Got up early and, despite me being painfully slow (apparently!!), we started walking towards the Old bus station, passing our nearby bakery for some more ‘omelette bread’. Walked past the bike rental shops from yesterday and got a friendly wave from the son before arriving at the bus stand. Jayne left me in charge of the bags as she went on the hunt for an ATM that would accept our cards – we were even willing to pay a charge to withdraw money at this point!! Having tried (and been rejected) at half a dozen ATM’s, Jayne finally came across one that worked and took out the maximum amount of cash on both cards which will hopefully be enough until we get back to Colombo. Buying a celebratory Milo (or 4!!), we were told by the bus conductor to jump onto the bus that would take us to Puttalam and wait… And we waited… And waited… Alongside another tourist pair who also were slowly melting on the empty bus! Suddenly, the bus driver got on and the bus filled up almost instantly. Feeling glad that we at least had a seat by a fully open window, the breeze helped cool us down somewhat (as did the Milo’s!!). Took about 2 hours to get to Puttalam where we transferred onto a tiny local bus that would take us to Eluwankulam. Jayne got us water and some shrimp fritters while the whole bus played musical chairs to get in all the shopping, massive bags of rice, our rucksacks and the people. Jayne ended sitting by the dashbaord whilst I was near the door, scaring local children!! The bus slowly emptied as we got further away from Puttalam until we were the only two left on the bus! Got to the end of the line and got a TukTuk to the guesthouse. A little tiny place located near the second entrance of Wilpattu National Park, it was perfect for what we needed although I don’t think either of us could stay more than two nights! After having chatted for about an hour, the owner took us down to the river for a swim. Not entirely convinced that there weren’t crocodiles (despite his reassurance that there weren’t…ish) we swam around looking at all the different species of birds flying overhead. Jayne climbed a tree that was overhanging the river and jumped back in, without injuring herself, although the ruckus attracted the attention of come local children who watched us from the river banks and asking us to swim for them. The children’s family also showed up and, after asking permission, the two older boys jumped in fully clothed, followed quickly by the incredibly drunk uncle. Let’s just say it was a good thing Jayne was there to drag him back to shore as he clearly thought that either he could swim or that we were standing on the river bed!! Decided to head back before we caused anymore trouble(!) and went back to the guesthouse for dinner. Chatted to a Russian couple who were travelling around Sri Lanka on scooters – the girlfriend had ridden a scooter for the first time ever today and they drove 108km… Headed to bed early as we have a 5.45am start tomorrow for our full day safari.
Sunday 7th February 2016