Surf the Nation’s Blog on Arugam Bay

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Well hello friends. It has been a while since i have updated this thing. For those of you who do not know, I was just in Sri Lanka for a month, and now i am in Bali for another month-both with surfing the nations. So I feel really out of touch with everyone. I guess that happens when you are in a fishing village for a month and can’t really use the internet. But I want you all to know what Ive been up to. I’ve decided that hopefully in the next few days I will write more on here and give you lots of details about Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka. So this first blog started out as an email to my parents but then i decided i would fill everyone in…it’s written really sloppily, but thats how i always write so i hope you do not mind. This first one is just about Arugam Bay and the set up of it.
So. Arugam Bay. It’s a little fishing village. I really didn’t realize that it was so small until we left. Arugam bay is on the east side of the island. we arrived in colombo and took a 10 hour ormore bus ride to the opposite side of the island, all on semi bumpy roads. Pottovil is a bigger town next to Arugam bay. We drive through Pottovil which is one main strip that has tailer stores-i don’t know. where they make your clothes, little convenient stores that have laundry soap, crackers, water and fruit, fruit stands and restaurants. nothing is nice and new with air conditioning, everything is hole in the wall style stores. at the end of pottuvil is a new big bridge that was at the end of being built. It is the nicest thing we saw pretty much our whole drive..pretty much in all of sri lanka maybe haha. but arugam bay is on the other side. obviously arugam bay is a bay and the whole little town is shaped around the bay. we lived towards the middle/beginning of the bay (Surfing the nations has property there). the street is lined with lots of rotti stands, which is like sao bing yo tiou (for people from taiwan)-the outside bread type stuff…and i pretty much ate that for breakfast lunch and dinner. for breakfast it was two plain ones for 20 cents, lunch was maybe a vegetable or egg and vegetable rotti, and dinner was koti rotti which is rotti cut up with some veggies mixed in. so i really got my fill of carbs! so the street has lots of these little greasy hole in the wall rotti shops, probably at least 20 hotel/bungalos that have no people staying in them and little stores. i guess oprah has a hotel out there-Tri star, but no one was even staying in it. when we got there there were only a handful of tourists and 25 of us…ahha. but by the time we left the tourist season had picked up. At the end of the street (or where arugam bay kinda ends) is a buddha in a glass box that renee likes to call the buddha information center…take a left there and a 1 minute walk down a broken road and it opens up to the ocean. boats are lined everwhere with men who act as though they have never seen elbows and calves (It’s a strict muslim community so we women were dressed in skirts below the knee and loose t-shirts the whole time…we were really longing for some freedom from frumpy clothes!)…then a little walk around the bay and you are at the point! there is only one surfing point in arugam bay so pretty much the five tourists that were there for a nice surf vacation were quite shocked the first morning we were there and 20 people crowded the point. so yeah…oh yeah. i can give you more details about the property (this would be so much easier if i could show you pictures right now, but i obviously can’t!) the property. it is the first property off the street and then there is one property right behind us and then the beach. we have a front entrance that is a gate (kind of i guess) and then a side door..we only use the side door and the alley that it is off of has a nice view out to the ocean. so our property is half lined in bricks and then half fenced in by palm frawns.i think that is what they are called. its palm branches woven together to make pieces to make fences, roofs, shade, walls, everything. and the property is one piece of land. i’m not exactly sure how big it is. it’s not big, but its not small. on the property is palm trees, a house- a cement house with two bedrooms, a (i don’t even know what itis called) but its like a shadey area…a cement slab with a roof on top…so that is where all our meetings were and if anyone was on the property this is where they were sitting because it was too hot in the sun. then we have a well, which was my favorite part because i loved pulling the bucket up with the dirty water to flush our toilet or to water the plants. I could pretend that i had left this modernized world and was living the origional way..the property also has .a bathroom and a shower. the shower is super sick, its got the palm frawn wall setting and has trees in it and then a cement slab for where you can stand and shower. but we didn’t shower there becasue the water is brown and dirty-something was wrong with the well…so they either gotta dig another well or wait for 3 months till the whole town gets clean water. our first two days there we used thed irty water but we decided it would probably be better to use our neighbors-aloha cabanas showers instead. then we had 7 tents set up around the property where we all slept. My bags were covered in sand by the time I left.
so that is the set up of A Bay. As for daily life. A regular day was wake up between 6:30 and 8 (my tent always woke up early because we were right next to the door and all the boys were always at dawn patrol-morning surf-and would wake up right when the sun came out) the first week i was there i ate at aloha cabanas every morning, milk tea and a jaffle (like a bananna panini) but then that became too expensive($3.00) . so i would have my quiet time with some milk tea, and then we would usually have a meeting around 9 or 10-have worship, testimony and a little bible study. the last week or so we were studying galations so we would read a chapter as a group and dig into it, and then by this time it is about noonish and the surfers would surf and us non surfers would hit the ocean and do a little body surfing or just getting refreshed by the water…then we started work on the property. i was on the alley team (we cleaned the alley and the name just stuck) and so we pretty much had no jobs because we werent painters or good with we would just go and chill with people in the community. One day a bunch of us girls bought ice cream for the Why Not family (i’ll tell you more about them later). we got close with two families that lived right next door to eachother. the Ali family and the Why Not family. (the why not family had a restaurant that we ate at everynight called why not. cuz why wouldn’t you eat there-great local prices and good food) the Ali family is the family that made me fall in love with Arugam Bay the most. there are 4 older girls, two boys and a 3 year old girl. By the time we left the three oldest girls were married and pregnant, and rodja is 18 and probably soon getting married. we’d go over and they would make us tea and we would just sit. not really talk because there’s a big language barrier, but we would just kinda talk and laugh. they always fed us strange snacks…like berries that made our mouths extremely dry. they tasted like unripe bananas. the Ali family’s dad, who we called papa is something big with at the mosque. A Moula (sp?) i think is what it is called. I don’t really know what that means, but he was something important at the mosque. So his family was run by strict Muslim rules. This means that the women of the house were never allowed to leave the house except to cross the street to get water from their neighbor’s well. This means they were really happy to have us over at any time of the day. The people of Arugam bay were so so welcoming and friendly (sometimes its hard to tell if its genuine or whether they just are wanting to be friends with stn so they can get money…) but the Alis are genuine friends, people with STN have known them for years. We couldn’t really communicate that well with the girls. Rodja spoke a bit of english so it was always a challenge to know what was going on. On the day before we left we were supposed to go berry picking with the family in their garden but we told them we couldn’t get there until 10:30 instead of 9:00..when we arrived the berry pickers were gone..the time change was lost in translation (this was one of our favorite phrases)…it was kinda okay though because it was going to be an hour walk in the blistering sun. While we were there Falilah, the 3rd daughter got married out of no where. she had a “boyfriend” that she married. we’re not sure exactly how the ceremony was supposed to go or what exactly was going on but i was just so happy to be able to be apart of a muslim/sri lankan wedding. And then there was the Why Not family. We met them one day while we were sitting at the Ali’s place and we saw some little kids peeping through a crack in the fence. Renee went over to talk with them…an hour or so later we were all sitting around like..where is renee?! we weren’t sure if maybe she had left to go home because of a bad case of diahrea (this happens a lot here..people will just dissapear to the bathroom) or where she could have been…but we found out that she had been trapped next door by the 15 kids that live there. So since then we became friends with the little girls (they’re about 15 and younger) and spent a lot of time at their place. One day Renee and i got to do laundry with them-not in a washing machine, but by hand…it made me happy.
So i’ve had enough of typing for today. I will continue tomorrow or some other day to tell you more about life in A Bay.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. We really felt them!

source: Costco children’s motrin

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