Earthen in paradise
The feeling: when in a cartoon the character is swung a long way with a catapult, lands on its behind and bounces a couple of times, before coming to a stop and looking around confused and in wonder. We 'bounced' in Galle and Tissamaharana and now finally arrived at the place where we will just be for a while. The weird thing about embarking a journey like this, is the surrealness that surrounds every practical step you take. You have a dream, you decide to go for it, and the next months you're busy eliminating all these practical matters (like getting approval from the school attendance officer, getting subject material from school for our oldest two sons, getting unpaid leave from work, subletting our house, getting dozens of vaccinations, finding a place to store our car, arranging the proper insurance, buying a lot of malariapills, paying the dentist a visit, etc.). You'd almost forget what the purpose of all of these actions is: going on an adventure with our family on one of the most pleasant, breathtaking and easy-does-it continents on earth. So now we are here and we will take our time and acclimatize, we will earthen in this little piece of heaven on earth called Beach Hut (the name says it all, doesn't it?).
To be honest, this feeling didn't come easy to us here. We had so been looking forward to our stay in Arugambay, it's the only place I really pictured in my mind before we embarked this journey. It was supposed to be a place to get settled for a while, to get used to doing as little as possible (except maybe some surfing and writing), so we could get into a good rhythm, which would be healthy for us all and the boys would be able to catch up on their schoolwork. I thought I knew better than to have expectations (because only then you can get disappointed), apparentely this one slipped through. When after an exhausting trip with public busses, we arrived in this hip town with more tourists on the street than local people, something felt off. When we walked into the patio of Beach Hut, we just weren't ready to get into this atmosphere yet. Although everything was as lovely as it could be, with the whole surferdude-thing going strong and the wooden ornaments and colourful flags and what not. It didn't help that the price for a supersmall cabana was three times the price mentioned in Lonely Planet and blogs (after bargaining). Of course we wanted to give it a try real bad, so as cheerful as we could we took the cabana and hit the beach, where the surf is so heavy that swimming is out of the question (you come here to surf, not to swim, so that's on us too). With a stray dog barfing in front of our hut, no shower or toilet in the hut and really dirty beds (it really means something when I call something 'dirty', everyone who knows me will vouch for that) and with matrasses about 2 cm thick, we were starting to frown at each other. When night fell, and giant rats entered our hut, we have to admit we thought: we're too old for this sh*t. And the boys are too young for it. But hitting the road straight away again, wouldn't be fair to the boys, so we decided to sleep on it, a nights rest is always usefull to gain some perspective. And indeed, the next day felt different already, in the restaurant they played good music, the food wasn't expensive, the boys loved their tiny 'attick' in the hut and there's an area full of trees, hammocks and wooden canoes, where they can play without the ever watchful eyes of their parents - very important! We re-named the rats, they are now called exotic rodent. When we discovered 'Babypoint' (for learner surfers) was a beach-walk away, we finally let ourselves get swepped over by this chill vibe. Ever since the 'just-hanging-around' is getting easier and easier, and besides schoolwork, eating our meals and playing in the ocean, there's not much going on, which is fantastic. Of course I rented a surfboard one morning and gave it a go, which was fun, but first I need to rest some more and work on my stamina and strengthen my muscles! How I'm going to achieve that, whilst doing nothing, is something I still have to figure out ;-)