Sunday is Tuk Tuk day our driver Sunil kept telling us with a smile on his face every time he got stopped on the road by the police. He was a former policeman and so got out of any tickets or trouble easily. But he just kept chuckling Sunday is Tuk Tuk day. And so on Tuk Tuk Day we made our way up north to Bentota. After spending time on the beach and getting a good long swim for the last time in Unawatuna.
On our way we stopped in a town that is famous for mask making and we visited an amazing mask museum. Amazing only because I love masks and have a small collection of them that is growing with each trip.
Once we arrived in Bentota our jaws dropped at the beautiful hotel we were staying in. It is called the Serindib and was designed by Geoffrey Bawa, a famous architect who designed numerous hotels and homes throughout Sri Lanka.
In Bentota we experienced our first true monsoon rains. The rain was a strong rich downpour. Each rain drop was big and heavy; together the raindrops formed sheets of water that drenched you the minute you stepped into them. It’s funny just the day before I was playing in the ocean and today I am barred entry.
Swimming in the Indian Ocean at this time of year is an experience in of its self. The sea is strong and the waves are big. Near the shore they come at you and hit you with a force or they gently meander towards your feet, depending on how the ocean wants to tease you. But swim further in and the waves carry you so gently and lap around you that is makes you bob up and down, with a feeling of lightness and abandon of being.
For me there were two highlights in Bentota, despite the rain: we visited a turtle hatchery , and the beach we were on. I will start with the later. The beach was a stretch of 6 KM white sand and surf, spotless and pretty much empty of beach goers. We had the beach to our selves most of the time. I walked up and down numerous times. At night I would stand and look out at the dark ocean and I must say it was so seductive. The waves kept whispering come in, come in. It took all my will power not to walk in, because I knew I would just keep walking and let the current take me. It was that seductive.
The turtle hatchery was a fun experience, we held day old babies in our hands and played with 5 year old and 10 years. It was also very educational as we learned about the 5 species of turtles in Sri Lanka and how long they live and about their lives. We were also invited to come back the next evening to release the new babies into the ocean. In Buddhism they believe that if you let something free, release it, it will bring you good luck for the rest of its life. So a turtle will bring you good luck if it lives out its life for at least 150 years. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay to release a the babies as we had to travel on.
With Bentota being our last stop we clambered on to the bus to Colombo and made our way back to the capital where this odyssey all started. This country has made me feel very insignificant and very privileged at the same time. I know that it has changed me and invigorated my soul. It was an exploration of a new place as well as a journey into my self. I have realized much about who I am and the world around me. I only hope I can continue to grow with more experiences like these.