Suitcase and World: A Lazy Day.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Lazy Day.

After our visit to the Mirissa fish market, we stopped at a local restaurant for breakfast. By now I had lost track of how many meals of string hoppers, lentil curry and fish curry we had had. Still tasty but I have admit, getting a bit tiresome. The one unusual thing about this morning's meal was the hard boiled egg. It had a white yolk - yes, a white yolk!

I had never seen anything like that before but according to Chandana, it has something to do with the salt water here. Hmmm....don't know about that. I've been to many beach towns and have never seen an egg with a white yolk. Taste wise, it was no different from the regular yellow yolk.

After breakfast, we went back to the hotel.  We would have a couple of hours to enjoy the beach before Chami would be back to pick us up.  We had decided to move to another hotel so we could spend time on another beach.  In the meantime, it was back into the ocean :-)

When we arrived at the beach, there were few people around, street vendors were just getting set up. By the time we were ready to head back to the hotel, the place was in full swing.  On our short walk back to the hotel, we caught sight of an Elephant House cart vendor.  Hot, humid weather.  Perfect for a cone or two :-)  At barely 80 cents for the equivalent of a Nutty Buddy, it was hard to turn down so we each devoured two!  It was the perfect mid morning break.

Back at the hotel, we had to quickly shower and finish up packing which never takes long since we have so little stuff with us.

We took our suitcases and waited out front for the guys to appear and as has been the case from day one, the guys pretty much showed up on time.  Not that I mind waiting.  I've enjoyed my two days at Polhena and I wouldn't have minded spending another night here but we do want to explore Sri Lanka as much as we can so time to move on.

It was a very short ride to our next destination, the Sunbeam Coral Villa in Mirissa, a very modest, small beachfront hotel.  It's low season so Chandana was able to score an ocean view room for us - on the second floor.  We did have neighbors to our right and left but everyone was very quiet so it was as if we had the place all to ourselves.

While Chandana got us settled in, I walked down to the beach to check it out.  Including me, there was one person on the beach.  I like!

The guys brought our bags up and we would have the rest of the day to ourselves.  Chami would be back at 7pm to pick us up.  We were going to be having dinner at Chandana's house.  Another home cooked meal and this one with the ginormous Sri Lankan prawns that Chandana had reserved earlier in the day.  I can't wait to eat this meal!

We did a bit of laundry and after we hung up everything to dry, took our spots on the lounge chairs on the balcony.  More time to just relax, chit chat and soak in the view of the waves coming on shore.  This is the life!

By now, it was early afternoon and poor bro was hungry.  The restaurant dining room was long closed but the kitchen staff were kind enough to whip up a meal for him. We figured they had to have some leftover rice and curry that they could just warm up.  It didn't take long before one of the kitchen guys showed up with a large tray with a large plate of rice and curries to go with it.  Poor bro was indeed hungry!  He pretty much inhaled his lunch!

It wasn't long after lunch when the storm clouds rolled in.  In a matter of seconds, it was a torrential downpour and we had to move both our laundry and ourselves inside the room.  And as quickly as the stormed rolled in, it rolled out.  I don't think it rained for more than five minutes and when the skies cleared, if not for the fact that the balcony was wet, you wouldn't have known it had rained. 

Time to hit the beach!!  We changed into our bathing suits and made our way down to the water.  The beach was still pretty much deserted.  The stretch of water, directly in front of our hotel, was pretty rough with waves so we decided to walk down one side of the beach to see if the water was any calmer.

We had spotted an boulder like outcrop, extending out from the beach and decided to explore it.  The light brown sand quickly turned to black sand and we found ourselves clamoring over rocks.  Our walk took us across the lawn of a very nice hotel.  There were quite a few tourists lounging about, enjoying their afternoon by the beach.

We headed back down the rocks to the beach and continued our way towards the rock.

There was a flow of water separating us from the boulder.  We watched a guy, ahead of us, make his way across.  At one point, the water came up to his thighs so I figured it wasn't all that shallow.  I decided to keep my shoes on and time my crossing so that the water would be at its most shallow point by the time I reached the spot that he was at.

Off we went, I headed first....carefully placing my feet and watching the waves.  I made it across, no problem.  There was a set of wooden steps, a little rickety looking leading up to the top of the boulder.  Up the stairs we went.  There was nothing to see at the top but the views of the surrounding ocean and beach were very nice.  Looking back towards our hotel, we could see how rough the waves were.  Looking in the opposite, we saw the calmer waters.  The boulder and the sand around formed a barrier of sorts.

We headed back down the stairs.  Bro decided to test out the calmer waters while I sat on small rock to soak in the rays of the late afternoon sun. 

In due course, we were back at the hotel.  A quick shower before meeting back up with Chami for the short ride to Chandana's house.  By now I was hungry as I had skipped lunch - wanted to make sure my belly was empty for what I knew was going to be a fantastic meal.

When Chami pulled the van into Chandana's yard, I could see that a small table, a small bench and a couple of  had been set up outside.  That would be where we were going to be eating.  There weren't enought seats for all us to sit on - Chandana said his family would be eating separately.  I felt a bit awkward about that but I can understand that they were probably not comfortable eating with us two strangers.

One by one, dishes started to appear.  First came the prawns.  OH MY GOD!! They were HUGE!!  This is exactly what I had in mind when I said I wanted to eat prawns in Sri Lanka!  It truly, truly does not get better than this.

I started to drool at the sight of them.  They appeared to have been cooked in a green curry sauce. I was curious so I headed back towards the kitchen.  I was so surprised to see Chandana's wife cooking one prawn at a time in her little pan which was not large enough to hold the whole prawn so she had to shift the prawn back and forth to cook effort. Amazing that she did this.  Chandana said that he had bought twelve of the prawns and she patiently cooked each one!

I had expected prawns but Chandana did one better.  He also bought crabs!  These had small bodies and large claws.  Chandana's wife cooked them in the same curry sauce as the prawns.  Chandana's did a great job with cooking both the prawns and the crab.  Nothing was overcooked and the sauce did not overpower the sweetness of the meat.

In addition to the prawns and crabs, there was also a plate of cuttle fish and three veggie dishes.  Red rice was the base for it all.  I could not believe that she had cooked all this up with her small pots and pans on two small burners!!

Simply put, this was THE BEST meal of our entire trip and one that I will not soon forget!

Before we sat down to eat, I insisted that we take a group photo.  I had found a chair and box to prop up my camera on.  After we took  a couple of group shots, I snapped this one of Chandana's wife, kids and monther-in-law.  I wanted to have a photo of the women who had taken so much time and care to prepare this amazing dinner for us. Just the day before, we were complete strangers and they graciously welcomed us into their room.  I will never forget their kind hospitality.  As the sun set, we bid them farewell.  Even though we could not verbally communicate to each other, Chandana's mother-in-law and I had somehow forged a small bond. Tiny as she was in stature, she gave me the biggest bear hug before I got into the van!  Chandana's a very, very lucky man to have such a wonderful family!

Today was a super relaxing day and while I am looking forward to tomorrow, I almost don't want today to end!

Good night from Mirissa.  I can hear the sound of the waves in the distance.