,724 (1973 census)
Language English (official),Portuguese (official), Gowdy (Flong), Malay,Arabic
Religion Asterism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism
Electricity 190V/42Hz (South African plug)
Internet TLD .ss
Time Zone UTC +6:45

Other destinations

Understand

Map of The Bondives

Long unfairly neglected by travelers, and surprisingly never even mentioned in the backpack bible ‘Loony Planet”, the islands of The Bondives truly offer something for everyone: a rich culture full of fascinating customs, an informative case study for environmentalists and economists, and a treasure trove of unusual tubers for botanists. Now under nominally democratic government, now is the time to discover The Bondives distinctive cuisine, tropical climate and quaint transportation, before the next volcanic eruption occurs.

Economy

The Bondives have been unkindly characterized as a banana republic, although Bondivians themselves have been known to take offense at this suggestion and physically remind the commentator that pineapples are also an important export crop. (Critics must also concede that it’s not really much of a republic, either.) Continue reading ‘Kite Surfer and the MH370 Mystery’

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New online Taxi Booking

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You can now reserve a nice, fully air-conditioned taxi online. The transfer from The Airport to Arugam Bay takes about 8 hrs. This is a guaranteed, safe and fully insured service. Just order your transfer here: https://silvermobilityservices.rezdy.com/23415/colombo-airport-to-arugam-bay Order ginette-35

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A Scotsman at Arugam

At a frienda??s wedding recently, about halfway through the best mana??s speech, I suddenly realised I was embarrassed about something Ia??d never been embarrassed about before.

Back in the late 1990s, when my family lived in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, my brother and I, still in our teens, took full advantage of the islanda??s enticing surf geography, exploring the reef breaks of Hikkaduwa on the west coast and the endless point break at Arugam Bay Buy phytopharm hoodia gordonii on the east A?Coast.

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A surfer at Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka, in 1998, when the area was outside the government declared safe zone

The journey to Arugam was a bit of a mission, involving a long, noisy overnight bus ride and bleary-eyed stop-and-searches at various military checkpoints on the way into Eastern Province, but at this stage in Sri Lankaa??s history, hostilities between the Tamil Tiger separatists and government forces were at a relatively low ebb, so Arugam, although sandwiched between two parts of the country deemed out of bounds, was considered quite safe. As a result, during the dry summer months, when Colombo and the west coast were battered by monsoonal rains, Arugam was busy with tourists, and in particular surf tourists a?? mostly Australians and a few Brits a?? happy to put up with the gruelling bus journey and basic living conditions in exchange for days on end of perfect, warm-water waves.

Arugam was heaven, but as with all popular surf spots there was a pecking order. When a big set rolled in, the wild-eyed, tangle-haired Aussies living in the jungle on rice, water and whatever bugs they could catch got priority, and everyone else had to wait their turn. There were plenty of waves to go around, but in between sets there was much talk of other spots nearby, almost as good as Arugam but a?? because they were outside the government declared safe zone a?? going completely unridden, day after day, season after season. One of these waves was called Okanda Point, and when my friend Phil flew out from the UK for a little surf safari, we decided wea??d try and ?find it.

The road running south out of Arugam had been closed by the army, so the only way in to Okanda was by boat, and for that wea??d need to find a fisherman who was prepared to take us. Thanks to some subtle enquiries from our friend Gamini, who ran the B&B where we were staying, we found a guy who would ferry us there for a reasonable fee. He hardly spoke any English, so Gamini translated the rules for us before we left: a??Hea??ll take you to Okanda, but no further; he doesna??t want to drop you too close to the shore so youa??ll have to paddle in to the break; hea??ll motor against the current while you surf so he can keep you in sight; and when he starts waving it means hea??s running out of fuel, so youa??ll need to paddle straight back to the boat.a?? We agreed, and ten minutes later, Phil and I were sitting in a little fibreglass skiff, bouncing in and out of a promising five-foot swell and heading a?? technically, at least a?? into a war zone.

Which brings us back to that wedding a?? Phila??s wedding a?? and his brothera??s best mana??s speech. After winding up a choice anecdote about Phila??s early sartorial choices he glugged a bit more champagne and said: a??And then, of course, there was the time Phil and Roger went surfing in a war zonea??a?? Ia??d never had a problem with our Okanda adventure before, but a?? stated baldly like that a?? the whole idea made me cringe. It made us sound like Jeremy Clarkson and AA Gill racing tanks in Iraq. a??Therea??s a war there? Great! Leta??s go and get some extreme kicks!a??

All of a sudden, I felt like the most culturally insensitive guy in the room.

Still, at least Phil and I have the excuse of having been young and naive. Ever since the wedding, Ia??ve become increasingly aware of how the extreme sports industry and associated media are using conflict zones as backdrops for films and magazine articles. Take, for example, this idiotic headline to a recent feature in a national paper about climbing on Nanga Parbat: a??Facing down terrorism on the killer mountaina??. Subtext: climbers are gnarly, but these guys are even gnarlier a?? they climb in a place where terrorists are trying to kill them! Extreme sports are supposed to be about celebrating life, not fetishising death; somehow, somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten that.

source:
http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/roger-cox-extreme-sports-should-celebrate-life-1-3273325

Arugam Bay: An exotic, eclectic experience

Clozaril online

By David Stephens
Why travellers from around the world flock to this surfersa?? paradise

The unusually large waves, bellowing like blue behemoths performing a roaring symphony to an enraptured audience of the suna??s finest rays, draped in gold and crimson garments.

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Sun RISE at Arugam Bay

The droves of surfers, carrying their sea-scarred boards along the deep dunes while gazing toward the water in anticipation of the battles ahead. The uncomplicated cabanas and roadside shops, filled with people wearing bright smiles and colourful beachwear. Nothing at Arugam Bay seems normal to an outsider. It is as though someone switched channels on life and brought the volume down by several decibels.

Yet ironically, it is the outsider who has essentially built and come to define this quaint little beachside community, a few kilometres from the town of Pottuvil. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, much of Arugam Bay, known locally as Ullai, was left in ruins. With its infrastructure in shambles, Arugam Bay banked on its reputation as a surfing hotspot with foreign visitors to rebuild.

As it turned out, this strategy did not just resuscitate local life, but imbued it with a fresh dimension as travellers from all parts of the world, who flocked to Arugam Baya??s pristine beaches, transformed it into one of the worlda??s top surfing destinations.
In a way, according to a cook at one of the many compact restaurants that line the main road (who, in line with the skewed reality of the area, is an economics graduate), these events also isolated Arugam Bay from the rest of the country.
This is felt keenly in every aspect of life here. A careful glance in any direction will quickly reveal to you a large and diverse international population. For the majority of them Arugam Bay is now a regular exotic retreat, a place with which they have integrated seamlessly. Along the beach it is not at all unusual to see Sri Lankans and tourists from everywhere between Australia and America engaged in the animated conversation which only blossoms between close friends.

Getting ready to ride the waves

Along the beach this deep familiarity and friendship is even more conspicuous as local and visiting surfers exchange opinions on the waves and surf techniques as well as personal anecdotes. Their echoes of laughter crescendo with the slap of a back, thigh or arm, a familial gesture in an atmosphere of acceptance. There is an electrifying bolt of camaraderie, which surges as high as the tide, whenever someone, who pulls off a masterful sequence of manoeuvres in the water, is applauded.
After an exhausting spell amidst the waves, most surfers gather at the small restaurant housed at the main Surf Point, the principal battleground where the water is at its most violent.

The sparsely furnished yet charming eating house opens out on to the Surf Point in a way where it has become an essential part of it, a recuperation zone where surfers take stock of their daya??s performance while refuelling for another run of the waves.

Away from this central hubbub, in a quieter corner of the main surfing area, 15-year-old Dixon cradles a board almost thrice his size as he trots enthusiastically through the watera??s white wake. Although particularly pint-sized for his age, Dixon sheds his diminutive stature once he weaves his way among the seaa??s mighty ridges and caverns. With his body tilted, arms aloft and face twisted in concentration, Dixon transforms himself into Prospero, conjuring up a magical repertoire through his board to tame the encroaching tempest.

Although most of life at Arugam Bay is shrouded in a mist of friendship, understanding and respect, it does possess an exploitative underbelly. The main manifestation of this is the exorbitant pricing of food, lodging and transport. Do not be surprised if a plate of rice and curry sets you back over Rs. 1,000 or a ride of a few kilometres from the beach in a tuk-tuk lightens your purse by more than that amount.

But looking away from the huge rippling waves with their hordes of surfers and the crass capitalism of some establishments and individuals, there is one more mask on Arugam Baya??s eclectic visage: a unique nightlife.

By 11.30 p.m. on a Saturday night, beachside clubs are packed like a can of sardines. With strobe lights flashing, beautiful and exotic women gyrating and bare-chested, long-haired Lotharios bordering the dance floor, Arugam Baya??s nocturnal haunts are oftentimes more alive than any of Colomboa??s.

Yet there is no sense of superficiality, no intoxicating clouds of perfume and cologne, no judgmental glances or legions dressed in their Sunday best. There is just music, dancing, conversation and uninhibited fun. You are free to be yourself and are toasted for it.

In a way that pretty much is the underlying philosophy of the entire Arugam Bay experience. It is a soothing brew which calms your senses and speaks to your soul. And much like the cascading waves and procession of picturesque sunsets, it is easily accessible to anyone who wishes to find it.

source:

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/131020/plus/arugam-bay-an-exotic-eclectic-experience-66102.html

All is possible @ remote AbaY

True.
Non of those photos have been taken in Arugam.
But
They could have been.
All is possible to experience in a condensed little corner of our island:
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That sort if incident did happen. At Lahugala. On the Main A4 road. Take care!

That does happen. Every day. At Kumana. Where the Arugam Road ends at the BIG river. Across from Yala

That does happen. Every year. When weird one day flies hatch. It looks like fog clouds actually, specially around a light source

THAT. And an even BIGGER swell did happen. At Arugam Bay. End 2004 ....;-((

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Surf Mobbin’ in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

A nice little traveler’s report

Surf Mobbin’ in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

While Arugam Bay is an all around improvement over the surf at my home breaks in San Francisco (think warmer waters, no sharks, consistent glassiness and peeling point breaks), what leaves a bit to be desired is the means to getting to the waves themselves. While the main surf point of Arugam Bay is right at the edge of town and an easy stroll over, it does unfortunately get very crowded because of exactly that ease of access. The other 5-6 myriad surf spots are between 15 min-1 hr long car rides away. I’ve never missed my trusty GTI from home in SF as much. Getting to the waves was easy, jumping in the freezing wind chop was the hard part.
In Sri Lanka, the common means of getting to the breaks involves hiring a tuk tuk for the day, where you get driven to the break, get waited on, and then get chauffeured right back. While being driven around does sound grand, it can get costly if you are staying long-term like I am – the charge is between 6-20 USD round trip depending on the destination. The tuk tuk ‘mafia’ is an interesting study in Asian business practices. During surf season (May -Oct), tuk tuks from all neighbouring provinces descend on quiet Arugam Bay and loosely collude between them (and the Police as well) to the effect that the base rates they charge can be quite exorbitant by local standards and subject to arbitrary markups on what they consider the paying capacity of the client. While a decidedly thrify backpacker like me may get the lower end of the inflated rate, an older family vacationer from, say Scandinavia, and staying at a nice resort will definitely get quoted a high rate. More interestingly though is that they artificially follow a limit of two surfboards on the roof (while it could take comfortably 1-2 more) as that allows more tuk tuks to get employed.

The tuk tuk dutifully adhering to the 2 surfboard limit

In any case, on a budgeted long stay of several months in Sri Lanka I had to look for alternative means of transport.A?After much much thinking I decided to acquire a motorcycle and get it kitted with a surf rack. This wasn’t without some trepidation though – after surviving a rickety adolescence on a Kinetic Honda on hazardous Delhi roads, I had sworn off motos for life. I do admit to renting scooters occasionally and breaking this rule to get around while traveling in Asia this past year. But buying a motorcycle seemed a big and potentially perilous step forward. Why not just rent one you might ask? Not so easy Watson. Afraid of incurring the wrath of the aforementioned tuk tuk mafia, local rental places hesitate to provide surfboard racks. A bike sans rack is only good for an occasional joyride and pointless for surfing. (unlike some of my more skilled and daring surfing brethren, I refuse to ride with one hand while clutching a surfboard with the other!)

The surfing kin of the young tuk tuk driver above.

Consequently, one weekday evening found me returning from the town of Kalumnai with my local friend and shopping advisor Kadafy, on a shiny Honda motorcycle. I chose the latter over a scooter as it would offer bigger tyres, and hence more stability and competence on sandy tracks that need to be navigated to get to the beach from the asphalt roads. I would be lying if I didn’t also admit to caving into a bit of vanity too.

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The surfrack being installed by a local welder
After spending the next few days making the rounds of the welding shop in designing and fitting a surf rack, I was finally the proud owner of a vehicle that would obey my whims to schlep me around the surf spots at my beck and call. The only thing remaining was a bit of fear I had around raising ire with the tuk tuk drivers. For I have to share parking space with them at the breaks and didn’t want to have my bike vandalised! So I have been extra courteous with them – for beneath the ruthless industry they partake in, they are nice people after all – A?and resultantly my bike has been quite safe so far. Fingers crossed. What’s funny actually is many people, tuk tuk drivers included, have already offered to buy my bike when I get ready to leave end of season. Everybody’s looking of a bargain right?!
The surfmobile (and me doing a poor impersonation of Steve McQueen)!
While I’m quite content with the bike right now, I already know my desired means of transport for my next trip here. Yup, a Tata Nano! While my Mom is a proud owner of one back in Delhi, it seems to be a handy (and hardy) means of travel here in Sri Lanka. My Aussie friends Jack and Josh rented one and have been the envy of town!
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Record Breaking Tourist Arrivals @ H’tot

Record Breaking Tourist Arrivals @ H’tot

The Wonder of Asia has finally Taken off!
Our New Airport is coping well A?with recent Tourist arrivals.
Everyone is heading towards famous Arugam Bay
Update 1st April, 2013:

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Dozens of World Class AirlinesA?singedA?up for Hambantot

The New Airport can handle it !

Flight No.BI69 arriving from Patna touching down at Hambantot

Rail links are almost near A?full capacity

Hambantot Central Railways Station

Continue reading ‘Record Breaking Tourist Arrivals @ H’tot’

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Surf is Up. At AbaY

Cheap feldene 20mg Mr. Bob M. just took those two photos at famous Arugam Bay

Sun Rise Surf. AbaY March, 2013

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Baby Point. Mid March 2013