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Memories of my travels between 1972 and 1982

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

December 29th: Hikkaduwa

On December 29th 1981 I was in Hikkaduwa in Southern Sri Lanka. 

Beach at Hikkaduwa:  My picture
I liked to hole up somewhere like a beach over Christmas and New Year.  This time I chose Hikkaduwa, a good strand of beach and a long strip of tourist shops and restaurants.  I rented a room from a woman who seemed to be a single mother and I think she was well pleased with my contribution.  But walking outside the town the atmosphere often turned quickly sour and it was clear that many people resented the foreign invasion.

Between Christmas and New Year I made a trip by bus to Galle, a larger town nearby.  I wrote this in my journal in the evening:
Galle:  My picture
I went to Galle today, which made a nice break.  A few too many tourist hustlers, a dead pangolin in the Dutch canal, as stinking as the Dutch canals In Jakarta, some picturesque areas around the market where I took a couple of snaps.  The hustle and bustle of a South Asian town - so much still being moved by bullock-cart, some shops full of things I associate with the area, hardware, pottery, basket ware.  And then the fort, with its quiet old world atmosphere.  I entered through the old gate with its fine UK coat of arms in stone relief facing the harbour, then there was the square with the courts with banyan shade and lots of little advocates' offices.  Then I sat on the wall in the shade and peace, watching souvenir sellers and tourists near a hotel, two cheap travellers being carted off on a bullock-cart but shooing away the seller of miniature fishing boats.
Another day I went by bicycle with a friend inland to Baddegama, and everyone seemed friendly.  We stopped at a really poor man's shack for tea and later had excellent tea and cakes in the old-fashioned "hotel", really restaurant or cafe, in Baddegama.  We looked at irrigation works built by the Chinese, and visited a Buddhist temple with an enormous statue, a fine bo-tree and a friendly monk.  However we did another trip by bicycle to the coast around the town of Ambalangoda, but we quickly found that the local people were not so keen on the cheap foreign visitors there.  Not feeling welcome we hurried back.

Galle Market:  My picture

Hikkaduwa:  My picture
Patrimonium Mundi:  Panoramas of Galle Fort
Fishermen at Hikkaduwa:  My picture

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