January 7th

Today’s breakfast was different from yesterday, although it was equally amazing. There was a shocking lack of egg-based dishes, but plenty of other options to fill the void. There were savory smoky sausages, and pancakes that were rolled up and filled with coconut (these were absolutely choice). Spread a little jam on that sucker, and you’re good to go. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a good complimentary breakfast. When I lived at a hostel this past summer, the breakfast basically consisted of coffee, juice and toast. I’d be hungry after roughly twenty minutes, which left me absolutely miserable. We all know how difficult I can be to deal with when my blood sugar drops (or how difficult I am in general).

We went to the beach again today (sorry if this is getting repetitive). Yesterday, this Sri Lankan with a variety of fruits came up to where we were situated, and offered us some fresh fruit. He was little more forceful than the other venders (comparatively, the venders here are not forceful at all and are actually quite kind), and proceeded to cut up fresh mangos for me, Kasey and Zoe. Today he returned, this time cutting up a complimentary red banana that we were curious about (he definitely told me the name of it, but clearly I forgot it). He promised to return later in the afternoon for our daily mango, but then he decided to push my towel aside and sit. I didn’t really know what to say, and neither did Kasey. I have a very difficult time understanding the accents here (or really anywhere). He briefly discussed matters of the tsunami and his family, and seemed to get a little sentimental. I really wish I could have understood more about what he was saying. I always am interested in the people that live there entire lives where they were born, it gives them a unique perspective, but also a strong connection to their home, which someone who is constantly in motion doesn’t necessarily have. After this brief conversation, he left, but would return later in the afternoon.

After some time at the beach, we returned to the hotel because Dochi was due to arrive. Her plane had been delayed because there had been thick fog in Chennai (India), and the coffee shops at the airport had also run out of milk, so there was clearly widespread panic. Later in the afternoon, there was a knock on the door. She had arrived, and we were all excited to hear stories of her trip home to India. The weather, which had been cloudy and cool earlier, was now piping hot. We immediately decided to go back to the beach. We dipped our feet in the water, but decided against swimming. Instead, we headed for the statute of the Buddha that was up in the hills (a picture will accompany this if posting the picture is not a sensitive issue).

At the bottom of the hill, Dochi told us about a specific tree called the “People Tree,” which is where Buddha prayed and/or meditated (although it likely wasn’t in this specific tree). Once we got inside the fortifications surrounding the hill, we were required to take our shoes off to walk up towards the statue. The statue was impressive, as were the surrounding structures. Traditional music was playing, and there was even a real live Buddhist Monk (I’ll let the pictures do the talking here, although they can’t really do these things justice). Afterwards, we started to head down the hill, but a gentleman beckoned us towards a path. The path weaved through some shrubbery, but then came out to a rocky escarpment. The sun was almost about to set, although most of it would be obscured by a giant cloud. Still, the view was incredible, and when the sun finally emerged from the bottom of the cloud, it was bright red and beautiful.

After the sunset, it was time to grab a drink and possibly even dinner. At this restaurant called, “Bong Chili Spice Café” we all grabbed a cocktail. I opted for the Arrack Attack, as did Dochi. The drink consisted of ginger beer, a bit of lime, and Arrack (according to Wikipedia, Arrack is a distilled alcoholic drink typically produced in South Asia and Southeast Asia, made from either the fermented sap of coconut flowers, sugarcane, grain or fruit, depending upon the country of origin). It was a very refreshing drink, and perfect for sitting beachside, although I became increasingly nervous as the tide came in and threatened to carry me out to sea. All a little lacking in energy, we decided to grab some grub.

We returned to Tartargua, the restaurant where we ate the first night. There was a grill, and a selection of fresh fish where you could actually pick what you were going to have for dinner. Zoe got prawns, I got a butterfish, and Dochi got coral fish (the names might be a little off, for this I apologize). Kasey opted for tuna in a creamy sauce, and we split cuttlefish in hot garlic sauce as an appetizer. After dinner, we returned to the Bong Chili Spice Café, and just chatted about anything and everything. Dochi asked the group, “If you could have a café or beachside bar like this, what would you call it?” My initial thought was “Beach Please,” but instead I opted for “Beaches be Krazy.” We then retired to our chambers and played a little bit of rummy, before we all decided to call it a night. Election day is tomorrow, so I’m not sure how much there will be to report. Apparently, it’s going to take over Sri Lanka.

Pictures: the fish we could select from, the sunset, Zoe and me taking a picture of each other taking a picture, and a few of the structures on the hill.

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