Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Colombo to Tangalle

Our last day in Colombo was spent in search of. In search of the markets, in search of some medication for me, and an increasingly desperate search for kotthu roti. Wherever we go, one of Marc's and my favorite things to do is prowl through the markets. In Colombo, the markets are in the neighborhood called Pettah. One of the distinctive things about the market in Pettah is that most of the sellers in the stalls had microphones and seemed to doing an auctioneer's patter. It was very loud and chaotic, since the place was crowded with people and trucks and buses and tuk-tuks already.

just another day at the market

standing on the bridge over the busy street looking down at the market stalls

the same, on the other side of the road

one of the many microphone yelling guys -- that's him in the blue shirt crouched on top of stuff

tuk-tuks are our favorite way to get around on vacation.
a busy street in Pettah

tuk-tuks everywhere.

traffic cops wear GIANT gloves with red markings, the better to see them

the Sri Lanka Railway station

he bore a very heavy load

and so did he, on a very busy street packed with buses and trucks

When we went to Java earlier this year, I got these enormous bright red bites on my stomach and legs -- very itchy. Got them here too, and they were even itchier. It was hot and sticky and that made me itch even more, so after the chaos and noise of the market, I hung out in our room and read while Marc made a number of missions out to find some medication for me. I wish I could be a little butterfly floating above, watching him on these trips; he talks to everyone, asks for help, has all these interactions trying to get what he needs. While he was out, he found a place that had kotthu roti -- which was much more elusive than we ever dreamed it would be. We thought you could hardly turn a corner without running into a stall selling the stuff, but we could never find it. When it was time for dinner, we tried to find a few different places we'd been told about, read in the guidebooks, whatever (couldn't re-find the place Marc saw earlier, either), but we could not find any of them. It was very frustrating; it's one of the main things we were looking forward to. We finally stumbled into a little shop that was pretty seedy and filthy. Dark. One strange guy kept staring at me the whole time and made me feel very uncomfortable. They made egg hoppers and we were told they sold kotthu roti, but we aren't sure. It certainly wasn't what he were expecting; it was heavy and greasy and really kind of gross. Didn't even take a picture of it. We were so disappointed.

we shoulda had the egg hoppers
This morning we had our breakfast and checked out because the taxi was supposed to pick us up at 8am for the 4-hour drive to Tangalle. He finally arrived at 8:40 and told us it was a 5-hour drive, but we'd heard so many varied estimates of how long it should take so we weren't surprised. It was only $85 for such a long trip, and the car was a very comfortable Prius. The first part of the trip was on an expressway, straight and quick, about 75% of the way in terms of miles. But that last 25% was NOT on an expressway, and it was on a very windy road that hugged the Indian Ocean and wound through one small village and town after another. That last 25% of the trip took more than half the time. The driver kept the air conditioning on very low, and I was sitting in the back seat with Marc. So I was hot, the roads were winding, our progress was stop and start, swerving and honking....and I got severely car sick. I was already feeling bad from the medication I was taking for the severe itching, and it started my day with a migraine, so I was not having my best day. At all. I was leaning back with my eyes closed, trying to be still and quiet and not throw up, when Marc grabbed my knee as the car pulled over. Monitor lizards crossing the road. And turns out they just look like really giant creepy lizards, but kinda cool too:

no frame of reference, I know -- trust me, it was really big.

When a monitor lizard crosses the road, you let it. There were two or three crossing together, and by the time I got my camera and tried to capture them, I could only get this guy.

The place we're staying in Tangalle is absolutely wonderful, and extremely remote. We got to Tangalle and went through town, then turned off and wound our way down tiny little roads, turned again onto an even tinier road, passed emerald green fields with water buffalo and snowy white egrets, then turned onto an even tinier road. Then there we were. We were met with strings of frangipani placed around our necks, cold wet cloths for our hands, and we were escorted to our little bungalow:

our room -- yeah, I don't know how to pronounce it either. "Five" works for me.

SO happy to be here.

the bathroom is bigger than our NYC apartment. This half has the tub.

me on the deck with a view of the lagoon

that's our place. #5.

a smallish pool, because the beach is just right over there. still, the pool is nice.

oh, there's the other half of the giant bathroom. it's really giant, did i say that already?
After a huge ordeal, I got the situation worked out with idiotic Blogger so I could get caught up here, and then we took a little walk over to the beautiful beach. It's empty and so lovely.

we passed a huge field full of these guys as we walked to the beach. 

it's gorgeous. That's the rock pool in the distance, where we'll swim. The current is too strong otherwise.

a shot in the other direction. beach love.

no idea, but i liked the way it looked.

cuttlefish bones EVERYWHERE.
We ate a gorgeous meal, Sri Lankan specialties -- folded inside an enormous square banana leaf package was steamed rice, a piece of fish, some prawns, a vegetable cutlet, and a variety of spiced treats to stir in. There was a bowl of boiled egg curry to spoon over the rice and it was just exquisite. Very subtle and heavily spiced with cardamom and cloves and curry leaves and just layers and layers of delicate flavor. I loved it. We unfortunately ordered desserts, which were disappointing, but it's OK. That curry and fish and rice were so good it's easy to just let it have the last word.

And now we sleep. It's 9:15pm here and tomorrow we're going to explore Tangalle and line up some snorkeling. Do some beach walking. Swimming. Relaxing. Reading for me (I've finished 4 books already, starting on the 5th and 6th) and some beach meditation for Marc. Good food, no doubt. Maybe even some kotthu roti, we'll see about that.

Loving Sri Lanka so far. So glad to be here. xo

1 comment:

  1. It is gorgeous! Your surroundings, the place you are staying (what's up with that high bathroom anyway?), the food. I'm looking forward to reading more!