Merry Christmas 2019 from Mirissa Sri Lanka. It is hot, sunny and waters of the Indian Ocean and warm and inviting.The beer is cold and the seafood is fresh. I took solace in the fact that I would not go to Ella, which was to be one of this trips highlights. The constant rain, road closures and mudslides were a serious cause for concern. I found out along the way that quite a few people made the trip without any issues. I am not sure why I talked myself out of it so easily but I did. None the less it is Christmas on the beach in Mirissa. A decent alternative.
In my previous post about the train from Mount Lavinia to Hikkaduwa I did not mention how crowded the train was. It was standing room only and people kept squeezing on. Unlike the anger that are the mobs of people in Bangladesh the locals just battered their way through smiling and apologizing to each other. Nobody tried to stand their ground and own thier little space. Everyone was oddly cooperative with each other. Mean while the tourists just grumbled about taking the bus next time.
The first 45 minutes of standing was getting to me. I was noticing that the bathroom was not being used by anyone. So, I asked the German lady standing in front of the door and behind me to let me by. She thought I had to pee. Nope, I tossed my bag into the spacious room and planted myself on the toilet. First class travel Sri Lankan style. It caused a bit of a stir and more than one person were staring at me thinking they should have done the same. In the entire trip one person came to use the toilet. I got up, got out and returned when they were done. Yes, I left my bag in there while they peed. There is always a solution, you just need to get creative.
There is an odd mix of Russians, Germans and Scandinavians along the beaches of the South West. I spent a lot of time at a restaurant owned my the same people who ran my hotel. I was chatting to the guy one afternoon about tourism and tourists and he brought up the Russians. His quote (my editing to decent English)"All Russian woman think they are wealthy supermodels, you better be wearing a Rolex if they are to talk to you. Every guy thinks he is a gangster and they usually just demand things from you and sit back staring and smoking cigarettes . They always argue about the bill." Then he laughed, "but you Canadians, you come here, smile and drink all of our beer. We like you Canadians"
For three days I just wandered the beach, swam in the ocean and worked on my tan. I drank big bottles on Lion Lager during Happy Hours on the beach for 350 Rupees (C$2.50) chatting with people or just staring at the ocean while the sun blasted me with UV Rays. I am now not vitamin D deficient.
It was not all lazy. Jutting out of the beach is Parrot Rock Bridge. Separated from the beach by hip deep water climbing gives you a nice 180 degree view of the beach area. Naturally it must be climbed. There are steps carved into the hard red clay and bamboo is tied together to form a bit of a safety barrier/hand rail. Not the safest of barriers but it helped.
The view was pretty nice looking back onto Mirissa beach. It was cool to just hang out up there for a while and wander around. About 20 minutes into my little hike Paradise was lost. I stepped down onto a rock about 2 feet down, and slipped just enough that my flip flop, flip flopped. The toe piece snapped and I was now barefoot. I had to climb across the scree of the rock, up the beach and to the main street to find a shop that sold cheap sandals. A minor incident but you immediately realize how soft your feet are when you have no shoes. Every step you are the dork jumping and twitching as you move along.
Mirissa has great opportunities for whale watching and so off I went. I got picked up at 5:50 am by a pre-arranged Tuk Tuk and taken to the ship. It was about half full so there was lots of room. The $30 ticket included my pickup, morning coffee and egg sandwich breakfast. The tour, bottles of water, lunch of Roti and spices and fresh coconut juice.
We were not disappointed. Thirty minutes out we spotted our first Pygmy Blue Whale. I never new such a thing existed. It was slow and majestic and a great thing to watch as the sun was rising. There is downside. There were 6 or 7 boats of various sizes watching these three whales when they surfaced. It was insane as all the boats turned at the same time and roared towards the surfacing pods. It must have scared the shit out of the poor creatures. There were also massive pods of spinner and bottle nose dolphins which were entertaining to watch.
Mirissa was a lazy 4 days over Christmas. I am realizing I can do lazy really really well. I need to snap out of it. I spent a lot of time playing with the hotels owners kids. Their hearing was like a pack of dogs. They knew when I was coming up the street and were usually standing at the gate waving to me. How do you not stop and hang out with them?
Here is a nice article about the rebuild of Mirissa one year after the Tsunami.