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April 23rd is celebrated in the UK as St. George’s Day, celebrating the Christian saint who defeated a dragon to save a princess from human sacrifice. Yes, Roman soldiers who would someday become Christain saints did things like that back then around 300 AD. You don’t see so much of that anymore.

But things did not go well for the soon to be St. George. When he refused to persecute Christians in 303 AD he was tortured and killed in what is now Palestine. They still do that today in what is now known as Palestine. Not kill Christians so much, more torture and kill people. You can find out more here or here . What all this has to do with us is today’s post.

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One of the reasons for the route passing through Kitulgala was that this small town on the river has a number of “adventure” attractions like river rafting and ziplines. Before we leave, some of us have signed up for both the zipline and the river raft. Others, me included, have only signed on for the zipline.

“goin’ down to the river…”

The “fixer” who seems to have contacts with everyone in this small town, has arranged for a truck to take us to the start of the zipline. It turns out to be just a few hundred meters up the road and we could have walked but with “cat herding” in mind, the fixer probably thought it would be more efficient to load these Brits who had nearly drunk to town out of beer the night before into a truck to get them to the start of the zipline in real time.

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Clemo had a bit of a time finding us a hotel in Rakwana. There aren’t a lot there and none of the ones that was able to contact had enough rooms or beds for the entire group. The best he could do was a place called the Sanctuary which is a lovely place but didn’t have enough beds so some of us ended up sleeping on mattresses placed on the floor. Whatever.

It isn’t as though we’ve been sleeping on feather beds on this trip anyway. The truly important questions were satisfied, though. Plenty of beer. A pool. Plenty of beer. And petrol for us delivered to the hotel. It turns out that the hotel owner also owns the petrol station I stopped at in town. And I can attest that sleeping on the on the mattress on the floor was just fine, thank you.

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On the road back up the way we came in. At the round about take a left and head for the mountains. Paul F has a nice route laid out over some nice quite, narrow twisty bits. Clemo has a stop at a snake farm planned. This should be interesting.

A couple of missed turns. Down some very narrow concrete paved lanes. Looks more like some rural parts of Vietnam or Laos. To say that the locals are surprised to see us is a bit of an understatement. Apparently we are not on the usual tourist route. But we eventually all meet up on the side of the road at the bottom of a steep gravel drive. Clemo says we are at the snake farm. Looks like a small hamlet of SL families to me.

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A rest day. Breakfast on the beach. Some swimming in the surf. A few beers. Pizza for lunch at the Italian cafe. (It is worth coming to Marissa just for their pizza crust. FAB!) The afternoon much like the morning.

Marissa, Sri Lanka

We head up the beach for another fish dinner. This time I order calamari which very unexpectedly turns out to be horrible. Make do with beer and a plate of fries for dinner. Stewie had the same and he agreed that there was something seriously amiss with the calamari. Of well, the first bad meal of the trip.

While dinner is going on, Stewie sees a sea turtle coming ashore to nest. There are several types of sea turtles that nest on the Sri Lankan coast, olive ridley, green, leatherback, loggerhead and hawksbill. This poor confused turtle looks like a green turtle and a smallish one at that.

Unfortunately, the beach crowd comes down to get the required photo and promptly terrifies the turtle back in to surf. Just as the turtle is leaving, some of the restaurant staff hustles the tourists away to give the turtle a way to escape. Hopefully she’ll find a more quiet spot to lay her eggs.

Then, back to the hotel for the night. Tomorrow, on the road again and back inland.


There was an offer for another “safari” into the nearby national park but those of us who did yesterday’s “safari” passed on this one. A few of the remaining lunatics did go and the verdict was that this one was pretty much the same as the previous one. They returned. We had already had breakfast. Loaded the tuktuks. Formed up the convoy and headed for Marissa.

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We’re headed down to the beach again, on the south coast. But before we leave, we’re doing a “safari” ride through the nearby national park. The park is known for it’s wide diversity of wildlife including wild elephants.

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Breakfast and then load up the tuktuks and head back down to the low land. The cooler air up in the mountains was a pleasant respite from the heat and humidity of the coast but it’s now time to head back down the mountain.

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There has been a running joke for this trip: John Boy’s birthday. It’s not that his birthday is a joke, rather, we are all giving him “birthday presents” the he has to carry in his tuktuk for the entire trip, The “presents” should also enhanced the trip’s WTF factor. Paul F has found a stuffed doll of the toddler aged girl that has been mounted on his broom mast. I found a baby’s plastic seat with an attached table which I zip-tied to the road side of his tuktuk. The tuktuk is looking quite silly as it moves down the road though his WFT factor is rivaled by some of the other blinged-out tuktuks.

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The arrival yesterday involved bringing the bag to the room, changing into bathing suit and heading for the beach. Half the mob had already been in the water and retreated into the shaded area for beers. Late to the party, I headed into the water to cool off and just ride the swells in peace and quiet.

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