Our first few days in Sri Lanka have been a frenzy of activity and drama and making memories contrasted with a way too prolonged draught of sleep.
Net result, one exhausted Wanderlust Junkie.
So. Arrival at coast, near Matara for much needed R&R.
Hence no time to write any more.
I need to rest, relax, restore, recoup, reboot.
To simply read and drink champagne and enjoy the sea and sun and Lester’s cooking.
(On that note, we bought some delicious pink Piper Heidsieck, which has a deeper, darker hue than most rosé champagnes with a more robust flavour to match and makes the perfect sundowner aperitif. And Paul Auster’s 4321 is I think one of the best books I have ever read. Lester’s cooking needs a whole blog to itself to do it justice!)
Over to Nigel to do the work.
‘3 Sisters’. No, that isn’t a new name for the blog. No, Maroulla, Lau and I haven’t formed a touring cabaret troupe. And nor are we up to something involving Chekhov. It’s the name of the house we’re spending 4 nights in on the outskirts of Matara on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. A house we have blissfully all to ourselves.
Think “What time would you like dinner this evening?” Think the jacuzzi function in the pool seeming to activate automatically the moment you dab a toe in the water (actually the gardener somehow senses you’re there and discreetly flicks a switch). Think hats and towels and specs and Kindles littered about the place – our home for four days. Think Lester, the manager/factotum, somehow intuiting you’ve just emerged from your night’s sleep and conjuring up coffee and tea in a matter of minutes.
Think an arcade of interlocking, tilting palm trees to one side of the house and the constant gush of the sea just a few metres away.
Think sitting, sometimes in in-depth, getting-to-know-more-about-you conversation, sometimes comparing the merits of the different duty-free champagnes we carted from London and Dubai.
Oh, how it’s serving its purpose. A week ago I was up to my proverbial eyeballs in work and various other tasks. The goal of this trip was to escape responsibility and – what’s the word now? – oh yes – relax. And that’s what all three of us are definitely doing.
Leaving Yala yesterday we had a great morning drive along the coast, stopping only to buy an essential supply of wine. That involved crouching and communicating with the off licence merchant through a tiny arched opening like in an old-fashioned railway station and clutching the security bars and pressing your nose against the glass in an attempt to glimpse what they’re selling. Wine was no problem. Red or white.
The smiling shop assistants waved and beamed smiles as we drove away. We love Sri Lanka!
En route we also enjoyed a scheduled stop at Buckingham Place (yes, you read right). It’s a chic, laid-back 16-room resort on Rekawa beach near the port of Tangalle. The goal was to greet its eponymous owner/founder, Nick Buckingham.
Lau and I had stayed here in 2012 and had a wonderful time and will always remember our departure. Shades of the off licence. Smiles and waving. Only that time the entire staff figure-headed by Nick himself. We hit it off with Nick and he looked after us. Actually we had already hit it off in a pen friend sort of way prior to our stay. Having detected the resort, and finding it attractive, we wrote and asked what he could do for two keen travellers “with champagne tastes, but on a beer budget”. (We’re such chancers.) Not only did he weave together a good deal, but when we arrived there was a bottle of champagne on ice waiting for us, which we immediately sat down and enjoyed with Nick.
When we were there last, the resort was just in Phase 1 of its construction. But Nick showed us round. I can’t remember if it was Lau or me or both of us, but the suggestion of some kind of performance space was broached. Lo and behold yesterday, Phase 2 up and running, and we saw the seating steps and the lawn stage. Apparently it is put to good use, and Nick calls it ‘Lau and Nigel’s Amphitheatre’. He promises us a plaque. He seemed genuinely touched to see us and I’m pretty sure there was an incipient tear in his manager/owner’s eye as we left after the hour we spent with him.
There are perks to being a Wanderlust Junkie.
Not just the travel and the fun and the sights and colours… But the people you meet. The characters that remain ingrained in your ever-expanding mental travel movie.