Not one to follow the hordes, always a little different but tourists can be annoying and I rejoice when they all leave.
I can hear you now – this white woman loves our Sri Lanka but she is constantly complaining about our habits and other Governmental inadequacies and unfairness….now this. APO!
This country needs tourism to survive. FACT. The Government is actively promoting tourism on a huge scale. FACT. The problem, however lies in the manner in which they are doing this. I am not going into detail here – This is my personal blog and my journalist hat has been disposed of a while ago. Just two words – Hambantota & fail. Maybe in time but too much borrowed money on non-profitable enterprises is going to hurt the average Sri Lankan in the long run with run-away inflation. Actually we are already seeing this in the dropping exchange rate. I still have no idea how the really poor survive. I hope it is on goodwill from family, friends, neighbours, some friendly tourists and self-grown crops. I have heard stories of families living on one meal a day – rice, dhal and pol sambol – ok you have your carbs in the rice, protein in the dhal, taste in the pol sambol but each day, every day and only once a day?
Anyway back to the point, the season has ended in my home town. The mass influx of tourists have left. The hordes of bikini-clad girls and women and men in board shorts or rather unattractive speedos have gone. There are a few left….mainly Russians who obviously didn’t do their homework on seasons, culture etc. The beach once again is the beauty I fell in love with 10 years ago. Almost empty, no more fully occupied sunbeds and hundreds of people on the beach, bar a few lost tourists looking for a bar that is still open. There are not many as a lot have moved on to Arugam Bay on the East coast for a few months (where the season is just starting) or close up to rejuvenate themselves, their staff and renovate for next season (beach-side properties here take a hell of a battering during the off season with the wet salt wind gusts).
The old and trusted places, however stay open; Top Secret, Spaghetti & Co, Refresh, JLH, the 4 and 5 star hotels for those folks with a bit more cash to spend and a handful of others. The true troopers – the Hikkaduwa regulars. Love them.
This is what what our beach looks like now:
Peace and quiet for a few months, enjoy! Don’t let it stop you visiting this beautiful area. There is still lots to explore. You can still eat and drink and the weather is generally good from mid-June until September (May, October & November are generally rainy as the seasons change). Bliss. This area without the thousands of tourists will give you a more memorable holiday and more opportunities to mingle with the local people during festivals such as Vesak and Poson.
HAPPY VESAK TO EVERYBODY TOMORROW. BUDU SARANAI.