We spent the first night in a small hotel on a busy street near the airport. The next morning after breakfast, we took a tuktuk to the bus station, and then took a bus to Colombo. The bus guy charged us for an extra person because of our luggage, which wasn’t even in a place where a person sits. Oh well… About an hour and we arrived at the train station, to find a train to Bentota. I’m glad my husband was there to take care of that part, cause I didn’t have any idea what line to get in and when I got my ticket, I headed for the nearest train, which was incorrect. I had to run back to catch up to the right train and nearly tripped over my floor length skirt. The photo from my last post with the fans on the ceiling were taken in the first train ride. It was really hot, but I was too fascinated with the views of the little shacks, and the ocean next to the tracks to care too much about the heat. My husband stood in the doorway of the train car the whole time. I preferred the safety of the train walls around me as we moved along at a pretty good rate of speed sometimes. There were sections of the tracks that were being built along the way, but were being used by the locals as a place to dry their laundry. I thought it was a pretty cool idea, as it was in the sun and it looked clean.
There was a tuktuk driver at the station in Bentota who “had a friend with a place where we could stay” so we went with him down these roadways that didn’t hold any promise to me as a place to stay, so we declined and had him take us somewhere else. We ended up at a place directly on the beach called Warahena. It was beautiful and rustic in looks. A breeze from the ocean could be felt as soon as you stepped out of your room. Food was served on the beach, weather permitting. and it wasn’t packed. the beach was very quiet and perfect for walking by yourself. The waves on the other hand looked way too dangerous for me. So I stayed out of the ocean. In fact there was a guy at the hotel who thought I was going to swim one day, and he warned me not to. I think the only down side to this place was the food. It just wasn’t great. My husband wanted good grilled (on an open flame) meat, and they just didn’t do that there. We ordered a side of bacon one morning with out breakfast and were quite shocked at the fact that it wasn’t edible. It might have been a couple months old…who knows. It was gross. After a couple nights here we headed back to the train station for yet another destination further south.
Next up we went to a beach town called Unawatuna. Cool place, with a laid back vibe. Keep in mind we were there during the slow season. We had booked a place online for a couple nights. This was to ease my travel stress more than anything, as I am the one in the relationship that likes a destination more so than my husband, who is more of an explorer. The place had a super relaxing atmosphere, and was under 20 US dollars a night. That got us a small bungalow with a tiny bathroom and a queen sized bed under mosquito netting, open windows for fresh air, and an overhead fan. Please note that mosquito netting doesn’t mean you will not get bit during the night. That night as we both laid in the sweltering heat. As I lay on my back with my arms placed on my sides, not touching the rest of my body because it was too hot for that, I thought to myself… “I wonder which one of us will cave first” And in my version of the story it was my husband who stated the next morning that we needed to find a place with air conditioning ASAP. He also may have added that he would probably use my pregnancy, and needing more comfortable air as a reason for backing out of our reservation. I was okay with it. I really was. I will add that in all the places stayed while on the trip, it was probably the most charming of them all.
The nice thing about Unawatuna was that it seemed to be one main street with hotels, and restaurants all along the way, so taking a walk down the street and asking about prices got us our next place to sleep. We welcomed the break from the heat! In fact I believe I slept with a sweatshirt on the first two nights because the air conditioning was so cold to me
We were also bombarded with locals selling things along the beach. They didn’t always take no as final. They would insist on showing you what they had in hopes you would crack and buy (in this case, gorgeous fabrics). I stayed strong and didn’t give in to this lady. Her bags were so packed and she was on the beach everyday!
I was craving ice cream one day as my husband took a nap, so I walked down the street a bit and found this hotel that looked promising for a mid afternoon snack. I ordered a banana split. It was literally the tiniest thing ever. The photo doesn’t show it, even though I placed the spoon in the dish as reference, but that didn’t work since the spoon was a baby sized spoon! It was darling, delicious, and I paid too much money for it.
I’ll upload more photos off of my phone for another post soon.
We got back home to Saudi last week after our vacation to Sri Lanka. Almost three weeks away from home can really make you miss the place. Even if it is the desert! We had only been home for a few months since our last trip. But since I have an expanding waist line, and in a few months, will have an extra human to carry with us, we took advantage of the opportunity to travel now while I was still able to enjoy it.
When we left, Saudi we had a connecting flight in Doha, Qatar. There a woman noticed I was pregnant and needed to know how far along I was. I guess they have a rule that you need a Dr’s note from your own Dr and the Dr at the Doha airport if you are 28 weeks along. My husband was hoping for some special treatment I think from the airline. They did let us board with the first group of passengers. I personally would rather have hid it, to avoid any special treatment. On our flight home, our seats were in the emergency row. And once again, the belly gave it away and I was told that I couldn’t sit there because they needed “able bodies” in the event of an emergency. It worked out to our favor this time, as they moved us to the center row of four seats. We had it all to ourselves! Plenty of room for activities!
Once on land in Sri Lanka, the mode of transportation became tuktuk, bus, and train for the most part. Tuktuks are cheap to use. It basically is a little scooter with two wheels in the back and a partially enclosed space for two or three to fit snuggly inside. In my experience, most of the tuktuk drivers will wait till the last second to brake and stop within inches of another vehicle. So there may have been many little heart attacks had by me. And there will be those drivers who will try to charge too much. Sometimes, you pay too much because you just don’t have any fight left, and need to get to point B. And then there are those younger drivers who have decked out their tuktuk with blue neon lights and a stereo system in the back!
The trains were such an experience. Crammed with people. Sometimes there was only standing room available. Not always a very clean way to travel, especially if you have a small baby pressing on your bladder forcing you to use the toilet on the train. But once again it was a super cheap way to travel. I read that the rail system carries 3 million passengers daily in Sri Lanka. People watching is such a fun thing to do on the trains, along with the ever changing views out the windows. The windows thankfully, can be opened, to allow fresh air. And if you stick your head out the window you will find that you are not alone in sticking body parts or cameras out the windows along any of the rides. That is something that would never happen in the U.S. There were signs in a few of the trains that had a “reserved for pregnant mothers” sign at one of the seats. But I never needed to use that particular seat, as those trains weren’t completely full of passengers. I could sit were I wanted. One time, I even sat across from a monk and then realized afterward that it was reserved for monks. No one told me to move. So I stayed.
The buses were also a cheap way to travel and even more packed than the trains. Like bodies smashed against each other packed. I was smashed in one time, standing room only and directly in front of this man who sat in the “reserved for pregnant mothers seat” for twenty minutes he saw me standing there and didn’t offer me his seat. I wasn’t really upset about it. And a kind lady eventually motioned me to her seat as she got off the bus. Believe it or not, most times when a person offered me their seat, it was another woman. Just an observation I had.
When traveling in other countries like this, I always felt a bit of worry about when I was supposed to get off the train or bus. After all, I know the name of the town, but have to other landmarks or indication of when to get off (“get down” as they would say in Sri Lanka). Somehow it always worked out though. Either a store sign would give me an indication that I was in the right town, or the buss would actually stop at a large bus stop and that was the indication that it was the end of the line. Sometimes, a nearby passenger would kindly tell you when to get down, if they understood your request for help.
Both the buses and the trains would have vendors who would get on board at stops to sell little bags of peanuts, mango slices, popcorn, some other food items that I didn’t want to try, even whole ears of cooked corn. I usually had my trusty snack of Ritz crackers to satisfy my hunger while traveling long distance. One lady gave me a cup of yogurt also.
I think I will try to break up the Sri Lanka adventures into a few posts, so its not one incredibly long read. So be on the lookout for the next one.
- I’m pregnant.
- Even if I never had morning sickness, I wasn’t exactly a happy pregnant woman for a few months.
- Nothing is really ever as you expect it to be.
- Hospital standards can really vary. I knew this, just hadn’t experienced it like I have here. I’m thankful for the option of having more than just one to choose from.
- My last visit to the States in June didn’t feel like a vacation. And the idea of doing that particular trip again, will take some re-thinking/planning.
- No matter how long I have been gone from the States, my arrival back will never be met with the excitement that I expected. (Nothing is really how you expect it to be)
- My husband has been fantastic over the past five months.
- I have cried so many tears (I’m pregnant)
- I’m actually not as outgoing as I thought I was.
- After 38 years, I kinda feel like an introvert.
- I still love cooking! (The first trimester made me hate it, and the smells of it)
- The second trimester is SO much better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- I’ve felt more at ease living here in the past month, than I have in the past ten months. I guess that’s progress.
- I still miss my freedom though.
- I’ve never in my live lived through such a hot summer. It’s not quite over yet.
- I’m really not great at keeping in touch with people like I should.
- My husband and I get one more trip together before the baby comes. Some would call that a babymoon. But for the record, this won’t be about the baby at all. 🙂 Sri Lanka has been a dream destination for me for many years now.
- I should probably finish unpacking from my last trip, since we leave next week.
- Naming another human being feels like a huge responsibility.
- I’ve felt so lost without my laptop lately. It crashed a month ago. I miss the digital design work.
- I’m a much happier pregnant woman these days.
I miss American pizza. -wifeabroad
I like the fact that even though there are many days of routine here, I also get to experience new things from time to time. Routine can sometimes be categorized as “I can feel the hair on my head growing, I’m that bored!” Routine can also be a comfort at times. It is however, very refreshing to discover that it isn’t always just sand and malls here. For example, my husband and I went up to a compound this past weekend. It was a whole new world. A HUGE city of expats, living in this area with western looking houses, little yards, a movie theater, parks, a golf course with the greenest grass I have seen in a long time.
And we had Mexican food. It was American/Mexican. But I was happy with it! We hung out at his friend’s place there in the afternoon and just sort of rested from our drive. We watched “North by Northwest”. I hadn’t seen that movie since I was a kid. It was the first time my husband had ever seen it. Watched a couple other classic movies and then in the evening we went to a dinner and dance party event. Country themed, with the table napkins folded like boots.
There was a group of people there doing dance performances, as well as a few dance lessons for the guests. Line dancing and two step, with lots of people participating. It was a really fun environment! It also made me realize that I could totally live on a compound if we had the opportunity.
Everyone was super nice and while we had to cut the evening short, we had a great time. We had a good weekend all together. Did some new things, had a little relaxation, and enjoyed some great food.
These things keep me going, along with my ever loving husband -wifeabroad
Summer time is drawing near… Our vacation this summer will be a trip to the States. We already have our flights booked. Now to just wait it out till it gets here…I’m super excited to have some new adventures this summer. Things I haven’t ever done, like ride the Amtrack train to NY. Hang out in NY (I’ve been to upstate area, but not the city). Oh and it may seem like a small thing, but 4th of July is one of my holidays. Since meeting my husband, we have always been in separate countries on the 4th. This time we get to watch fireworks together. (I smiled even as I typed this, it really makes me happy)
In a not so far off date, I will be packing for our trip…I’m already thinking about the things I will take with me to the States. Like sentimental stuff… the kinds of things that my husband doesn’t get. Even things that I have made. This kitschy oud burner that I turned into a pincushion…I think it’s cool, so I want to keep it. He and I are so different in this. He said to me the other night, “…you can’t take the stuff with you when you’re dead.” At which I replied, “I know, but I’m still alive, so why should I live in an empty box?” I like to have “things” while he finds it to be a burden. He likes the ability to just get up and leave, without baggage. I have however come a long way from a fully furnished home back in the States, to five Totes of belongings being stored in my mother in laws basement.
Since I’ve been here, I have made 4-6 quilt tops. And I don’t plan to just leave them behind. I like them and I plan to complete them at some point. And for me it makes more sense to take them back to the States for future completion, rather than finish here (less bulk in the luggage). And there are a few other smaller sentimental items, and maybe a few pieces of clothes that I like, that will come in handy later on to have. I happen to have the mind set of…”why give it away and then turn around and have to buy it again?” I know I can’t take everything with me whenever I go, but one thing is for sure… I will take some of it. It is just the way it is. I thought that maybe that particular way about me might change by living over here, and wanting to live yet in other places. But to be completely honest, it has (maybe) gotten a bit worse since being here. Not that I have more than I did before, because that’s not the case. It’s just that I think I want certain securities even more so than I did before. Maybe the insecure feeling that I get about this particular place is the reason I feel like I need it more. Who knows…Maybe it’s my age. And yet, it’s also just a part of who I am, and I’m okay with that!
I do need to think more on this topic though, because the next place we live will once again require certain “things” in order for me to feel settled, secure, comfortable… I’m not really sure how to rank what is important and what is not. I’m talking stuff like appliances, furniture, you know…?
I would love some input from my readers on this as well…Do you have things in life that you must have, what are they? Why do you feel like these things are important? Do you have a spouse that thinks so incredibly different from the way that you think? I always welcome a good laughable story! And if you are a nomad so to speak, how do you deal with things?
Some “things” are just great memories…This place has definitely provided me with that. -wifeabroad
I can hardly believe it’s already May! Sometimes the time here just drags out…but at the same time it goes by pretty quick.
You know how you can hear a song on the radio and it’s stuck in your head all day? Or you see a Facebook post with a one liner of some lyric, and bam! Stuck in your head for a week? Even a photo can induce a catchy tune to be repeated in my mind for some time.
Living directly next door to a mosque can have a positive side, it’s like an alarm clock. I know five times a day, what time it is, without looking at a clock. The huge downside for me is that the sound (which is usually like a song) gets stuck in my head every day. I have to fight it, and the best way for me to do that is to sing to myself. Any song will do, most times it’s a pop song of sorts. So for that, I would like to thank Katy Perry. “I got the eye of the tiger…your gonna hear me roar.”
Are you singing now? You’re welcome!