Lessons on the beach at Arugam Bay

One of the worlds great showers!
One of the worlds great showers!
We have been incredibly strict on the boys while being here. On one day we did some numeracy from books brought from England, and made them stick stuff in journals and e-mail home. The next we had real lessons set up. We headed off in beach kit, stopped and hired surf boards, and made our way in blue tuk tuk with boards strapped to roof off road, cross country to the delightful Peanut Farm Bay. An almost deserted beach with a handful of huts on stilts with little caves and pools by rocks, the bay was almost perfect. The sea rolled in with regular waves, but the breaks were short a?? not much time from catching it until you had to be up on your feet, and the currents and undertow pretty strong.

The boysa?? surf lessons began lying on the beach, practising a??poppinga??, before we progressed one at a time into the water. They both caught waves and tried to get to their feet. Jake managed best, getting up and riding for a few metres, sadly not caught on film. He also had the worst wipe out, taking a slight knock to the head, but we were proud of Our Cabana
Our Cabana
Taken from the boysa?? verandahow he got to his feet, and went out to try again.

The afternoon was another packed one, painting pots to decorate the hotel, eating ice creams at Gecko a?? our favourite eating place (we are still struggling to decide which is the best ice cream flavour, the chocolate is the best ever tried, but no better than the ginger, coconut and lime, coffee or the passion fruit sorbet). Swimming at baby point, and enjoying the beach again. An invitation to a beach cricket match at 6pm, and out to dinner for pizza, not to mention some trip planning (taxis and accommodation to come booked), and reading too. Hard work this trip!

Once again the boys developing maturity has been evident here (The Galaxy Lounge). The welcoming and relaxing atmosphere has helped, as has the fantasy construction of the cabanas. The boysa?? was made mostly of wood and cadjan (woven coconut leaves which made up the upper 2/3 of the wall and the boysa?? roofing. Only the first third of the wall was concrete. If they shouted from their cabana we could hear them in ours, but still they were sleeping in a different building all on their Boys wake in the morning to their DS
Boys wake in the morning to their DS
Well in their own house who is to tell them not to?own. A chapter of Secret Water each night and they settled off to sleep on their own adventure as exciting as the ones they have been reading. More impressive still, Jake was soldiering on with a sore ear, and although by the end of the stay the ear drops we had administered had cured him, during the first two nights he woke in pain, came through to our house for pain relief, and then trotted happily home to his own!

There were times when the two of them would be sat chatting with the manager, Ani, or Mel the ownera??s sister, and once even joined in with a couple of locals for a game of Karam in the open bar area. Sometimes we relaxed spread out, in rooms, on balconies, on the bar lounge beds or strung up in the hammock. Food was good and the atmosphere easy, and though we had arrived a??frazzleda?? in the managera??s words we left feeling more like ourselves and reluctant to leave another home we have made along the way.

The main road out of Arugam bay is like driving 200 km on the Alvely drive. This was the main reason why Baby Point
Baby Point
we had been past our best when we arrived, but only part of the reason why we were not keen to leave. Only Nickya??s determination to make it East and to really explore had kept us going, but we had such a wonderful time there that we were all grateful to her. The boys are already talking about coming back to Arugam Bay with their children!

The drive back was uneventful, with nothing much to report, which was sadly also true of Tangalle. We struggled to find accommodation, then somewhere to drink, and finally dinner for the evening in the one hotel in town that seemed to be open. It felt very like Morecombe in the off season, only hotter. Very surreal scenes were played out as we eventually drank our afternoon tea. There was a wedding in the hotel, and a couple of the guests were out playing in the surf, including one particularly unathletic specimen clad only in his pants. He kept being flattened by the surf, and never ventured out to swim, but kept trying and failing to jump clear of the waves, and then being bowled over. 50 yards further up there beach was a Heading off to hunt for dolphins

Heading off to hunt for dolphins
platoon of soldiers being trained. They were doing what seemed the most pointless task, swimming out in fours to a group of three out deep, and then back in again to shore. I can only think they were relatively new recruits being beasted. As we watched the soldiers we were startled by what seemed like gunfire, only to realise it was firecrackers as part of the wedding celebrations. Is colchicine an over the counter drug Can you imagine being allowed to set off firecrackers within 50m of the British army while they were on exercise?

Equally unimpressed with Tangalle, we all agreed to move on to Galle a day earlier than planned. From our dodgy hotel the serence calm of Khalida??s Guest House called. The bus journey out was slow, and round the houses rather than direct. In one small village all the children and many adults were out protesting a?? children waving signs saying a??We want teachersa?? and various others in Singhala that we could not read. Later a huge delay slowed us further. After about half an hour we started moving and our irritation at the delay was put in perspective by the state of the bus that had crashed into a cement lorry Path to the beach from our cabana
Path to the beach from our cabana
causing the delay. We arrived in Matara just in time to miss the last train for 4 hours by 5 minutes, so it was back on the bus yearning for Galle.

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Boys get their boards
Boys get their boards
Strapped on a Tuk Tuk
Strapped on a Tuk Tuk
Lessons begin
Lessons begin
How do you like the subtle orange uniform?Easy - now for in the water
Easy a?? now for in
the water

Elliot and I head out
Elliot and I head out
Jake and I wait for a wave...
Jake and I wait for a wavea??
And he's on it....
And hea??s on ita??.
Falling off!
Falling off!
Sadly Nicky was a moment late to catch him on his feet!Off I go
Off I go
Well, I think it looks better in the picture than it was in real life!Craft session with Ani
Craft session with Ani


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