January 6th

I woke up today feeling absolutely refreshed. After last night’s seafood extravaganza, we had talked about grabbing a drink somewhere, but neither Zoe nor I could keep our eyes open (the conversation was pretty minimal since we were all a little brain dead by that point). The bed was comfortable, and the rain was absolutely pouring, which acted as a sedative. When I awoke this morning, it was lightly drizzling outside, and it was roughly 7:30 am Sri Lankan time. I can’t really remember the last time that I had been up that early, my body was still trying to process and recalculate its internal clock. If today was going to be anything like yesterday, then a beach trip might be just what the doctor ordered.

The breakfast spread was impressive. I wish I knew the name of everything that I ate, but part of the freedom of not being allergic to shellfish anymore is that I don’t really have to care what’s in anything. There were eggs in these little flakey bowls (which were also edible), plenty of fruit (pineapples are definitely an underrated fruit), coconut roti (which was in the form of a small pancake/wafer), pigs in a blanket (although I’m sure the name for this is different in Sri Lanka, that’s exactly what they looked and tasted like), and papaya juice to drink. I’ll try to attach some pictures of breakfast at some point (it certainly beats powdered eggs and Texas-shaped waffles). After breakfast I poured myself some Ceylon tea and tried to configure the Internet on my laptop. After this cup of tea, I realized that I couldn’t fight my nature, and grabbed a cup of coffee for a stronger caffeine fix.

It got hot very quickly this morning, which always puts me in a bit of haze. As soon as we stepped foot out of the hotel, I thought to myself that I definitely didn’t lock the door to the hotel. I doubled back to check. If I left the door unlocked, our room unfortunately is connected to the other room, so any burglar would be able to rob both rooms at once, sort of a two-for-one special. As I raced to the door, the staff greeted me with a genuine “hello,” which was throwing me off a bit. Why were people being SO courteous? As it turns out, the door was in fact locked, and I may just be losing my mind at this point. As I caught up with Zoe and Kasey, they were taking a selfie near some of the local shops. The sun was beaming, and I figured that with all of us being whiter than Elmer’s Glue, we were all going to be a little toasted by late afternoon.

The beach was, in a word, perfect. It wasn’t too crowded, the sand was soft, and there was no seaweed on the floor. I realized that this was my first time in the Indian Ocean, and I was hardly able to contain my excitement. As soon as we waded into the bath-like water, a jellyfish stung Zoe. We later offered to pee on her leg, to which she politely declined (weird right?). Kasey and I stayed in the water a little bit longer, and apparently many of our fellow beach-goers are Russian. We adjourned to chez lounges and read for a bit, while some stray dogs roamed the beach. This woman who was diagonally across from us was completely unaware that a stray dog had walked under her seat, dug out a small hole, and passed out. Even if she knew, I’m not sure she would have cared. Both were soundly asleep and enjoying the weather.

We waited as long as we possibly could (or until it was socially acceptable) to have our first beach cocktail. We saw another patron of the beach have a lime and vodka drink, so we opted for that. Zoe got a piña colada, another one of my beach favorites (especially with a little rum runner on top). For a second round of drinks, we all got mojitos (it looked like they chopped up an entire mint plant and placed it into each glass). The mojito was sweet without being too sweet. Everything is naturally flavored down here, and also very fresh. I can’t tell you how many fruit juices I can no longer drink because of the gratuitous amount of added sugar. Some ominous clouds rolled in and it started to rain. We sought refuge in a nearby shisha bar.

Now at the shisha bar, we opted for more roti. Kasey and I each got a chicken and cheese roti, while Zoe ordered a roti of the cheese and egg persuasion. The shisha was cherry and mint; it went down smooth and left me a bit light-headed. I can never really tell what the protocol is for getting the check. They aren’t prompt with it; you usually have to ask a couple of times and be persistent. We checked out a few little shops and admired the strange fruits, which we will assuredly be sampling at some point. With the storm now passed, we headed for the hotel. Kasey and I went out to get some beer, and we sat outside on the porch admiring the view and listening to my iTunes.

The highlight of dinner was crab curry, which involved a whole-shelled crab that we had to crack open. I really hate having to work that hard for my dinner, it’s not nearly as satisfying as it should be. The meat itself was good though, and we got several other rice-based dishes. It had gotten dark pretty early, maybe at around five, and it was now pitch black. We decided to call it an early night, our bodies still not fully adapted to the time difference.

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