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Getting Settled – Matara

January 23, 2008
Helen – Jan 23rd IS A GREAT DAY !!!  This morning we left Colombo at 5:20 with our rental car packed so full that there almost wasn’t any room for me.  Our friend Ranjan loaned us his driver for the day so he and Tom sat up front.  We sent him back on the bus and it was a really a long day for him.  If you remember from a past email Harsha usually takes a 2.5  hour bus ride to Colombo just to get to Ranjan’s house.  So this morning he took the bus and Tuk-Tuk to our house, drove us 5 hours to Matara and then had to take the bus home.  Ranjan would not hear of letting us pay Harsha and he would not take anything from us no matter how we tried.

 

The first thing we did in Matara was to look at the two apartments which Ruki recommended via a personal friend.  One bungalow was a two bedroom with a tiny galley kitchen and a cold water bathroom with the ceiling open to the sky except for a few cross beams.  The dining table was outside consisting of a concrete table with benches…bugs and dinner didn’t sound real good.  The second bungalow was next door.  It consisted of three bedrooms each with a bath (cold water again) dining area with table and chairs, living area with couch and couple of chairs, bigger kitchen and more equipped (large toaster oven, rice cooker, larger refrigerator etc.).  Both were right on the beach…the second had a larger yard but the first one had a cow (mower instead of mooer).  The first cost $300/month and the second $600/month.  We bargained a little (couldn’t too much because of Ruki) and got him to hook up hot water, the phone, and do a few repairs.  There is also a little (like 4’ 2”) woman named Leela who would clean and cook if paid extra.  Another advantage is that it is very close to the university (about 1.5 miles).  So we took the larger bungalow and after contacting the landlord were able to move in that day.  YEH!!!!

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We had our meeting at 11:00, worked out Tom’s schedule which will include teaching his Fitness Programs course to the PE instructors here to supplement their course which is similar to his (T-TH-F 9:30-11:30), doing a weight training course for the athletes and students (T-TH 4:15-5:30), and giving an introductory university lecture titled “Fitness for Life,” which will also serve to introduce him and his courses…I will also be teaching a Fitness Walking class for students and faculty on T- TH 4:15-5:30 (non paid).

After the meeting we went to lunch with Kanthi (Chair of the Sport Advisory Council) to a local fast food place.  We ordered the native fare of rice, lentils, potatoes, and a spicey green thing.  Washed our hands and dug in…I ate it all, Tom added fish to his and didn’t eat the green spicy thing.  My meal was about $0.80 and his $1.20.  I may not have to cook!!!

Went to the super market (Cargills Food City) to get a few things for breakfast and then returned to campus to the Physics Department (Kanthi’s department) computer lab to work on emails.

We are glad to be finally settling in.

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