Tag Archives: Udawalawe National Park

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.