Woke up to the rather loud and irritating voice of the Eastern European woman in the room next door, still desperately trying to get it on with her Sri Lankan driver. This mornings conversation seemed to revolve around her being upset that he didn’t like the papaya she bought him. We lay in bed, giggling, while he explained that she had bought the wrong kind – that they weren’t for eating but for cooking. Got up and showered before heading out to breakfast to a thankfully deserted dining area. Ate fruit and coconut pancakes. Paid our bill and headed to the bus stop. Caught the local bus to the main junction and, after getting some money back from the bus conductor, we were pointed in the right direction for the bus to Trincomalee. Had to wait about 45 minutes for the right bus to turn up and, along with about 8 other tourists, we stored our bags in the boot compartment (hoping that we weren’t going to have a repeat of what happened when we first arrived) and found some seats onboard. The 100km journey was actually quite quick. The bus was clearly an ‘express’ service and didn’t stop at every bus stop. Arrived in Trincomalee just before midday and walked to find our guesthouse. Checked in, left our bags and headed back out to explore this small seaside town. Went first to the supermarket to get some drinks and snacks. Tried a Milo chocolate milk drink – it’s divine!! And potentially very dangerous – I could live off them!! Headed over to the railway station to see if it is easier to get the train to Anuradhapura or the bus. Turns out the bus is much simpler (and quicker) so we headed to the bus station via a walk along fisherman’s beach. Clearly monsoon season, the beach itself was covered in flotsam and jetsam, including a few washed up fish, a nautilus shell and a copping board that looked like a shark had bitten it in half. After a brief rest to nibble on some chilli cheese crisps, we walked past the fruit market to find wild deer wandering around. As we watched, a man came out and started feeding them bruised tomatoes and old, unsellable bananas. He offered a bunch to us and we got to hand feed wild deer!! Kept walking through town to the Hindu temple that has a section shaped like a train. Clearly my new polarising sunglasses work too well as I had thought that my camera had broken but it turns out that the lenses make the screen look black. Walked along the seafront to the fort, sitting down for a while on the sea wall, watching an osprey fish for his dinner and looking in the water for marine life. The fort is still being used by the Sri Lankan military so you can’t visit every section of it but we were still able to walk through to the temple and the view point. The revered Kandasamy Kovil temple at the summit of a rocky outcrop is one of Sri Lanka’s five historical Hindu temples dedicated to Shiva and established to protect the island from natural disaster. It houses the lingam (Hindu phallic symbol) known as the Swayambhu Lingam. Although it is an ancient place of worship, the current temple dates from 1952. The original structure from 300 AD, which had been built up over the years, was destroyed by the Portuguese. Got ourselves an ice lolly and stood by a section of the cliff that wasn’t obscured by vegetation. Didn’t want to wander too far off the road as it is a military base and we didn’t want to get into trouble… Or worse, executed (little modified HP quote!! Hehe). Walked back towards the beach and put our feet in the ocean before sitting down and watching the locals fly kites and frolic in the water. Heading in land to visit the St. Mary’s Cathedral – a beautiful blue and white building that reminded me of the churches in Cuba. Continued walking until we found St. Nicholas Church. An equally colourful and quant church which was closed but had music blaring out of it. Found a local restaurant for dinner which was recommended by a police officer. Had a massive portion of chicken kottu and egg fried rice for £2 and watched an endless line of locals turn up to buy take away portions. Headed back to the hotel where I rapidly fell asleep, leaving Jayne to look up star constellations on her iPhone.
Thursday 4th February 2016