From Tissa we returned to Midigama to settle some unfinished business. And settle it we did, after another two days getting smacked around by the waves, I can officially announce that i can surf! Well to a point. The main contention to my statement was discovered on the second day when the swells produced the biggest waves that i have ever witnessed. I would love to say at this point how I took to the challenge bravely and with no hesitation but in reality I found myself praying that I would avoid them when paddling out. The first misjudgment on my part, meaning the wave broke where i was attempting to get as far away from it as possible, left me clinging on for dear life. The look of sheer fear across my face, eroded any sort of cool points I was generating on the smaller waves. There was no chance I was even going to attempt to get up on the board before he broke, instead I gripped the board as strongly as I could as I hurtled towards the ground at break neck speed. Quite literally in those split seconds i felt as if my whole life flashed before my eyes. Next thing I knew I was stood up, riding it into the beach. An adrenalin rush like no other. Roller coasters pale in comparison! Unfortunately the other two big waves i caught sent me into the washing machine, leaving me disorientated and swallowing a lot of water. It’s all good fun though once your sure the board is not coming down on your head!
When we were not surfing we were snorkeling. The clear visibility off the beach made for some memorable moments of swimming through shoals of tropical fish. The best sighting though was of a huge stingray attempting to hide in the sand. The stinger was huge! The amusement of seeing the strong currents pull Alex dancing toward it was soon vanquished when remembering what happened to Steve Irwin! We didn’t leave it to chance and quickly swam away.
We then left for Colombo for the Sri Lanka vs Pakistan game. The stadium was far more organised and as soon as we saw it we got the impression that this was a number of notches up from Hanbamtota. The view from the terraces was that much better due to it being steeper. Whilst we made plenty of friends for the day, the attention was less frantic, which was a relief! The one time we did find ourselves posing for numerous photos was our own doing as we sprinted down to have a photo taken with the Sri Lanka cheerleader…Percy. He’s been watching them since the 1940’s and walks around the pitch, waving the national flag in the most unaminted way possible, giving the impression that he is not sure where he is! That said though the Sri Lankans love him and as it turns out so did we! In Hanbamtota, watching live cricket seemed a total novelty as was seeing and meeting Westerners. In Colombo, there was a much more cricket focussed crowd, which made for a superb atmosphere and even a Mexican wave that circled the stadium over ten times. Those Hanbamtotans will learn someday! The crowd were as mad as you would expect. At one point I stood in amazement at the whole crowd dancing. A local was surprised to hear that we don’t tend to celebrate wickets in England in the same way. As for the game it was full of ups and downs, not least the hilarious run out where there were all number of mis throws. Fortunately for Sri Lanka, the Pakistani batsman was oblivious to the fielding chaos. I think he had reached the rope by the time the bails came off!
And that brought an end to Sri Lanka, prompting the question, where did the month go? I can’t speak more positively about the country and the people, it lived up to all my expectations and then some. Also in good news I still have the east coast to explore in a summer holiday one year, so I know i will be back! Now it is time to leave the Indian subcontinent and head for Thailad!