Croc. Trinco would have been a bit more impressed with today’s thunderplump. Half an hour’s vertical rain, lowering clouds and sheet lightning that’s still rumbling around.
The morning started sunnier than usual and I had a 10:30am appointment with Sera (not, it seems, Sarah). I am known throughout Africa – well, a wee bit of it – as “Mr Dog”. I can now add Sera’s “Mr Duck” to my list of aliases. As I expected – and as Sera confirmed to Mr Duck last night – the room is not ready, but he was keen to show me the progress that’s been made. The floor is now nicely tiled, and the walls plastered: there were workmen there when I inspected, unless they’d brought in extras from Central Casting. He proudly showed me a brand new two ring gas burner – all chrome and knobs – that will go in the shared kitchen area. We have settled on 25000/- (£125) a month (plus electricity, water and gas). That seems so low, I wrote it down, read it back and confirmed we were talking per month, not per week. I’ll only be convinced when he accepts the first month’s rental. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself and I’ve a week to wait, unfortunately: it’s clear he’s pulling out at least some of the stops, so I’m willing to give him some leeway. Sera seems a nice guy – his English is not great (telephone calls are a disaster!) and I don’t want to make unreasonable demands, but a fridge would be a benefit: it looks as though there is wifi at least in his house, so I’ll probably be able to sit on his front step and connect. The family washing machine (and I don’t mean his wife) is currently broken, but my use of a new / mended machine is agreed and I mentioned air/con again, which he assures me will be fitted. He will provide the gas bottle for the cooker, but I fill it.
Both he and his pal/translator seemed keen to know if I knew of any other foreigners. Sera is obviously keen to start a little international enclave: presumably he feels he would get a better class of money than if he let the rooms out to locals.
I turned down an offer of a lift into town and opted for the ridiculously-low-cost bus. First, off to the South Ceylon Bakery near the bus station for short eats and sweet milky tea. Then, compact flash card reader obtained, some other bits of shopping done, EGB downed after a wander though the Fort, a few pictures of tuk-tuks for one of Sonia’s pupils and I walked home. All the way. Uphill in the heat. Sweating like a pig. I was less than delighted to find another wedding on and my room throbbing to the disco beat from above me. My small selection of crockery and cutlery played triangles while the 180 square feet of concrete ceiling did duty as a bass drum. Somewhere in the maelstrom of sound, a bit of the fridge played occasional metallic riffs. Having gulped down a bottle of water I escaped to the poolside where the noise was more muted.
I must have turned down 100 tuk-tuk hopefuls on the way back, but I do feel I’m beginning to get some feel for the area, though I’ve not really seen at least ¾ of Galle yet. Most importantly, though, I was back before the ever-sultrier day exploded into a stormy tantrum.
It has come to my notice that tomorrow is Burns’ Day: lesson plan sorted! At Sonia’s behest, I came out here with shortbread: I can’t organise a Burns’ Supper, but I can pass round the bikkies. I think I’ve done well not to have started on them.
Having got the card reader I can now delight you with a few new pictures.