Our first week in Sri Lanka

(Lire ce billet en français)

As planned, we had a quiet week in a beach resort to start with, so as to recuperate from the flight and get over jetlag.

towels folded in the shape of an elephant
The hotel staff surprised us with creative towel folding

Initially the resort was very quiet with a handful of retired couples, honeymooners and one other family but at the weekend it filled up with lots of Sri Lankan families. We settled in to a routine with lots of swimming and reenacting the book Superworm in the pool and joined in to some of the group activities like pétanque.

We enjoyed the large shallow pool surrounded by frangipani trees

On Saturday, Tilly had an adventure at the resort kids club. She was basically the only child attending, and the two girls who run it are also part of the resort dance troupe. So they decided to bring her to the rehearsal for the evening show. We decided to stay up later and watch the show — Tilly was very excited!

traditional dance duet
Our first experience of traditional Sri Lankan dance

We were even treated to a fun drag performance of “Simply the Best”!

Tina Turner drag performance

On Sunday we ventured out of the resort for a boat tour in the Muthuraja Wela wetlands at the south end of the Negombo lagoon. These wetlands were formed as a consequence of building the Dutch canal which flooded what had been a rice growing plain. They are are now an important ecosystem providing breeding grounds for fish and migratory birds.
In amongst the mangrove trees, we saw several monitor lizards, lots of cormorants, white and purple egrets, and “snake birds” whose neck movements really do evoke that of a snake. There were lots of water hyacinths and some nice patches of lotus flowers.

Clockwise from top left: an egret sitting on a stone on the riverside; a snake bird sitting on a tree branch, a juvenile monitor lizard on a rock by the waterside; and Matilda in her beach hat looking over the side of the boat at a patch of lotus flowers

We also encountered a tree full of sleeping fruit bats…

… and another full of playing monkeys!

monkey jumping in the trees

The boat got a bit too close, waking up the bats and causing the birds to fly off; I regret not explaining to our guide and driver that they didn’t need to get so close and not bother the animals.
By Monday we were pretty much over our jet-lag and we set off to start properly visiting the country. In the next post I’ll tell you all about our visit to the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka’s cultural capital, in the centre of the country.

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