Memoirs of Negombo “the ultimate tourist trap”…Arrival to Srilanka!

Negombo is not a place to spend your vacation in Sri Lanka. It’s just a rest-town after a long flight and will allow you to relax and adjust to the heat and people. Its beach side is relatively expensive and the town is flooded with tourist traps.

The day never started yet it’s coming to an end, been travelling all night and all day. By the time the sun started going down I was outside the airport gates. Things were smooth despite the crowd; no welcome smiles yet but no frowns either. My head was swirling as I carved my way out through the nagging curiosity of of the locals to the big empty streets.

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Your casual everyday scenery; a tuktuk parked somewhere….

I stepped out to smell the humid stench of the air, signalled for a tuktuk to come and negotiated the price down as described in the reviews because Negombo was just 10 KMs away. The town was chaotic, dirty and without architectural heritage it seemed. It was only when the driver took off towards the sea road that I felt I am finally in Sri Lanka.

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The sea road…

The sun was calling it a night, when I checked in  to Joseph’s homestay and spent some time watching the golden rain drops pounding on the rooftop in their first floor balcony, sipping on my ginger milk tea. As the rain kept falling on melting over the empty asphalt beneath me, all my thoughts dissipated and I went blank.

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A fancy Milk tea at the Ice Bear cafe

It was 7 a.m and even though I could clearly see that the sewage piping ends in the ocean,  I could’t resist dipping my feet in the cold water that still smelled of Iodine. The dirty water resulted in green plantations in the middle of the sandy beach, no wonder that the crows were singing louder than the birds…

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Crows on the beach at 7 am…

I had a slow walk to town, then reached an area that used to be the town’s fish market near the harbor, an old muslim woman invited me to her house for Eid celebration. I was suspicious and gave no promises for the next day and tomorrow I will be gone. Nihara insisted that she’d show me around and I began to understand it was just how they made money.  I thanked her anyway plastering a polite smile on my face and wished her a happy Eid. I scurried towards the fishermen huts and watched them skinning Tuna and slicing up sharks before arriving to the beach side where they laid out the fish to dry. And I was about to embrace another tourist trap…

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Blue fin tuna drying in the sun…

A man came out of nowhere, shook hands with me and began to explain while another came with his snakes and monkeys and I motioned to him that I did not want any monkey business… The friendly man clung to me because it was his job to be the “guide” and I, again, politely turned him down. He reacted in an aggressive manner; cussed and cursed but I didn’t care as long as he kept his distance. Despite the little mishaps, I’ve enjoyed strolling along the fish market and the lake side afterwards, watching fishermen, boats, birds and bikers. The walk was hectic; there were plenty of invites from tuktuks, plenty of people offering their guiding services and I had to run…

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Fresh fish of the day…
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Market ladies chatting…

It was 11 am and I was starving, I settled for a Pooho and milk tea from a small shop near the bus station as it was air-conditioned. I’ve mustered some energy to go to the church near by before heading back to Negombo beach side where I had planned to enjoy the rest of my day. I had to stop few times for drinks and a power nap.

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Road to town and lake…
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St Sebastian catholic Church

I recommend a coffee place by the beach called “la dolce vita” if you are in the mood for some espresso and sea view. Before I went back to the sandy beach park where I found a shelter between the palm trees. I sat for a couple of hours watching lovers, elders, kids with their kites and families around food stalls.

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An expresso and a bread roll at al Dolce Vita
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chilling and watching…

Through 1 kilometres of the beach side I’ve noticed few things; only foreigners wore Bikini, the beach was entirely free and hotels were not allowed to exploit that, teenage boys were a bit scary and i had my fair share of verbal harassment but nothing really happened as there were families as well as love birds all over the place.

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Fishermen huts near Negombo beach park…
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Traditional oruwa catamaran fishing boat…
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Flying kites in the beach park…

My host was a blessing in the hectic town of Negombo, he upgraded me for free to an AC room and gave me the remote upon my request, indulged me with tea and fresh juices and offered help whenever he saw an opportunity.

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Lake and fishermen…
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Crows and a fancy resort in the background…
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First rice and curry…

Coming up Next: Kandy…

 

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