Sri Lanka Day 2: a wild sheep chase
I woke up from a long and well deserved sleep at 11am. I cuddled muself a little more and finally headed out for brunch. I wanted to walk around the city and headed for Palmyrah hotel.it was bloody expensive, heck, I wouldn’t come here with my parents. I was looking for the cheapest place to dine. I wanted to eat with the locals; eating the staple food of any city was something I was very interested in. I finally found a place called the Malar Restaurant. It was well worth the effort in the sun. Prawn curry served with a huge helping of steamed rice and cold coffee to go with. I made sure I overate, because prawns would be hard to find in smaller towns.
After a short nap, it was time for the bike to be unpacked and reassembled. I tried two bike stores, only to be told to come in the morning. That could not be possible for me. I finally made it to Spinner Cafe, about 11km from the hostel. It was pouring heavily and the traffic had been a victim of the rains. I was reminded of the sticky situation in Gurgaon when roads were flooded and people were stuck for hours. The auto driver and I conversed in broken English and shared a beedi. He had also become my guide for the evening, pointing out all the places a tourist should know about. I was least interested in his field trip, for the bike carton was drenched in water and my plan of riding back to the hostel was looking bleak.
At Spinners, Mithun told me that I’ll have to come in the morning since the technician had left. It had taken me two hours to reach here. Leaving at 4pm had turned out to be bad planning. My autowallah took me back to hostel. It was time to update my blog. The hostel had a Mac which I exploited to no end. While Steppenwolf played in the back, I jotted down all I could remember from the previous night.midway I was joined by Allesio, my roommate. We hadn’t spoken much all day, rather he had been sleeping all day. We shared a Jay by the steps and had a chat. He was 34, a bartender at a beach restaurant and a proud owner of a pug named Banana. Yepp. He was free in the winters so the only option was to travel. Italians really love to speak, so I was asking the questions or bringing up a topic of conversation and then just sit and listen to him talk. I didn’t have a problem with the yapping, if I can call it that. It’s always lovely to meet new people and let them have a go. I usually talk way out of proportion and account for all the silent ones. Here, by the steps, I was the shy silent kid in the classroom.
I wanted to go have dinnner and catch a beer. Allesio joined me and we headed to the Atlantic Pub. It was like Mybar. If not as shady, the pricing and vibe were definitely the same. We seemed to really enjoy it. Travellers usually don’t have too many qualms. The cheapest most cost effective place is always the best option.
We ordered some fried cuttlefish and Lion beer. It tasted nice. Not too harsh on the pallete and a sweet after taste.It was the Kingfisher of Sri Lanka, only better. Post food, we walked to the beach and sat where I had sat last night. A freight train passed behind us. It was a beautiful sight. Five layers of activity around us. A wide main road, railway tracks, rocks, beach and the ocean. And amongst all this sat two nuts having a conversation about why Spanish is a stupid language. Ale was telling me about the vowels are supposed to be one sound. But one of the vowels had two sounds in it, completely beating the purpose of the whole thing. And in Italian, if one could learn to pronounce the alphabet, it would be very easy to speak or read Italian. He made sense, and I had no reason to argue.I asked him if he had ever seen the Giro Ditalia, one of the three Grand Tours in professional biking. He mocked me and laughed hard. A sip of beer and more jabs at cyclists. It was stupid to sit on your couch and watch 5 hours of cycling everyday for three weeks. He had seen the tour pass his hometown. Everyone in his town comes out on the streets and cheer the passing cyclists. I could watch the tour all day everyday. It was pure bliss to watch your idols in action. A sight of the Pyrennes and Alps along the way was a bloody good deal. More recently, the Swiss Alps have become my favourite mountain climbs. It would be unfair to describe the majestic Alps in mere words. I showed Ale the finger and we moved on to lesser important things.
There was a bit of a silence and suddenly Ale started singing.’Today’s gonna be the day, That they’re gonna throw it back to you…’ Back at the bar, we were talking about what music we liked. He loved the technical cords of Dreamtheater. I said I loved British rock to which he replied, ‘Oasis.’ Yepp, Oasis is the best rock band in the history of music. Okay, starting from the 90s. I absolutely love Oasis and made it very clear to Ale that he better not say anything bad about them. When he started singing the lyrics of Wonderwall as we sat on those rocks watching the waves effortlessly crash into the surface, I felt a shiver down my spine. Goosebumps. I would never have imagined sitting at such a spot and singing bloody Wonderwall. Well, there was nothing else I could do.’Back beat, the word is on the street/that the fire in your heart is out…’
I quickly packed my belongings into the pannier and put the rucksack it the hostel store room. Everything was in order and all had been according to plan. Except the bike of course. But i was two beers and a whole fish down. Nothing could bother me right now. Excited about tomorrow, I played Oasis’ Definitely, Maybe and shut my eyes.