Sri Lanka is an amazing country, filled with amazing people, which was one of the reasons why we decided to settle down here for a few months. We wanted part of our travel experience to be “more local” and to get the kids into school to learn a bit of the culture and meet some new friends.
We settled at a little beach resort called “Cinnamon Gardens” run by Samantha (pronounced Samata) and his son Janith. It’s about 3 km’s from the busy tourist town, but close enough for us to tuk tuk in when we need groceries, or want to visit one of the posh hotels for a swim.
We enrolled the twins into a Montessori school in Galle Fort, which is a 30 minute bus ride from Hikkaduwa. The school is very basic, but the teachers are amazing and obviously having Kai and Kerala in their school is a bit of a talking point amongst the locals.
We take the kids to school two to three times a week, taking the local bus. Driving in Sri Lanka isn’t exactly normal by western standards, but it’s a fun way to start the day. The route to Galle drives passed some of the best beaches in the world and the return journey costs about R8.00. We didn’t know the exact fare to start with (they wont tell you) , so started at R20 return; gradually reducing the amount each time we travelled, eventually getting to the sweet spot!
The kids got into the school just in time for their annual sports day, which started with a fancy dress pageant. Luckily we travel with Princess and Superman attire in our backpacks!
I’m proud to say that Kai placed 1st and 2nd in his races and Kerala 2nd and 3rd. Kai also won the musical chairs, which started with 20 kids. It was amazing to see how he whittled down his opposition, finally
destroying just beating the last challenger to take GOLD!
Side note: Nell and myself also won the adults competition which was throwing a balloon filled with water to each other as far as possible. Team Allewell took the most prizes for the day.
One of the beauties of staying in a place for a while allows us to explore things the average tourists don’t see. There are so many things that the Sri Lankan people still do the traditional way by hand, such as making lace and polishing precious stones. One of the big exports are gem stones, with the world’s biggest moonstone mine being in Sri Lanka. Turns out Lady Dianna’s jeweller got the saphire for her engagement ring just down the road.
We’ve slipped into a routine and most days we start the day with a walk on the beach, some breakfast and then a swim at our “local hotel” called Lavanga. We bought a monthly membership at the hotel, which includes the gym, an amazing play centre for the kids, a movie theatre and a beautiful pool on the sea front. The kids still sleep in the afternoon, so we normally head back to our place and then play some afternoon beach cricket and watch the sun go down. It’s a good routine!
We’ve just celebrated our 3rd New Years Eve for the year, having done South Africa, China and now Sri Lanka. We headed to the Chaaya Hotel in Hikkaduwa to join festivities with local dancers, singers and a tug of war competition. I was roped into joining a team, which we named the “Happy Russians”, a play on words, as they are possibly the unhappiest people in the world. I did my best to gee the team up and we walked away with the 1st prize. I must admit, I never thought I would captain a Russian tug of war team, in Sri Lanka, whilst drinking beer – the mind boggles!
And that pretty much sums up life in Sri Lanka. We have one shelf of clothes and live in a small room, but jeez, we’re happy 😉