20th-22nd June – mini-break to Negumbo

11Aug08

We had a weekend away for our volunteer pal who’s normally stuck in Anurandapura in solitary confinement as the only VSO in the town. Negumbo is the first place I’ve been to which actually feels touristy – there’s loads of little crafty shops, which were nice! The weather wasn’t great, but we did go for a stroll along the beach and see the big sailed boats which this area is renowned for. Negumbo is the beach resort closest to the airport, hence why it’s set up for tourists, and it has some amazing hotels – you’ll probably get offered the chance to spend a night here either at the beginning or the end of your holiday because it’s so easy to get to the airport. We went to check out the nice hotels because one of the vols had their sister coming to stay for a long weekend (from Hong Kong, not the UK obviously) who had offered to pay for the accommodation – lovely! We walked into one of the bedrooms and our jaws literally fell to the floor at what appeared to us as sheer opulence – lovely décor, amazing bathroom which huge bath and huge separate shower, balcony with amazing view etc etc. On reflection, it probably wasn’t that amazing, but compared to our £4 a night place, it was!

In the van on the way back to Colombo we got stopped at a police checkpoint. This isn’t unusual, but usually when they see Westerners in the van they stop asking questions and wave us on. But not this time. The police man asked us in Sinhala if we spoke Sinhala, to which of course we all shook our heads (VSO advice, don’t speak in Sinhala to the police) and then he proceeded to check all our ID and speak to us in Sinhala in a tone which didn’t sound too friendly. When we pulled away one of the vols who speaks better Sinhala than me (which doesn’t take much) said he’d accused us of lying – we should have looked blankly at him when he asked us if we spoke Sinhala… he asked us in Sinhala!

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