Tales from Serendib #4 – The half way point

In this archival series, we reach the half way point of two month stay in Serendib…

A number of events have heralded the arrival of my halfway point. Firstly, I have started receiving free tuk tuk lifts (even if they are from Gino!) and I now have my own tab at the local and only Italian restaurant (5 visits in 3 weeks!). Running around like Mogali, with no shoes is becoming more familiar and knowing the names of the beach boys on the front from Calamari to Simba is a sure sign of ‘local-dom’.

Anyway, my intense Yoga week has certainly paid off as I am now able bend my hips into all sorts of shapes. But by Friday having completed 10 consecutive lessons, 30 hours and 6.30am starts, I was pleased to finish my last downward dog on Friday evening. Yet yoga at the Dutch House Hotel, a posh relic of Dutch colonialism, has certainly introduced me to a new echelon of Galle society.

Now enters Henri, the manager of the Dutch House and her adoptive 19 year old nephew Harrison. Henri is scarily a vision of my future self. The ASL office is in the basement of her house (which we spent last Friday painting a lovely shade of lavender) and opens up onto the grounds of the Dutch House. Painted hot pink, her walls (similarly to mine) are crammed with the photos, presents and souvenirs of her life – it’s a shrine to everything she loves. I cannot describe the energy this women embodies, but she is probably the most eccentric person I have ever had the pleasure of sipping a Gin & Tonic with! (I shall deal with Harrison in due course!)

Friday night, saw the usual gaggle heading down to the Happy Banana after dinner at the ridiculously gorgeous Luka & Francesca’s, two Milanese’s working for a UN Project. I shall never again complain about the sticky Uni LCR club, after a foot long centipede crawled across the dance floor.  The shock was soon smoothed away Saturday afternoon, as I slowly melted in a steam herbal bath at the Sanctuary Spa with the waves in the background.

At One Love, before ending up at Happy Banana...
At One Love, before ending up at Happy Banana…

Sunday is becoming the traditional day for my adventures with my infallible driver, Gino. This week a trip to the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum, where Gino now on his tenth visit, seemed perfectly content to translate every Sinhalese sign for my benefit. Based at the birth place of a Sri Lankan writer, I can only akin the experience to browsing round Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Finally, before I conclude I should dedicate a few lines to Harrison. From Richmond London, it was a slight breath of fresh air meeting someone a) my own age and b) being white middle class! After he and Erin, a Reiki masseuse from yoga headed down to Kingfishers Saturday night, we swapped talk about Shakespeare, Opera and Class Civ A-levels. I’m hoping to convince him to go travelling with me for a bit!

I have been trying to organise a bit of tour round the Hill country of Sri Lanka with varying degrees of success. It’s been a toss up between attempting the really cheap public transport by myself or having the more expensive convenience of a driver & car (who said colonialism was dead?). Gino’s answer – £75 plus fuel in the Tuk-tuk. It would be like driving to the Outer Hebrides in the Only Fools ‘n’ Horse’s three-wheeler van but with no doors! A somewhat crazy, suicidal but brilliantly adventurous proposition – one I am soooo tempted to take up!

At this point I shall wrap up, before I bore you all with idol Sri Lankan gossip. Just to say this coming weekend is set to be shaping up in a similar vain as I head to the Sun House hotel (the Dutch’s sister) for a Jazz Brunch with other members (Harrison & Henri included) of Sri Lankan high society.  I have always wanted to be posh totty!



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