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Down by the sea


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large_5550_1277902698702.jpgWaiting for the train at Colombo Fort station.
Sri Lanka Again

Today I'm off on my second visit to Sri Lanka. There are a few reasons for my visit:

1. Even though I've travelled extensively around Sri Lanka, I don't have the true feel of the country and its people. We were in a rush as it was a 6-day stopover on the way to Iran, so we hired a car and driver (it wasn't that expensive).
2. I'm here to visit the places that I didn't cover last time - the west coast beaches.
3. This was the only way I could get to use my Emirates frequent flyer points to go to Beirut.

Setting off from Kuala Lumpur to Hikkaduwa [Hikkaduwa-travel-guide-585386]

With jetlag on my side, I woke at 3am in Kuala Lumpur .large_5550_12779026984850.jpgWaiting for the train at Colombo Fort station... then dozed till 4am when I had to wake for my 6:15am flight to Colombo [Colombo-travel-guide-583234]. The airport terminal was walking distance from the hotel.

Upon arrival at Colombo at 7:15, I enquired about a taxi down the coast to Hikkaduwa. It would be a 4 hour drive costing USD70. I opted to take public transport instead for a grand total of USD5:

1. A free bus from the airport to the bus station (10 minutes).
2. A bus to Colombo Fort railway station (2 hours). Hot, sweaty, fumy and noisy.
3. A train from Colombo to Hikkaduwa, the beach village (2 hours).
4. There was some waiting around at the railway station, but only long enough for a light lunch of roti and vadae.

I noticed on the train that much of the coastline is very orange coloured sand ... sienna.large_5550_1277902698744.jpgVendor on the train (2nd class) ... see the ceiling? It is full of black mildew (mould) ... someone had a go cleaning it in the centre-right panel but gave up on the rest.Unfortunately this rich colour renders the water an awful colour when the sand is churned up into the waves.

I also noticed that the elderly woman sitting next to me holds her hands in prayer position each time she sees a Buddhist temple through the window ... that's the kind of thing you'd miss if you just tour Sri Lanka in a car with driver!

At Hikkaduwa

My family-run hotel at Hikkaduwa (or more accurately Thiranagama) was modest and simple but very clean. Unfortunately the sea is very rough ... I stood 3 inches deep in the water and could feel the undertow dragging me in. I settled for the small but clean and cooling swimming pool.

In light of my disappointment (with the sea), it feels so good that I didn't pay USD70 for the taxi ride down. I will treat this stay by the beach as a base for exploring Galle (tomorrow, further south) and as a relaxing break on the way to Beirut.

5550_1277902698702.jpg5550_12779026984850.jpg5550_1277902698744.jpg

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Sri Lanka

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