Sayonara Sri Lanka

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

We have about twelve hours of sleep under our belts after our poor showing last night, so today we are making all the moves.  After a quick breakfast and packing our bags for our final stop later that afternoon, we hopped in a tuk-tuk and headed to Dalawella beach to get one of the famous beach swing pics for the gram.  We had this beautiful beach pretty much to ourselves for about an hour.  Some Sri Lankan guys were securing the beach swing, so Carly and I grabbed some morning beers while waiting for the swing resistance test.  There is no way I’m coming home from this trip broken (again), so I’m taking all the precautions for the home stretch.  We both took a few turns having a Sri Lankan guy push us on the swing while we did our basic bitch photo photo shoot.  We threw him some rupees for his tensile strength troubles and walked down the beach in search of more beers.  For some reason it took me two weeks before drinking my first Sir Lankan beer, but now the gloves are off and that shit is hitting the spot.

We headed back to Unawatuna beach and negotiated a private glass bottom boat for the afternoon.  I use the term “negotiation” loosely, as the price differential in play for any service in Sri Lanka is typically under $5 USD, so you look like a legit ass hole for arguing with a broke ass tuk-tuk driver over a fucking quarter.  Our New Years Eve tuk-tuk driver actually called me out on it by asking me “isn’t the difference like ten cents to you?”.  I tipped him extra for having the balls to call me on my shit.  I have since been resisting the urge to negotiate aggressively, but the Jew in me just can’t help it most of the time.  To be fair, I just end up adding whatever they knock off the price to their tip.  It’s not about the money at all.  It’s about the win.

I ran up to a beach bar and bought some beers for our little boat trip.  Two of my cardinal rules while traveling are (1) Always get on the boat, any boat, and (2) never (EVER) get on a boat without booze. We took the boat to a small bay called “Jungle Beach”, which was very disappointing as far as beaches go.  Our boat driver gave us some snorkel gear, but I’ve seen more exciting aquatic landscapes at a Petsmart, so Carly an I focused on floating and drinking.  You all know my thoughts on snorkeling – it’s a boring, sobering, peasant’s sport.  I just can’t get excited about some dead coal and a few rainbow-colored fish.  And on the off chance I see something cool like a baby shark or an eel, I spend the rest of the time with Jaws anxiety.  I’ll be up on the surface chugging my beer, thank you very much.  We headed out to another lackluster snorkeling spot and continued to swim, drink and tan before heading back to shore.

Beer swim at Jungle Beach

We decided to have a late lunch at our hotel restaurant, Kingfisher, before continuing north on our beach tour of Sri Lanka’s south coast.  Lunch was fucking painful.  We waited an hour and a half for our food, I bitched out a waiter, Carly finally got some lobster.  We hopped in our pre-scheduled taxi and headed up to our next and final stop of the trip – Bentota beach.  This is where shit gets fancy.

I decided to completely blow Carly’s teacher budget and spring for a beautiful boutique villa-style hotel on a vast secluded beach for our final few nights in Sri Lanka.  I knew she would thank me later once the sticker shock wore off.  Let me paint you the picture of our white trash arrival.  Carly and I pulled up to this fancy ass hotel still in our bathing suits, hair wet and tangled, and beer on our breath.  We were given a tour of the property, which includes an in-house art gallery, adorable hidden sitting areas, a bar straight out of Martha Stewart’s shabby chic wet dreams, and a beautiful pool set in a lush garden, separated from the beach only by the historical Sri Lankan costal railway track and a cluster of palm trees.  I’m pretty sure the staff were praying our parents would arrive.  Operation treat-yo-self has officially begun.

We took a nice long beach walk as the sun was setting down a vast and pristine stretch of sand.  I patted myself on the back for an excellent ending our vacation on a high note.  We skipped dinner and went to bed at 8:30 pm.  One of my 2019 resolutions is to actually skip a fucking meal or two this year, so no time like the present to start.  There is literally nothing to do in Bentota that is of interest to us except for complete and utter relaxation over the next two days.

Thursday, January 2 – Friday, January 4, 2019

We need to talk about breakfast at the villa.  I normally lack the patience for long breakfasts on vacation, but since the only thing on our agenda for the day is a beach walk and some serious pool time, I could actually appreciate the amazingly symphonic three-course, never-ending breakfast that this swank hotel provides.  So this is how rich people start their day, huh?  I would be such a pleasant human if I woke up to this treatment each morning.  Since I detest both fruit and hot beverage, Carly made out like a bandit with two plates of fruit and a truly bladder-cringing display of coffee, tea and juice.  In turn, I picked up her slack on the bread basket.  Hence the reason she gets to post bathing suit pics while I keep it to boobs and up.   Turns out that there is a food that tastes as good as skinny feels, and that food is the warm homemade banana bread muffins at our villa.

Since our breakfast took about two hours, we had no choice but to take our morning beach walk in the blistering hot sun and then reward ourselves with a day at the pool. We went for another beach walk around sunrise and found a cute restaurant where we met a nice man named Pradeep who was trying to sell us some tours.  As we haven’t been let down by a Pradeep yet, we took it as a sign and booked our final transfer to the airport tomorrow with him.   If anyone is getting me out of Sri Lanka in one piece, it’s a man named Pradeep.  Back at our hotel, Carly’s mom pointed out via facetime that I had incorrectly translated our flight time of 20:20 into 10:20 and therefore booked our transfer for two hours too late.  We legit would have completely missed our flight.  Fucking amateur hour, I know. But I do detest having to perform a mathematical calculation just to figure out the fucking time.  Anyway, all is well that ends well, close call avoided.

The next morning was basically a repeat of the day before, except we learned our lesson and did our beach walk bright and early before breakfast before the sun took over.  And oh boy did that decision pay dividends.  While enjoying our leisurely stroll on our deserted stretch of beach, my eyes glanced over to a row of palm trees where I noticed what looked like a man in white underwear standing in the brush.  Confused as to if he needed help, I squinted him into focus only to find a fucking pervert jerking his elephant trunk.  Not sure if he was wacking it to the sunrise, or to the American girls walking down the beach, or maybe he has a thing for stray beach dogs.  This is probably where I should say I screamed and ran, but I just laughed my ass off and pointed him out to Carly.  I did eat a massive amount of bacon at breakfast later that morning.  I have zero comment on whether the two events are related, but I hope for the sake of my subconscious that they were not.

We spend the day by the pool until Pradeep came by to pick us up.  The ride to the airport through Colombo was a fucking traffic nightmare, but we made it to the airport and home without anything significant to report.  Carly and I both agreed, this was one of our favorite trips ever.  Sri Lanka makes the top five, it’s official.  Please hurry and go before the rest of America catches on and ruins it, like we do with everything.  We just can’t have nice things.

 

VIP Leech in Unawatuna Beach – A New Years Eve Story

Tonight, we’ll ring in 2019 from half a world away and 13.5 hours in advance of our friends and family at home.  There is just something about spending New Year’s abroad that allows me to believe, even if just for a few days until I get home to reality, that the upcoming year is going to be awesome.  It’s probably just the lack of Taco Bell that gives me a false sense of hope in sticking to my new year’s resolutions.  Last year I made it about two weeks into the new year before almost killing myself in the Philippines and spending the first six weeks of 2018 on bedrest, so the ability to walk upright through the month of January will be progress as far as I’m concerned.  Aim high, friends.

The name of the game today is to conserve our energy at all costs until the entire beach in Unawatuna erupts in a giant cluster fuck of fireworks, lights, drinking and dance parties – the main party of which is at our fucking hotel, Kingfisher.  No day drinking and passing out at 8 pm like a fucking degenerate, especially when your balcony overlooks the DJ.  In Sri Lanka, showing up to the party at midnight is considered premature and leaving the party before 5 am is pathetic.  The pressure is on.

We spent the morning leisurely laying on daybeds at our hotel while we watched the staff set up for the big party.  We had a healthy lunch on the main drag in town at Bedspace (awesome restaurant, highly recommend) and killed some time perusing tourist shops and buying nothing.  Our plan was to next head out to a nearby beach for sunset, but we ran into our first snag of the day when trying to find an ATM – we can’t be constrained by silly things like money on a night like New Year’s Eve, after all.  So here’s the rub – all the banks are closed on New Year’s Eve in Sri Lanka, and since the preceding two days were a weekend, the ATM’s in Unawatuna had less cash than a stripper working the lunch shift.  Literally, nada.  We tried four ATMs before the locals informed us that we would need to go to Galle about 20 minutes away, which is the nearest place with actual banks, for any hope of making it rain when the clock strikes midnight.  Ever the adaptable travelers, we headed to Galle and figured we would knock out a quick tour of the fort and town while getting cash and simultaneously fending off premature drunkenness for a few hours longer.  Patience has never been my strong suit.

Unawatuna Beach – pre shit show

Galle is an adorable little waterfront city which was first fortified by the Portuguese and then later by the Dutch.  The town has a distinct European feel, with a grid of little streets lined with shops, restaurants and art galleries that can be covered, more or less, in about an hour.  We grabbed a drink and met a nice British family who were staying in Galle for three days and they were bored out of their fucking minds.  The dad actually referred to Galle as “a shit Ibiza”.  Mr. Fancy pants was not pleased.  Staying three days in Galle would be the equivalent of spending three days of your California beach vacation in downtown Pasadena.  A lack of travel research will get you nowhere, people.

Sunset at Galle Fort

We hi-tailed it back to Unawatuna and grabbed a low-key dinner.  We opted out of our hotel’s buffet dinner preceding the party.  Who the hell wants to party in a slutty outfit on a belly full of curry?  I don’t have high hopes in a midnight kiss at this point, but going beast mode on a buffet would certainly dash any lingering optimism.  We ran into a friend of Carly’s from home who now lives in Oz while we were at dinner – small world strikes again.  After dinner, Carly continued to restrict my shots to the face until after 10 pm.  What would I have done without her? Pass out before midnight for sure.

Around 11 pm we decided to head down to the beach and see if the kids had been put to bed.  Remember what I said about beach parties in Sri Lanka prior to midnight?  The anticipation was palpable, but we still had people with canes and children with diapers lingering.  We ran into Carly’s friend from earlier at dinner as well as Fedora hat guy from Mirissa that we met a few days ago while walking down the beach – the backpacker community in Sir Lanka is very small.  And no, he did not heed my warnings and burn that fucking hat.  We walked up and down the beach sizing up which parties had the best DJ’s and the best-looking people.  Rows of fireworks conspicuously lined the shore, waiting for midnight to strike. And the anticipation builds.

We headed back to Kingfisher to meet up with our Danish friends from our hotel in Sigiriya just in time for the midnight countdown.   The fireworks were apparently the smoke signal for the real shit show to begin, because that’s where the night takes a left turn in rage town.  With four hot white chicks in tow, our path was clear – head to the VIP section to make some friends with bottle service. As luck (or fate) would have it, we stumbled upon an awesome group of British gays and young Sri Lankan guys.  They were insanely fun shoved booze in our face.  It was clear that we had found our party team for the night.  These guys were a good time.  The details are hazing and unimportant, but rest assured that our motley crew of Danes, Americans, Brits, and Sri Lankans made New Year’s Eve at Unawatuna our bitch.  We obviously didn’t spend a dime of cash we had procured – thanks to our ability to make fabulous VIP friends on the fly – but better to be safe than sorry.  Bedtime finally came calling at 5 am.  For the second time in a week.  I am shooketh.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Today will be a short one because I slept until 3pm when Carly finally dragged me out of bed for a meal.  Her ability to function on a lack of sleep and overuse of alcohol is a gift.  I too possessed this gift once, but you have to give it back when they issue you your Thirty card.  Along with your metabolism and optimism.  I kid, of course, I had never had much of a metabolism.

We ate at a truly shit restaurant on the beach and I was genuinely offended by my meal.  Hopefully this keeps happening and I just stop eating in 2019.  With vodka oozing from my pores, we went on an endless and futile search for a decent bloody mary.  One bartender made a sad attempt that tasted like it was made with dragon fire and morning after vodka-cranberry vomit.  I’m almost certain he pureed actual tomatoes to a pulp and then added vodka and half a bottle of hot sauce, along with whatever condiments were handy.  I awaited septic shock for fear that it had burned a hole through my fucking intestines.  I took the drinks back to the bartender said he said “too spicy?” and I said “too something…”?  After a quick and amiable haggling, I threw him a couple bucks and the search continued.

It should come as a surprised to no one that we ended up on an impromptu New Year’s Day bar crawl.  At bar number three, we had an odd encounter with some old shit faced Sri Lankan men who claimed, in slurred speech, to be gem jewelers and offered to pay for anything we wanted if we would just sit with them.  Carly held out for some colorful rocks but their pockets turned up empty so we politely declined and soldiered on.  It’s going to take a lot of more than a few free glasses of sauv blanc to make me a sugar baby to a Sri Lankan blood gem dealer who can’t hold his fucking liquor.

Our rationale after a few or five drinks was that we should probably go out tonight to the beach party, since we leave the party beach for chill resort-style living tomorrow.  Yes – there is a beach party tonight – there is a beach party every night.  Have you learned nothing from this blog series?  We made the brilliant decision to take a quick nap at 8 pm, using the rationale that we could get in a solid 3 hours of sleep before the pre-party even starts. I’m shaking my head at my stupidity and lack of self-awareness as I write this.  It’s only January 2, so this is for sure the party foul of the year to beat.  Because you know damn well we woke up at 3am, took one look at each other, laughed and went back to bed.

Safari to Beach Party in 24 Hours

The awesome thing about Sri Lanka is that you can go from a safari in a national park to an all-night dance party on the beach in 24 hours.  Here is how we did it…

Friday, December 28, 2018

After a final relaxing breakfast on the balcony of our cabin in Ella, Pradeep picked us up and drove us to Udawalawe National Park.  No commute in Sri Lanka is complete without stopping at a few waterfalls along the way, and this was no different.  Pradeep suggested that we also stop at an orphanage, but Carly and I declined.  I know that makes us seem like horrible people, but it just sounds so depressing.  Plus, Sri Lankan kids are insanely cute so I’m slightly concerned that the combination of those adorably sad little brown faces with the fact that my unfertilized eggs are stuck in a freezer for the foreseeable future, pose a legitimate risk that I’ll pull an Angelina Jolie and come home with an extra carry-on.  So just give me a website and I’ll make a donation.

As soon as we entered Udawalwe National Park we began to see wild elephants along the side of the road – Pradeep’s free safari strikes again!  We spent the rest of the day laying by the pool at our glamping hotel, Kottowatta village.  I’m sure it will come as a huge shock the only option for dinner was buffet and we made it our bitch.  The buffets have to stop.  Add it to this list of 2019 prohibited activities.  I should probably say January 2019 prohibited activities just to be safe. Let’s take this one month a time.

Just before bed Carly saw a little rat-like creature in our room and we proceeded to flip our shit.  We found out from Pradeep the next day that it was a Loris, which looks like the daemon child of a possum and a racoon.  It was traumatizing.  Sleep did not come easy for either of us.  Well it did for me, because, Xanax.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

We had a 5 am pickup for our safari this morning – which is no problem for Carly and I – the earlier the better.  We were picked up in an Indiana Jones looking safari jeep and driven to the entrance gates of Udawalawe national park.  Despite being there at 5:30 am, there was already a line of jeeps snaking down the main road.  We waited almost an hour in line before we finally got in.  Which begs the question of why they didn’t pick us up at 4:30 am, but I kept my mouth shut.  Pick your battles.  Our annoyance subsided quickly once we found a small heard of elephants, complete with a newborn baby elephant that we were told was probably only a few months old.  The only problem with an early climax is that the rest of the safari pales in comparison.  We saw water buffalo, tons of birds including peacocks and eagles, but no more elephants.  Our driver kept stopping to point out crocodiles far in the distance, but Carly and I could never see what the fuck he was talking about.  Eventually I just started humoring the poor guy by saying “oh cool” and taking a picture of nothing so that he would keep it moving.  We passed by numerous jeeps with people legit passed out in their seats – the elusive wild mouth breathers native to early morning birdwatching.

Back at our hotel we were subjected to yet another buffet for breakfast.  Oh, the horror.  I’m serious when I say this is the last one.  But, I mean, do breakfast buffets really even count?  I’m thinking anything 2 plates of food or less should just land in the “large meal” category.

Pradeep picked us up after breakfast and we made a bee-line for the beach.  No waterfalls, no stops – its beach or bust.  From here on out, we are beach hopping up the south coast of Sri Lanka.  Carly and I will be in our element, doing what we do best – tanning, relaxing, and of course a little partying.

Pradeep took a little shortcut, so we found ourselves in Mirissa in time for lunch.  Sadly, this was where we had to part ways with our trusty driver and new friend, Pradeep.  After we bid him farewell and checked into our little beach front hotel, we did floozy lap up and down the main drag to get our bearings.  It’s basically Thailand without the annoying hawkers selling useless tchotchkes.  We found ourselves enjoying lunch and drinks with our feet in the sand by 2 pm.  Happy hour in Mirissa starts in the early afternoon, so we drank and lounged our way from one beach bar to the next.

Let’s get to the good stuff – it’s party time.  I haven’t gotten good and drunk in over a week.  I’ve basically replaced boozing with over-eating.  Instead of shots to the face, it’s been a nonstop curry buffet to the face.  Well that shit stops now.  Time to get back on the old liquid diet and start 2019 off right.  I’m ready to somersault off this fucking wagon.

Day turned into night and we kept the drinking going.  By about 10 pm I was well on my way to shit faced but realized that the liquid diet was not just not going to cut it.  My inability to skip a meal is a surprise to us all, I know.  It was either eat dinner or pass out early – the latter was obviously not a viable option given the fact that it was Saturday night and our first day at the beach.  Carly refused to allow me to be a little bitch and dragged me around to three shitty establishments who had all stopped serving food until I finally settled on burger at our hotel restaurant.  With renewed energy (and perhaps a shot or two vodka back in the room) we were ready to hit up the beach party.

Every night during high season one bar on each beach holds a big party.  The location changes each night of the week, and it is the only game in town.  All you have to say is “where is the party tonight?” to anyone in town and they will respond with “well it’s Saturday, so…Kama”.  Pretty standard for beach towns like this in Asia.  You run into the same people night after night, which can be awesome or incredibly awkward depending on how big of an ass you make of yourself.  I’m familiar with both sides of that coin.

We got to Kama around 11 pm and it was dead.  Apparently anything before midnight is just a warm-up.  Terrifying, I know.  There were actually children on the dance floor.  Who are these spoiled brats partying to house music on a beach in Sri Lanka until midnight and how can I get their parents to adopt me?  With obvious time to kill, we grabbed some drinks and chairs on the sand and waited for the kids to be put the bed.  My fun detector began to beep furiously, immediately zeroing in on a large group of good-looking men with Australian accents who had just strolled to a nearby table.   Aussies never disappoint when you are looking for a party.  Target locked.  I grabbed Carly faster than you can say “thirsty” and invited ourselves to seats and their table.  I assumed it was a bachelor party because I have an actual sixth sense for sniffing those out, but it was just seven dudes who all ditched their girlfriends back in Oz for both Christmas and New Years and flew to Sri Lanka for a boy’s trip.  That is fucking savage and I love it.  We had obviously found our party group for the night.  We spent the next six or so hours drinking and dancing the night away on the beach.  I think it was about 5 am when I finally turned in.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Hung.  Over.  Carly somehow managed to get my pathetic ass in a tuk-tuk out to the quintessential basic-bitch instagram lookout in Mirissa for some pics.  What can I say, I did it for the gram.  I’m disgusted with myself for even typing that.  We took some pics for an American guy in a fedora and found out he was going to be in the same beach town as us for New Year’s Eve tomorrow night.  We also discovered that he is literally moving to Hermosa Beach, where I live, in two months.  My response was, “oh yeah, well don’t bring that fedora with you to Hermosa”.  I’m mean when I’m hungover.  And honest.  Why are they so often one in the same?

We spent the rest of day on the beach not doing a damn thing save for forcing down some life-saving bloody marys.  The pack of Aussie boys came to our hotel and hung out with us on the beach for a few hours before we left Mirissa late in the afternoon and headed up the coast to Unawatuna, ready to make another beach town our bitch.  It’s so funny when I think I’m actually going to succeed at multi-night binge drinking.  We checked into our hotel in Unawatuna, met some girls from our hotel in Sigiriya about a week ago for a drink, and promptly went to bed.  Did you really think you were going to get two all-nighters out of my old ass in a row?  And right before new year’s, no less?  Dream on.