Tuesday, November 26, 2013

oh my heavens, the food

Our excited anticipation of Sri Lanka was focused on the extraordinary beauty of the place and the food. OK, quite heavily on the food. We love love love spicy food, it's never spicy enough, and we knew the food here would be spicy. And also spiced, delicately and subtly. Cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, this IS a spice island, you know. In my last post I wrote about our dinner last night, but I forgot to talk about the music. The restaurant is small, open air, with fish ponds around the perimeter. We ate by dim candlelight and listened to lots of Ray Charles. Old Ray Charles too, songs like I Got a Woman. Then a bit of softer jazz, then back to Ray Charles. And the trees were full of frogs singing, and birds making all kinds of sounds, and strange insects -- a whole symphony of jungle sounds. Somehow it was perfect and wonderful.

This hotel is amazing; we'd read about how perfect it is, how the staff anticipate your needs but do so in the most unobtrusive way. When we were walking back to our little bungalow in the dark, after dinner last night, I saw a young man in the near distance with a pale flashlight. As we approached he started walking in the direction we were going and it took a few seconds to realize that he was there to light the way for us. He stopped just past our walkway and turned to shine the light up toward our door, and then stepped away when we had unlocked the door. It's a beautiful place, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's beautiful, absolutely, and peaceful, and everyone who works here is so friendly but not in your face, at all.

Unfortunately, the medication I'm taking for this severe itching from the bug bites gave me a second migraine in the middle of the night, so I lay awake for a long time listening to the wildlife outside, including the peacocks doing their screaming-woman sounds, and the roosters doing their thing.

This morning we were looking forward to our big traditional Sri Lankan breakfast at 8am. We were up earlier so we walked around a bit. In addition to the other wildlife here, there is a gentle little horse living on the property named Ginger. Ginger thinks she's a dog, I think. She acts like a pet -- she'll fall into step behind, walk up for a pet, she hangs out by people. She apparently has a little pet of her own, a white bird that walks next to her.

funny tree on the way to the beach

Marc and Ginger

Ginger and her little pet

these kerosene pots hang on every tree; they are flaming torches at night

morning beach

morning beach

interesting plant with leaves like coins
We walked over to the restaurant for breakfast after a little walk around the grounds. I was looking forward to the coffee, which helps this headache, but also the food. In Colombo we had string hoppers, but it's the egg hoppers I've been most looking forward to. We'd ordered the Sri Lankan breakfast -- you have to order it a day in advance, it's a big deal -- and we didn't know what to expect beyond egg hoppers, which would've been plenty. Instead, it was a GIANT feast. A plate piled with string hoppers, and a table filled with bowls of fish curry, dal curry, potato curry, a pea and coconut mix, coconut sambol, a plate of four egg hoppers with the spicy pepper condiment, fresh juice (watermelon for me, mixed for Marc), and a huge pot of thick, dark French press coffee. Playing in the restaurant: ABBY ROAD of all things, the whole album. It was surreal and fantastic and wonderful and incredible and there was much happiness and moaning around the table.

OK, who could even eat ALL THIS? And the egg hoppers hadn't even arrived.

curries on top of string hoppers, coconut sambol atop the whole shebang

thick, fresh juices

how can I ever have breakfast without egg hoppers, ever ever again?
I'm in the room for a while babying my aching head; Marc just came back from the rock pool and said it's the most perfect beach he's ever been on -- one after another peak experience moments. It's so wonderful seeing him be so happy and relaxed. Gosh we are happy. Things are good back at home, things are well with friends and family, and except for my migraines and itching, things are well with me. So very much to be thankful for.

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