Tag Archive for 'Lufthansa'

Luftwaffe Magazin mentions AbaY !

Aragum is a working Bay

ARUGAM BAY: POTHEADS, SURFERS AND A GREAT DREAM Exploring the real Sri Lanka is best done by bus. What you should know: Buses never use their brakes, and love to overtake. Rock-hard benches, diesel engines that sound like tractors and a Bollywood-style soundtrack are all part of the trip to Arugam Bay. It’s a genuine experience and takes ten hours.

A two-kilometer stretch of street lined with huts, houses and small hotels: This is the east coast’s legendary surf spot. West of the place also known as “A-Bay,” peacocks strut across paddy fields, and further south, elephants lumber through the wilderness. I arrive with a headache, a backache and hurting ears: I need a beer. The Siam View Hotel, owned by A-Bay veteran Fred Netzband-­Miller, 65, serves the best beer, I am told. “I came here in the seventies, to smoke pot and surf,” says the Dutchman. “Then I met a ­local woman. She said there’d be nothing happening between us unless I married her first. So I did – ten days later.”

We are on the roof of his hotel, on the Flower Power Terrace. Over a beer – homemade and excellent, by the way – Fred talks about the wild days in A-Bay – and about the civil war, the battles that raged on other beaches not far from here. Surfers still came to A-Bay, though – for the spectacular waves – if necessary even traveling through the region occupied by the rebel Tamil Tigers. Fred also experienced and survived the 2004 tsunami in A-Bay: “I was up here, partying with my staff. All of a sudden, there was salt water sloshing into my gin and tonic. Absolutely unacceptable!” Then the easy smile he has worn until now disappears. “But seriously, you know: The party saved our lives.”

Others were not so fortunate: Up to 38 000 Sri Lankans lost their lives in the tsunami, among them the father of Irsah and Irfan. On the beach in the morning, I meet the 25-year-old twins, who work as surf instructors and fishermen today. “We were 14,” Irfan says, “and had to quit school because our mother had no money.” Today, they are short of cash again; this time to fullfill the great dream they share. Irsah points to a structure at the top of the beach with no walls, but a large roof about 14 to 15 square meters in area, made of palm leaves and supported by tree trunks. “That’s going to be our surf school,” Irsah tells me, “as soon as we have a few spare rupees, we’ll carry on building, buy some second-hand boards. And then we’ll really make a splash – you’ll see!”