20.02.2012 - 24.02.2012 30 °C
Day 143: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 20/02/2012
Awake at half five to a mysterious knock at the door. Some local guy is looking for the weird Australian guys staying here. Out on the side of the road before 6am, and on the bus for ten past. Meet a guy from Wakefield on his way to Colombo to meet his girlfriend from the airport. Change at Monoragalam for the Colombo bus. On the way to Colombo we pass a National Park, where we see about twenty elephants! A very hot, busy, sweaty journey is made all the better by a local guy telling us about the much quicker, easier route we should have taken to reach our destination.
Change at Colombo for the journey along the coast, which given the length of the day seems to take forever! Twelve hours after leaving, we arrive back in Hikkaduwa, find a half decent room at a decent price and have an early night. We are not sure we wanted to leave Arugam Bay after all!
Day 144: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 21/02/2012
After a good(ish) night's sleep (the room is VERY hot due to the faulty, pedestrian paced fan and loud because of the noisy main road) we head for breakfast next door before (sigh) heading for another long, arduous day at the beach. Taking care in the sun (after our last experiences here...) I hire a surfboard for the day and take to the ocean waves, man. My previous two days' experience stand me in good stead and I catch a few waves, managing to stand up and ride to the beach a few times.
We have lunch at a Starbucks rip off called Starbeans, where all the merchandise and cups, plates, etc. has the ripped off Starbucks logo adorned all over it. Gemma has a hot dog and baked beans and a chocolate brownie, which is pretty good. I wait an hour and a half for a 'chicken burger', which I would actually call a 'hot (chicken) ham sandwich'. The guy working there went to school with Malinga and used to play for Hounslow, so he says.
Back in the sea for the afternoon, have dinner at the hotel and an early night.
Day 145: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 21/02/2012
Another hot, sweaty, loud night in the room and go for breakfast again next door. Hire a board and head for the sea. Catch a couple of waves and decide to step up to the better waves near the big boys that can actually surf. Turns out to be a good move, as the better waves are bigger and quicker and I find it easier to hone my skills. I still crash and burn numerous times but also catch a few waves in quick succession. A turtle comes and swims right under the board.
Another tough afternoon spent at the beach. We go for dinner next door where they also show a film at half seven, but the food is average and the volume too low, so we go for a walk along the beach instead, where we piss about for a bit.
Day 146: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 22/02/2012
Our third sticky, noisy night in the room. Of course another day at the beach for us - hire a board, surf for a few hours and find the whole experience more frustrating than golf even, at times feeling I have really nailed the tekkers, at other times feeling like I am getting nowhere with the whole thing. Find the hardest thing of all paddling back out when there is a set of waves coming in - keep getting knocked backwards despite learning to dive under the waves and take pretty much ten minutes longer than every other surfer to get back out to the break point. See a huge green/blue fish under the board and two turtles. Gemma meanwhile is having a torrid time lying in the sun reading her book.
A quiet night, head to the cashpoint and pop our heads round the door of a tattoo studio...
Day 147: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 23/02/2012
Last day on the beach for this leg of the journey. Cue sad faces all round. A crap fan and nearby party has resulted in a poor night's sleep but this is rectified by yet another breakfast next door. We hire a surfboard again and I take Gemma for a lesson (being the surf pro I am). This, perhaps predictably, does not go particularly well - Gemma is not overly fond of being thrashed around by the waves, I am no Mister Myagi on the teaching front.
Gemma goes and does what she does best on the beach, leaving me to have a good morning's surfing. I am a lot more confident and catch some good waves. However, I still struggle a bit with the whole paddling out thing...Spend the afternoon in the sea after lunch and as it gets later and later, I search for the elusive 'one more wave', which does not come. Oh well, learning to surf has been fun and should see us in good stead for some of the other surfer spots we plan on visiting.
The rest of the evening sees us doing something that could see me grounded for life, as we go for a tattoo...