March 30th – Galle

Determined to beat the heat, we woke at six this morning and took a swim in the crystal-clear sea below the imposing vertical brown cliff-like walls of the old city that pokes out into the Indian Ocean. Finally, we had found a good temperature. It didn’t last long though. On our way into town we past the stinking rows of the morning’s fish haul, slowly gathering flies on the bloodied, slimy wooden boards of the fisherman’s stalls.  Behind them, the lashed-together catamarans sat lopsided on the harbor beach, unloaded onto stall where the boats made land.

We explored the market along the main street and bought a few bit and bobs, a mango, some sunglasses, a pair of pants, an egg Roti.

Roti seller makes tasty local fast food in cafe Galle, Sri Lanka

The roti production line.
-Galle, Sri Lanka-

Free meal donated by YMCA curried jackfruit Galle Sri Lanka

We were given this meal at the YMCA, including curried jackfruit on the left. It was free. And tasty.
-Galle, Sri Lanka-

But I think here we reached a bit of a wall, not quite sure what to do next. Galle is a great town with an interesting market area to browse, but beyond that and the fort, there isn’t a huge amount to actually do. A couple of churches dotted about the place were pretty dry fall-back options if we got really desperate, but there really isn’t too much else.

There is a spectacular-looking ‘Peace Pagoda’ donated by some Japanese businessman post-Tsunami, white as snow against the green, jungle-covered peninsula jutting out from the headland beyond the harbor to the East. The guide mentions in the same sentence a Jungle-Beach below. All sounds very nice, but it’s actually closer to Unawatuna, where we head tomorrow. We could have gone today, but it would have made a three hundred Rickshaw ride, and also, if I’m perfectly honest, its one less thing to do in Unawatuna. It sounds really fucked up, but I think we both felt, certainly in Galle at least, that there’s almost time to kill. I got a sense of it in Hikkaduwa as well- it all well and nice having the place to ourselves, but with a growing wariness of hanging out with the locals, not many westerners around to meet and some comparatively steep prices, it really starts to limit options.

Monitor lizard sewage gutter Galle Sri Lanka

This water monitor was perfectly happy wading through the sewage drain. And why wouldn’t he be?
-Galle, Sri Lanka-

Take today, for example. After our swim, we went into the market again to get breakfast. We went for another stroll. We get back and its just 11. Normally that’s fine, we’d go for a swim or something, but it’s too fucking hot! So we have a nap till mid afternoon. We go out for a Lassi and have a read and a chill. Hmmm, its two hours till dinner. We go for another wander. We have dinner. It’s hot. We have a beer. Now I’m full and we can’t be bothered and can’t afford to go out…

I can’t believe my mind is working this way! It’s awful. I sound like a spoiled child. If I’ve learned anything from the hindsight experience, it is to enjoy things objectively, rather than try and fit into a wider picture. I know it’s not even been a week and we’re just getting stuck in, but it’s hard not to think- Is this it? Is this what all the fuss is about?

Clean streets shops Galle Sri Lanka

With the benefit of hindsight, I am struck at how clean the streets are compared to India.
-Galle, India-

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