We will have to travel longer distances today and to a new location. So we have to leave tuk-tuk driver Lal. We asked a driver to drive and guide us, his name is Sampath and we ask him to stop by at interesting locations – just like we asked Lal- and tell us about the country, it’s history and the people, as we find out, we are badly prepared tourists, we know so little.
We reach Tangalle, and find out there is a harbour, Sampath seems to have family here, talks with some people and we are allowed to enter the restricted harbour area. Fishing boats and many men working. Those men don’t speak much English, so we are glad we have Sampath to translate for us.
We are invited on board of one of the boats where men are preparing and loading for a weeks’ fishing trip, down space of the boat has to be filled with ice. Preparation to keep the fish fresh when caught. The ice comes in with a big truck, but has to be put in the boat manually, bags each containing 50 kg of ice. Tough job.
The men proudly show us their boat, they all have an own bed and a small locker, the boat is functional for fishing, but nicely decorated all over with stickers with good looking girls and the boat also has a good radio and fancy lights, for some leisure while underway. We get a full tour, radio is put on, as are the lights, we see the spaces in the boat where the gear and the fish will be kept. We love to see a glimpse of daily life here.
Another boat comes in, just back from the sea, the fish is brought at the quay and quickly sorted in colorful crates, same types of fish and same sizes go to together. Ready for a buyer.
Quiet night at the coast
In a short drive we find a place for the night, a place in a surfer’s area at the coast. We are the only ones now. The place is desolated, as it is off season for surfing. Luckily the owner is in and he can prepare rooms for the night. We get a room with a beautiful heavy dark wooden 4 poster bed.
We find a place for dinner, but we are obviously the only tourists here. The waiter brings us an extended menu. We make our choice and order, he walks away to come back a few minutes later to say it’s not available. We order something else, the scene repeats, he walks away, comes back a few minutes later to tell it’s not available. So we decide to ask him what is available and he says it’s rice & curry is. This is probably the menu for majority of Sri Lankan people, whether out or at home. The curry can be different in composition, here at the coast the curry is prepared with fresh sea food. Might be some of the fish we saw today. We enjoy it.
We sleep very well in the quiet place, where the only sound is the sound of waves at the shore.