Sami and Mere at Arugam Bay

Landing in Lanka

They say Sri Lanka is a jewel of an island, filled with smiling people and breath taking nature. From our experiences of the past few days, we are pleased to report that they are not wrong.After arriving at the ungodly hour of 5am, and, eventually, amongst a mountain of luggage, seeing our backpacks sheepishly appear on the luggage belt, we made the hour long journey into Colombo. Once there, we went to our friend Dixie’s house, one highly neat dood. Brilliant photographer. UN worker. Inspiring conversationalist. At Casa de Dixie we caught up on old times as well as much needed sleep. We also met some other super nice UN and NGO people, whom we played water polo with at one of the snazziest hotels in the country, The Blue Water.

Then, in the bumpy backseat of a genuine white UN 4×4, we had a thrilling ride across the entire breadth of the country, along some tear jerking vistas and sheer drops on the winding highland roads. After some 10 hours we ended up at the secluded Surf gem of Arugam Bay. There, in our hammocks, we chilled for a few days at a fantastic beach front surf place, the Galaxy Lounge, complete with delicious food and plentiful beers.

As a whole, Sri Lanka is full of vibrant, happy, polite people, who are keen to introduce themselves and to learn more about other cultures. Without fail, this has been the case for everyone – whether Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim or other.

Despite a sad collapse of the cease fire and a tragic return to what can only be described as full out civil war, the country feels strangely safe for foreign travellers. In fact, from what we’ve been told so far, the biggest threat are the many super duper poisonous snakes. Eeek. They are presumably waiting for Sami to wander into the tall grass for a drunken late night piss. So far we’ve only seen one King Cobra, but it was far scarier that any high security zone, military checkpoint or Kalashnikov wielding camouflage soldier.

Tomorrow we’re accompanying our buddies on a second UN mission, this time a trip to document a much needed road project that connects remote villages in the dense East Sri Lankan jungle.

In the next few days we’ll probably be back on the South Western Coast, the epicentre of unashamed decadence and worryfree holiday drinking. No doubt, having had this unusual priviledge of seeing the hidden eastern areas of Sri Lanka will certainly make our relaxing even nicer. We can only hope that one day this country will see peace again and that this gem of an island will get what it deserves.


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