Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tangalle--Surf, Sun and Rain----9/1-5

Tangalle is at the far south end of Sri Lanka. I took the small frontage road that runs just above the beach. Along the way there were what seemed like hundreds of small guest houses and restaurants—-many with beach chairs and tables on the sand near the surf.  

Many were closed up and a few looked like they were abandoned after the Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami.  

Along the were were cemeteries with headstones that showed the person had perished during the tsunami including some Westerners.

I continued along for about 4 miles of relatively empty beaches and restaurants.    I stopped along the way sampling the fruit drinks and lassis along with some Sri Lankan food.

I checked in and showered at the Coco Palms Beach Resort which just charged 2,000 Rupees per night. 

Here is a typical vegetarian rice and curry meal at the Coco Grill which included rice, curry beans, curry ocra, sambol, lentils and papadums.

I enjoyed the Sri Lanka breakfast and the vegetable curry lunches  and dinners.  Some of the restaurants did not even offer Sri Lankan food—-just Western food.  Most of the Westerners were from Europe or Australia and I met no Americans.

I ended up staying here four days just enjoying the surf, sun, sometimes rain with few other tourists at the beaches.

In the late afternoon I would see the fishermen at the end of our road pulling in a big net full of the catch of the day which looked mostly like sardines.  I and other tourists helped them haul in these heavy loads.  

On the second day, they timed the pulls for when the waves crashed toward the sand.  Despite the efforts of about 50 people they were only able to get the last net to the water line.  After that they would open the net and slowly remove the quivering fish with hand held nets.  For those that helped they each gathered up a plastic bag full of fish as an exchange for their help.  

As I explored the fishing boat harbor I came to a plaque way above the beach area that showed how high the tsunami wave had come. Over 40,000 people died including 1,200 who had died riding the same train I had traveled on.

I also visited the beach about 50 feet below this plaque, visited with the lifeguard and saw the burka clad women enjoy wading among the rocks along the tide line.

The market was in full swing when I caught a wild bus ride out of Tangalle to Matara early morning.  Half way through the trip we picked up another bus load of passengers from a broken down bus that had left before us.  I guess the stop we did in front of the Tangalle Buddhist Stupa really paid off for us because the conductor got out gave a prayer and a donation.  Plus we had a lighted Buddha along with Ganesh posted at the front of our bus.

From the Matara Bus Station I again passed this Buddhist Stupa where lots of people were praying because of the holiday.  Along the road I spotted these saffron donation posts which the passing drivers would use for their drive by offerings.

I arrived at the Matara Bus station and then walked to the Train station just before it began to downpour.  It continued to rain throughout the journey back to Colombo and on to Kandy.

Fortunately I had a seat for this return journey.  My seat mate was Kismet who was doing an engineering internship with Camso Lodestar——a Canadian company that makes large off road vehicles for mining as well as snowmobiles—-no need for snowmobiles in Sri Lanka.  She said that she had just visited her family here in Matara as she does every weekend.

I arrived after 8 pm and quickly took a tuk-tuk to the Mango Garden Guesthouse for 250 Rupees.

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