Frazer’s Blog and New Austrian Cook

The End of My Madness

It’s all been happening since my last post. Well, not all, but a couple of things.

At the start of July we moved into the guesthouse, waayhay! I have been getting surprised looks from all the local staff as I appear in the office around 7.30 in the morning, as they were used to me showing up at least an hour later because of the travel time from Arugam Bay.

A panoramic view of the house (we’re building a bar too)


Inside the main dining area
Ranjith, our cook, after Patricia did his hair (don’t ask, we have no TV…)

Anyway we finally got to move in, there are some teething problems but we are getting over them. The cook is fantastic (I’ve been eating more pork than you can poke a curly tail at to get over my deprivation) and we are working to make it more liveable every day. Small steps. We even have hot water which is a luxury I was missing a lot, I just feel so much more cleaner now.

I also managed to finally get away on holiday, so I shaved off my beard after a couple of months I think, I’m not sure, anyway not shaving until I got to go on holiday was the deal. Was pretty hairy anyway and kind of glad to see it gone although it wasn’t too annoying in the end.

Order bonnispaz My beard at it’s peak

The aftermath…

I spent the first few days in Colombo and got Laser Eye Surgery at a hospital there. Was quite surprised at the “production line” that the doctor had going on, I had the initial consultation at about 4pm and then by 6 ish I had new eyes. Was all pretty painless although the bit where he poked my cornea to establish the thickness, even though he’d put in anaesthetic eye drops, was a bit strange. After a bit of an uncomfortable evening, where I could barely open my eyes (understandably) they were not too bad the next day and the follow up check revealed 20/20 vision! All for the bargain price of just over $1,000 USD for both eyes, which is probably about half what you’d pay for one eye at home.

They have settled down now and I can read, watch TV, look at the computer etc without having to wear glasses, it is just training the muscles to focus properly from now on. I am not too sure about the long distance at the moment, but I’m not sure if I am expecting too much – like being able to spot the flag on the moon.

Graphical Representation of before and after eye surgery (possibly exaggerated) Purchase noroxin antibiotics

So I went down to Phuket again to catch up with Steve, got to see the bar which was still being constructed last year when I was there. Was a bit dangerous not having to pay for beer but I’m not complaining… I had an overnight in Singapore but got in late so didn’t really get to see much of it, had a wander down Orchard Road which is one of the main shopping streets there. I think I’d like to go back and have a better look around at a later stage. First night I was in Phuket Steve was having a full moon party to try and drum up some business in the off season (it was pretty dead, not many tourists but still the ex-pats that live there coming in). Funny thing was it wasn’t a full moon, he had planned the party after checking the internet but he looked at 2006 instead…Never mind, went off OK, there was a snake show and fire dancers and not a bad crowd. Went a bit silly and one of the waitresses had to take my bike home after closing cos I was not fit to ride (apparently), even though Steve only lives a couple of hundred metres down the road. Was probably for the best. That kind of set the tone for the trip and I think Steve was pretty glad when I left (especially after I changed my ticket to stay a few days longer) so he could catch up on his sleep. Anyway it wasn’t just me who was trashed, some girl fell off the couch things that night too and went through one of the glass coffee tables. The third time that has happened Steve tells me. He is now considering replacing them with sturdy wooden ones…

Snake show at the bar

Sunset from Steve’s parents balcony. This was followed by possibly the biggest thunder storm I have ever experienced, pretty cool though

Back to Sri Lanka and to work, we are going to start roads on our big project soon and my concrete block project should be wrapping up in a month or two. While I was away there were issues with labour now it is rice harvesting season, the local armed thugs annoying our gravel suppliers to pay them “tax” which stopped the gravel and even 3 or 4 days of rain. I guess I was lucky, Fergus had to deal with it. Cheers!. It slowed things up but we are pushing on, double teaming the roads etc to get it done. USAID have agreed to give some more money so that we can get a consultant in to turn the block making factory into some sort of business so it will be interesting to see how long that lasts in Pottuvil before all the equipment and/or money gets stolen and it gets shut down. I’m not jaded, honest. Only against Pottuvil. It’s a long story.

In the middle of September Fergus and I are off to Vietnam (Hanoi to be precise) for a couple of days for a conference and as it is Fergus’ birthday on the way back we decided to stop off in Bangkok for a couple of nights as he didn’t really want to celebrate it in Colombo. He did his masters at the AIT there a few years back so knows the city well and has friends there, so it will be good to have a tour guide who likes to drink beer. He says there are some great Jazz and Blues clubs there so hopefully we’ll get to check them out. It will break up the remainder of my contract nicely so I should be able to coast the next 3 months before getting the usual 1 month off around November to make the pilgramage back to NZ when it is a little warmer there. I think I’ve been in the tropics too long now to handle any sort of winter at home, the last summer was bad enough (especially stepping off the plane in Wellington wearing shorts and jandals).

While I was away the east of Sri Lanka was “liberated” from the clutches of the LTTE, so I am assuming that the shelling in the nearby jungle that has been going on for the past couple of days is just the Army trying to catch their dinner of wild deer and boar… Although things have quietened down here which is good but it sounds like both sides are gearing up to square off in the north where the LTTE still control a large area. Watch this space. Last week saw the anniversary of the killing of 17 ACF staff near to Trinco last year, there has still really been no progress in the investigation into who did it. Everyone blames the other side, de riguer round here. There was talk of missing evidence, now the person reported to have said it didn’t actually say it etc etc. Goes round in circles really.


0 Responses to “Frazer’s Blog and New Austrian Cook”

  • No Comments

Leave a Reply