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New Beaches

February 3, 2008

 Helen – Another easy relaxing day.  We decided not to go to St Mary’s church since we didn’t understand anything last week.  We miss St.Theresa in Colombo.  We went northwest today to visit two beaches, the closest being Marissa which is said to have some of the loveliest beaches and Welligama which is also a fishing port.  It didn’t take long to reach Welligama.  Parking the car under some trees, Tom paid a man to watch the car.  This beach had lots of shells and we spent some time looking for the ones we have been collecting.  The beach also had lots of multicolored fishing boats with nets drying around them.  We stopped by one boat and the man gave me a lesson on how to fix the torn nets.  I remember my mother knowing how to make net bags for carrying things…but then she knew everything!!

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There was a small island just off the shore and when the tide was low you could walk out to the small bridge to get on.  I don’t know what it is used for but there was a house up there.  The people swimming in the water always amaze me.  The women are dressed in their blouses and skirts while the men are in Bermuda shorts.  Even on our beach I will not walk in a bathing suit…shorts and tank top are about as daring as I get.  If I plan to swim, I wear my bathing suit but don’t lie on the beach in it.  It was pretty hot so we didn’t stay very long there and we decided not to swim there either.  We had a big breakfast of French toast, fruit, coffee, and juice so we weren’t too hungry for lunch.

Drove back toward Marissa and found another beach which was really the eastern end of Welligama.  There were lots more shells there and it looked like a sailing regatta was taking place out in the ocean.  While I sorted through shells, Tom walked toward the sailing area.  He can tell you more about that.

Tom – I walked to where a Laser sailboat had just left the beach to join the regatta and struck up a conversation with three Sri Lankans who were sitting in a jeep drinking.  It seems two of them Vish and Duhan had a business called Ceylon Sea Anglers and were supplying the safety boat for the regatta.  We chatted for awhile and I mentioned that I had recently written a book on learning to sail.  Vish convinced me that he really wanted my book.  I told him I would drive back (half hour one-way) to Matara to get one for him if he were serious.  He said yes; so I figured I could drive Helen back, shower and return with a book for Vish and another for someone who might be interested from the regatta.

 

When I returned the regatta was over and they were loading the safety boat onto the trailer.  Vish was acting a little strange, so I asked him if he really wanted the book, if he did it would cost 2400 rupees (standard price in the U.S.).  He said yes he collected books and wanted me to autograph it.  I wrote him a nice note and he proceeded to take lots of pictures of me plus him and friends.  He was again beating around the bush, so I asked him if he could pay me so I could go talk to the organizers of the regatta.  He said he would go to the hotel and get his money and meet me back there in five minutes.

 

I discovered that the Ruhuna Sailing Club had organized the regatta.  The club has about 8 Optimist and 5 Laser sailboats to teach children to sail.  The club is financed by a Belgian who owns a very large factory nearby.  I briefly talked to a British woman named Sue Evans who was in charge; however she was intently working on the sailing awards for the regatta, so I returned to meet Vish.

 

Well, he never showed!  I asked a number of people where he might be and got the run around.  I was getting angrier by the minute and finally decided to leave a message for Vish with his friends.  Basically I reamed him out in abstentia!  My last comment was something like this – here it is the celebration of the Sri Lankan Independence Day weekend, a time of national pride, and Vish is walking off with a book and not paying for it!  His friends immediately took up a collection and paid me for the book.    

Helen – On the way home we stopped to buy some shrimp and get a few supplies.  Once again the tiger shrimp were totally intact including the gross heads.  It is not easy making dinner here at times!!!  It was still hot so I made a cold potato salad with the shrimp (similar to the crab salad I make at home).

After dinner, Tom tried to call the girls but only got to leave messages on their phones.  Since his was stolen we only have mine to work with.

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