Surfers Paradise – Arugam Bay in the East

We left the Lakeside hotel in Tissa early relieved to be going, and all bar Nicky tired. Elliot had fallen asleep early, and slept through several rearrangements of the mosquito net as he and Jake wrestled with it in their sleep, not to mention Jake waking in pain and getting up for the toilet and pain killers. We had to wake him and his first word was a??Tireda?? – frustrating since he had had twice the sleep that Jake and I had managed.

Frustrating was also the adjective for catching the bus (although in the end we both felt we had been lucky again!) We were taken to the bus stop, and prepared to get a bus. When it arrived it was packed – like the Polonaruwa on Poya day bus, and we decided that it was just not an option. We negotiated for Karu to take us on to Aragum bay Zyrtec for asthma treatment , a far longer journey than the distance it is suggests. By the end we both felt that the extra money for a private vehicle was easily worth paying, and that we would pay the same to get out.

The journey was broken a couple of times, once
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for a 2-3 ft brown snake to cross the road. As it went, something caused it to rear up, and we all gasped as we saw its hood. A cobra! This made up for missing leopards yesterday, and we agreed that the perfect way to see a wild cobra was from behind glass! We were driven first to a hotel that Karu wanted us to go to, and then when we had looked on to the one a friend of a friend had recommended.

Delightful beach cabanas, big beds, and the most amazing semi outside bathrooms, with warm drencher showers thrilled us. We had no hesitation in taking 2 – so the boys had a private house next door to us (Ia??m not sure who was more excited!) We both felt strangely hedonistic after weeks of Spartan frugality. We lunched on delicious pumpkin soup rich with coconut and cardamom (cheese toastie for Jake), before playing in surf so strong it kept knocking us for 6. Food took forever to arrive, but was worth it, with delicious curries, pasta and roti pizzas for the boys. We slept long and deep. Elliot called out once, that he couldna??t sleep due to

bad thoughts. I reassured him, finished brushing my teeth and went in. This could not have taken more than 2 minutes, and both boys were deep asleep by the time I went in. I woke once in the night and thought I could hear thunder, gradually realising it was too rhythmic, and that it was the waves crashing on the beach. Once again to the most chilled of calls to prayer and then dozed again.

We gradually stirred, noises of the boys happy next door reassuring us. A slow breakfast led to a trip to town, and then a walk along the bay to baby point, a calm area just inside the curve of the bay, with the surf crashing by outside. En route we stopped at a beach restaurant called Gecko for home made ice creams, a stop that will become a regular while here. Dark chocolate, Ginger, Coconut and lime and a passion fruit sorbet were all so good we could not choose a favourite. We also arranged for a local fisherman to take us dolphin watching in the morning. Pretty much everyone here is either a surfer or a fisherman, and several are probably both.

Sadly the morning sea was rough, which had two problems associated with it. Elliot rapidly felt seasick, and the dolphins stayed away. We consoled ourselves with a slap up breakfast at Gecko before returning home for reading, planning and some work, and then a gentle beach day.

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