February 1, 2016
01.02.2016 - 01.02.2016
Don and I set out on foot this morning, while Rob and Mani opted to borrow bikes and ride. As we walked down the street, not yet a block from our rooms, a man said Hello and Don stopped to chat. This happens very often as we walk around Sri Lanka. People say Hello, where are you from, how long are you here? etc. As it turned out, quite a conversation ensued. This Sri Lankan man invited us into his yard to see his wife's orchids, and then invited us into the house for tea! We sat and had tea and a great chat for about 1/2 hour or so. Such nice people! After exchanging names and addresses, we went on our way.
We walked on with the goal of seeing the Fish Market. As we passed the cathedral, we went in and realized the church square had a great many men in it and there was an unhappy, tense feel about the place. We had a quick look inside the church and on our way out of the square asked what was going on? It was a meeting of fishermen. Apparently they were on strike, protesting the cost of fuel, the low price of fish, the lack of fish....There were buses waiting to take some of them home when they were done. We don't know from how far afield they came, but they were very serious!
We walked on and eventually found the Fish Market. It was closed of course, but there were still people bringing in fish, cleaning fish, drying fish. They salt the fish and then let it dry in the sun for a couple of days, turning it over after the first day. A very laborious process, but the fish keep very well when dried. We've seen dried fish being sold all over the country.
They use catamarans for fishing here and they are a lovely sight as they come into the harbour.
We also watched a girls' school field day. Several schools were involved with marching bands and different athletics. We didn't get to see very much action, it seemed there was a lot of standing and talking required before anything was done, or we had missed the athletics which may have happened earlier.
We walked back for lunch and found a Best Buy store along the way. We went in for a look and found it similar but not as many electronics. We had made a plan to meet Rob and Mani back at our place and then go for lunch, but when we got there they were not there. So we went out by ourselves - it turned out they had ridden so far, that Mani wanted to eat before riding all the way back.
We cooled it most of the afternoon and then Don and Rob went for a swim. I went for a walk and ended up having a beer at a beach front restaurant, watching a catamaran being set up, tourists getting life jackets on and climbing aboard, and then it being pushed into the ocean. The tourists rode out on the outrigger! Looked pretty scary to me!
We all went out for supper together. Mani's last supper with us, as tomorrow we go to the Maldives and she flys home.