Well I needn’t have worried about the dives. There were two English folk and one of the Diving Centre staff made up the numbers as you should always dive in pairs, so he was my buddy. Each dive lasted just under ¾ of an hour and the visibility was good. At one point we spotted the shape of a large grouper (i.e. a big fish) swimming above us, which looked more like the silhouette of a boat than a living thing. More of interest to me were the amazing blues and yellows of the fish we swam amongst, with the occasional shoal of little chaps (I hope I’m not getting too technical here!) weaving in and out. The coral in the area isn’t what you’d call spectacular, but fascinating nevertheless. After our first dive we got back into the boat to return to dry land. On the way back we saw a couple of turtles swimming determinedly out to sea: we then dropped off the two Anglos and me and my buddy went out for the second dive.
This was a great experience and I’d like to fit in one or two more before I head back to old Blighty in early April.
After dive No.2, we saw – and powered through the waves in our boat to get a closer view – a very expensive looking super yacht. I’d say it had about five decks above the waterline, not counting the helipad – equipped with helicopter – near the stern. Goodness knows what the boat cost, let alone the chopper. I don’t think it’s the politics of envy to say it seems an unfair world: but then some people may think the same of me out here, I suppose.
Whilst we were getting kitted up before our first dive there was a great hullaballoo from the main road and Le Tour de Sri Lanka (or whatever they call it) went through. Although it was barely 9am, it was already pretty hot and the riders were pouring with sweat. It wasn’t quite as impressive as when le peleton of the French equivalent goes past, but there were police outriders with flashing blue lights, an almost justifiable amount of horn-blowing etc. but no throwing of sweeties and other goodies into the crowd.
After an EGB I decided to try and track down where we stayed the last time we were there. On the last two or three trips to Una, I’d been unaware of anything but the beach area, because the main road from Galle approaches the shore at an angle, but today I did some more looking at my GPS and found the rest of the village, with its tourist shops, guest houses, restaurants and hotels. It’s certainly lively and a bit more developed now but I think I found the place we stayed in, though increased development and tricks of the memory mean I’m not positive.
Back “home”, I discovered that Rick from TGS had been trying to get in touch to suggest a meet-up for lunch. My social calendar is not exactly full, so it’s ironic that there should have been a clash.
On the way into town this morning, I spotted a shop sign saying “Jap Lanka”: out of interest I gazed at it out of the bus window and think I’ve found a laundry. I think that tomorrow I’ll stick anything I’ve ever worn out here into my rucksack and see if I can get it really clean: I do a handwash every second day or so, but most of my clothes are needing a proper job done on them. Talking of clothes, I wonder what I was thinking when I packed my case in Inverness. I have three long sleeve shirts which and two pairs of long trousers which I’ve not worn due to the heat. I also brought a light waterproof and a poncho, both untouched. If I get round to going to the hill country, I suppose some of that stuff might be useful, but it’s really difficult in the UK to gear up sensibly for the warmth out here: a light fleece may come in handy, you say to yourself but it never leaves the case. Mind you, it may yet come into its own when London’s calling!
I think I read somewhere that Sinhala doesn’t have definite or indefinite articles (“the”/”a”), which probably explains why the locals (including Vanushka and Sulakshi) seem to find them such a problem. Good examples can be found on the “thought for the day” decals tuk-tuk drivers decorate their vehicles with: “The young love makes the beautiful world”, “Peace begins with smile”, “Protect the Nature” and so on. When you find yourself having to explain this – as I have to to V & S – you realise how much you take for granted in your own language: we just get it right without knowing rules or even having to think about it most of the time. (I’m guessing that the presence / absence of an article depends on whether the following noun is concrete or abstract, but…) And why am I happy to use the present continuous (“I’m guessing”) in that sentence yet shudder when I hear a game show contestant say “I’m thinking that the capital of Sri Lanka is Colombo” – which, incidentally – it’s not! Language is fascinating. To me at least!
I’ve been staying in this apartment for four weeks now, and went to a hole-in-the-wall to get next month’s rent and some spending money. It always amazes me when these machines work, as well as giving a great feeling of relief!
That’s enough waffling for today.