Ngombo to Gelioya!
We had a pretty interesting day going from Negombo to Gelioya.
It started with a bit of drama over which train station to go to and what car we needed for a surfboard. I think it was a classic case of our host being too kind? Or perhaps she saved us? Basically we were going to go to a station nearby in a tuk tuk (three wheeler as the locals call them). She convinced us catching the train from a later station might mean we had no seats and it would be harder to buy a ticket. She also got a big minivan for us instead of a cheaper tiny car. We went into Colombo, probably the most chaotic Sri Lanka gets. Kind of exciting. Heaps going on – really hot!
We had accepted we were going to miss the 10:30am train and would get the 12.30pm one. We got there almost bang on 10:30. The train was at the station so we hustled and got to the counter to buy a ticket. We got the tickets and asked if we could hop on, he was super relaxed and said ‘yes, yes, but do you really want to go there – there’s no surf’ He was holding our tickets during all of this. Finally he accepted we knew what we were doing and we ran on to the train just in time!
The trip was super great, not many people on the train and a lot of friendly locals. When we got to Perendinya there was another surfboard drama. The tuk tuk driver wasn’t keen on having the board across the back as it sticks out a bit. So a mad dash went on for the piece of string to use as tie downs, which ended up being literally a couple of pieces of copper wire from the inside of a standard electrical cable. I can’t believe the board didn’t come off.
The place in Gelioya was pretty special. The room very basic with rock hard beds but it was more than made up with by the warmth of the people and beauty of the section. Our host was a Sri Lankan who had spent most of his life in Finland. I gather he had made a decent amount of money working as an Anthropologist and basically ‘retired’ to Sri Lanka. He had between 5-10 people working for him getting the organic garden going. He has built the property piece by piece from his imagination and it had a real charm. With a sauna, a treehouse library with large deck to drink beer and look out over the rice paddies, a lovely green house kitchen and a couple of Finnish cottages for accommodation…AND Sri Lankas only clay tennis court, which he made and maintains himself by grinding up roof tiles into dust and compressing onto the court. He introduced us to star fruit (tastes like a nashi) and taught us about lots of the plants. It was also the most delicious food we’ve had here, with a massive feast of curries and rice and salad and fruit (all from the garden) and ice-cream (happy Cairo) and breakfast homemade toast with tzatzuki and guacamole and tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden and a packed lunch for the train (total cost $27.50). He was incredibly welcoming and let us us any part of his house we choose to. He had an amazing back deck so we had a beer together looking at a busy woodpecker.
We are off to Ella soon. A 6 hour train ride which could prove too much. But it’s supposed to be stunning.