Biting off more than we can chew?

Sarah and Stu’s Cheap probalans Arugam adventures prt2

View of the beach from the hotel's cabanas - the restaurant is on the left

Well, ita??s been a bonkers few days! After rocking up in Arugam Bay just a couple of days ago, we are now fully embroiled in helping to run a slightly fawlty towers type hotel and trying to get things back on track. The place is co-owned by an English guy (Lee) and a Sri Lankan (Naleem) who narrowly missed being swept away by the tsumami 5 years ago (although the hotel itself was totally destroyed). Lee is here for the next 3 weeks and has a lot in common with Tigger a?? loads of ideas, most of them good, but no idea of priorities or of what to do first (he seems quite obsessed with making some wall hangings and getting them up, but not too bothered by the fact that some of the toilets and showers in the rooms dona??t work). Naleem is lovely and pretty much the only guy here who can speak any English, but he goes back to his family in the evening so leaves us communicating in sign language again.

Our role here is pretty vague, but it seems that wea??ve pretty much got a free rein to do whatever we think makes sense. At the moment, there are 9 cabanas, with another 2 slightly posher rooms currently mid-construction. Lots of things dona??t work, the colour scheme is a mixture of quite muted cream tones and super technicolour madness (one cabana has about 7 different shades of paint on it!). The restaurant has a menu but virtually no food in stock, and the main staff really struggle with English so cana??t understand any orders that passing guests happen to place so most people tend to just move on to the place next door. In short, therea??s an awful lot to do! The prospect of trying to run this place is pretty intimidating, especially when we found out the other night that wea??re fully booked for 10 days in July when wea??ll be hosting a French/Egyptian wedding! Saying that, wea??ve got a fantastic set up with a really shady site right on the beach, so the view from our a??officea?? window is of the clear blue sea and white sand of the beach, so whenever it feels a bit much you can just get into a hammock and remember what a beautiful spot youa??re in.

Stu and I clearly have zero experience in this area, but wea??ve got lots of ideas about what needs sorting. We had a really fun trip in to the nearest town this afternoon, just a couple of kilometers up the road. Pottuvil is a tiny little stretch of town and was fascinating a?? cows and goats wandering randomly across the dusty road, and a handful of hardware shops, grocers and a small market. Wea??d made a list of various kitchen items plus some fruit, vegetables and spices that wea??d thought wea??d need to let us cook the new menu that wea??ve worked up. Sri Lanka is fantastic for most of the ingredients that wea??d want for the dishes we make back home a?? we picked up shallots, garlic, ginger, chilli, coriander and cumin seads and various other interesting bits super cheap. While Lee and Stu shopped, I played a bit of a??spot the womana?? after realising that I was 100% surrounded by men. Ita??s generally quite a conservative area, but very friendly still and people seem quite happy to have me pottering around.

When we got back to the hotel, we discovered that our first guests had arrived and we had a couple of groups for dinner so we swung into fairly chaotic action, but managed to get everyone fed and beers flowing. It looks like ita??s going to be a pretty interesting few months, but wea??ll just do the best we can and make sure that we are still able to get involved in the surf scene that brought us here in the first place.

Arugam itself still has its wild west feel, but is lovely and relaxed and the surf is great. Wea??re planning to have our first a??dawn sessiona?? tomorrow, and have a tuk-tuk picking us up at 5.30am to get to a point a few kilometers out of town which is meant to be great, particularly with no crowds (Arugam itself can get pretty busy). In the midst of all this craziness at the hotel, ita??s great to get back in the water.

Posted 01 May 2010 by sarah in Uncategorized

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