We were finally recovered from travel and getting into Crisis and Disaster mode! Our first trip was to the Negombo Lagoons.
What are these Lagoons?
The water comes in from a small entry up the north of the lagoons and assists with the grasslands, fish markets, rice paddies and coconut plantations! It is populated by puppies, lizards, snakes, monkeys and so many small sand crabs you had to be careful where you stood. Some of the lagoon is so shallow you could jump out the boat and stand up at ankle deep in the middle of this huge body of water. Typically with so many canals, it was created by the Dutch!
There are fishing boats all the way throughout the lagoons and bridges over the water with fishermen hanging of the bridge too, fish markets and general food markets are so reliant on the fresh produce the fisherman are always hard at work each day!
We were in convoy with 4 boats and 6-8 people to a boat, we were out on the lagoons for over an hour exploring the waters, watching the fishermen and getting to grips with the sheer size of the lagoons! We pulled up to the trees to feed the monkeys bananas and let them climb all over and in our boats, they were so cute as were all the puppies and dogs that were also inhabiting the lagoons!
These Lagoons are still affected by the 2004 Tsunami today. There are still abandoned boats, you can still see the debris and houses that have been ruined and abandoned too, it’s eye opening. Especially when your Lagoon boat driver was in the Tsunami himself. I was incredibly pleased to hear he managed to save his family by running up to higher ground. The fact he returned to continue working on the lagoon once more baffled me, but he was brave and I have a lot of respect for that. I’m sure it is a heartbreaking thing to experience.
Agarukaramula Temple & School!
This was awesome. I had never been to a Buddhist temple so this was right on my bucket list! We were planning on having lunch with a family that our course leader had met in unusual and really quite interesting circumstances on the Lagoon! (But that’s another story for Martin to tell). But before we could enjoy some traditional Sri Lankan food we headed to the Agarukaramula Temple and school!
Naturally before you enter a temple you must remove your shoes so there were an array of flip flops and sandals left outside the temple which was huge and beautiful with the Buddha stood tall above the temple. We were greeted by young children in their white school uniform waving down to us from the raised balcony below the Buddha, they were adorable and excited to see us.
When we went inside you had to pay 1000 Rupees to receive a booklet that took you through the temple painting by painting. If you didn’t purchase the booklet then they did not allow you in which was a little frustrating at first for the group but I decided I was unsure if I was ever going to be here again so I bought the booklet for myself and Mel and we went on inside. For situations like this I felt it would also help their funding and it was an experience for us none less.
The paintings inside were beautiful and it was really interesting going painting to painting and Buddha to Buddha learning about how he became THE Buddha. I never thought I would have to opportunity to go into a temple on this trip so it was really interesting and I have kept the booklet too! It is now stuck confidently inside my scrapbook! The best part was the men were repainting the artwork on the wall of the Buddha whilst we were inside.
We headed over to the school afterwards although we couldn’t spend to long there as we were getting the children in trouble for distracting them in their classes. They were all really shy and quite fascinated, especially because a few of us had go pros including myself and we were all wearing colourful harem trousers and the boys in their sarongs. What was great to see them enjoying classes taken outside and how smart (and adorable) they all looked in their uniform!
Heading to the Fernando Family…
The Fernando family lived along the lagoon and all together in their house. If you went into their back garden it backed out onto what is the lagoon, it was really beautiful and it made you wonder if it was something lucky to have to back onto the lagoon which I guess in their case it was as they could use the lagoon to get to where they needed to go if not via motor and also fishing too!
Now they lived down a mile long road which our coach was unable to go down so we had to walk which was really lovely as it was hot and we got a real taste for the local community in that area. Kids were playing and waving and the heat was beautiful. The walk wouldn’t have been so bad… If I hadn’t ripped all the skin of the front my big toe!
If you’re squeamish skip this part to the next part!
The speedbumps along the road are angled, a little like this /“\. So naturally we are walking along, its hot, we’re all gasbagging like we do and I am totally not paying attention, FYI I’ve got flip flops on. I tripped over the bump and was like oops and just carried on walking, I didnt feel anything until I realised my flip flop was awfully sticky.
YUUUUUP that was blood, I had scraped the skin back from the front of my toe and it was just flapping off whilst bleeding quite a bit. I just stood there quite happy we were nearly at their house with blood on the pavement and on my shoe. I placed a plaster on it for now and took a seat on the pavement to give it a good clean. I felt more comfortable wrapping my fat toe up at their house.
Once I arrived a good 5 minutes later than everyone else I sat down the step of their house to make good of what I could with my toe. Best believe I managed to keep it completely clean and uninfected for the ENTIRE TRIP. I even climbed a mountain and it was fine, those 4 years of lifeguarding did ya girl good.
The Fernando Family cooked us up the most beautiful Sri Lankan curries and afterwards we had fresh fruit! They were so tasty and flavoursome. I am certain I had some of the best food I have ever had out there. So fresh and tasty, so many new flavours that I had never tried before.
We went into their back garden afterwards as they had TORTOISES and we could totally hold them! I had never held a tortoise before so that was pretty cool, you had to hold their shells as naturally there wasn’t really anywhere else you could hold without getting munched down on by Mr tortoise! We also had a little gander at the decking that lead out on to the lagoon that they had access too.
Once we had had this beautifully busy day we decided with some of the afternoon still to kill we headed straight back to the Camelot hotel, relaxed by the pool, ordered dinner by the pool and watched another absolutely beautiful Sri Lankan sunset from the beach. These sunsets were definitely some that I will never forget.
Tomorrow was going to full of exploring Colombo, visiting the Sri Lankan Government Disaster management centre and more good food.