We checked out of Heritage Lake View, our guesthouse in Anuradhapura, around 7 am to catch the 7:50 bus to Trincomalee.
Sarath, the guesthouse owner, sent us off with a little care package of Sri Lankan snacks— some samosa, spring rolls, and rice & coconut treats.
Once we got to the bus station, we were told the bus would arrive in a few minutes. I walked across the street to a bakery and asked for a coffee. It came piping hot in a tiny plastic cup, wrapped in a plastic bag. There was no lid, so I suppose the plastic bag was supposed to make up for that.
The bus came soon after that, and we were the first ones on. I was worried that the bus would be crazy crowded and that we wouldn’t be able to get seats, so I was happy to see such an empty bus.
However, I guess we really were lucky because by the time we left, there were several people standing.
We saw a pretty wide variety of animals on the ride— pelicans, peacocks, horses, and goats!
About 2 hours in, we stopped at a restaurant for a break.
I needed to pee so I got off. I went to the back of the restaurant where there were a couple people smoking. I walked a bit farther and saw some people zipping up their pants, so I assumed I was near the toilet. I looked around for something resembling a bathroom, but I couldn’t find one. One guy saw me looking around and pointed at the area next to me. It was a small, empty space with a wall on each side. I saw no toilet. I pointed at it, asking, “There?”
He nodded his head.
So I suppose I was to just pee in this little “toilet.”
I entered the area. It wreaked of pee. It was too late to turn back now, so I squatted and peed. On the concrete floor. Surrounded by flies.
This was honestly one of the grossest moments of my life. I’d never peed on a ground like that before. Sure, I’d peed in the forest, jungle, even the side of the road plenty of times before, but never just a flat floor.
I just did not understand the concept of this “toilet.” They could have at least dug a hole in the ground.
When we arrived in Trincomalee, we went to retrieve our food from the top rack of the bus. That’s when we realized that someone had stolen our watermelon. Ugh! I was really looking forward to eating some fresh watermelon, so I was really upset. I mean, who steals a watermelon??!
We had to take a tuk-tuk to our guesthouse, Pranu House, which was located in a beach town called Nilaveli about 16 kilometers away from downtown Trincomalee.
Once we arrived, the guesthouse owner gave us orange juice. We drank that with our leftover breakfast snacks and rambutan that I bought at the market in Anuradhapura the night before.
We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the beach.
There were a bunch of cows on the beach, which I found pretty funny. But they all had the initials of their owners inscribed/scarred onto them, which was really sad and gross. Why is that necessary? Just give them tags. Or bells.
We swam around for a while and then went back to shore to lay out on our towels and relax.
Before we had even gotten our bodies on the towels, a Sri Lankan guy asked Adrian for a selfie. Adrian complied, and then asked him if he was from Trincomalee.
The Sri Lankan guy told him that he’s actually from the south, and that he couldn’t come to the north until the civil war ended 8 years ago. I didn’t even know there was a civil war 8 years ago.
The Sri Lankan insisted on adding Adrian on FB, and then kept reminding Adrian to remember to accept his friend request.
He even asked Adrian for his personal phone number.
Why?? Does he plan on having long text or phone conversations? I just can’t imagine why a complete stranger would need his phone number.
During this whole interaction, I was pretty much ignored. At one point, he looked over at me and asked Adrian if I was his girlfriend.
Adrian replied, “Yes,” and then the Sri Lankan looked at me and said, “Congratulations.”
A few minutes later, a guy who looked homeless came over and started talking to Adrian. He had dreads and spoke really good English. He was trying to sell a snorkeling tour to us.
His name was Yogi, and he explained to Adrian how he can’t get normal business because the area is controlled by other guys with more money who get angry when he steals their business.
He told Adrian he had just bought a tuk-tuk but doesn’t have money for food or shelter so he just sleeps on the beach every night. He also talked about the civil war for a bit. It’s crazy how prominent the war is in Sri Lankans’ lives, but we (in Western society) know nothing about it. Like, I didn’t even know of the existence of the war until coming here.
Yogi talked to Adrian for about an hour. I felt bad for not helping Adrian get out of it, but I wasn’t sure what I could have done in that situation since I wasn’t invited into the conversation at all. So I just read my book and eavesdropped on their conversation every now and then.
Around 5, Adrian, who was still talking with Yogi, asked me if I was hungry. He was clearly asking me as a way to leave.
I told him yes, and we headed home.
Around 6:30, we walked down the street to Nilaa, a restaurant just a few steps away from the guesthouse.
The employees there were really friendly, immediately greeting us with big smiles and asking us where we’re from.
We sat down and pondered our orders. I ended up getting vegetable kottu; Adrian got vegetable curry and rice.
The kottu was really different from the one I had in Colombo— the bread in this one was more finely shredded. I loved it.
When we were finished eating, the Spain vs. Russia game was starting in 15 minutes so we decided to stay a bit longer and watch it.
We ordered banana & chocolate roti for dessert. It probably/definitely was not vegan. Oops.
We stayed until halftime and then left to go home. I wanted to watch Netflix since we finally had good Wifi again.
We put on Queer Eye. 30 minutes into the first episode, I started to fall asleep. By 10 pm, I was dead asleep. I really am a grandma.