Our piece of paradise is actually a surprisingly small island, which can be walked, at a gentle pace, in around 40 minutes. There are no malls or cinemas, no salons or electronic stores. It is a resort, and as such, we are always surrounded by work. There is very little in the way of escape. If it’s not other staff around you, then it’s guests. All behaviour is strictly monitored and we are expected to maintain a certain standard of dress and appearance. Between contracts, we will fly home to catch up with friends and family which is a great time to unwind and relax, getting away from work, once a year. Due to the nature of our lifestyle and work environment, we are also allowed a mini break halfway through these contracts. This gives us an opportunity to visit affordable yet beautiful destinations in Asia which is right on our doorstep.
Our first mini break took us to Sri Lanka, in search of wind, along their west coast to a place called Kalpitiya. Sri Lanka is a short 90 minute flight from Maldives and visas can be arranged online and very efficiently, and they are quite affordable.
Nicole and I seldom fight or argue and always find ways to compromise and come to agreements regarding any decisions we make. We are so fortunate that we have each other, and that we have this great relationship. Nicole is, however, the one person that I could not teach to kitesurf. It just did not work and is the only time our relationship was put under strain. We just don’t get along during any lessons we attempt and we decided it would be best if she did a full kite course with somebody else. Let’s not try to find fault, I guess we were both to blame, but the decision was to hand Nicole over to another instructor, and I would just enjoy some time on the water.
The trip to Kalpitiya from Colombo can be a long one, depending on what mode of transport you use. You could request a transfer from your resort, you could take a bus or you could rent a tuk-tuk. Everything depends on time and budget as well as comfort. The bus will be the cheapest and although cramped, the service is surprisingly efficient. Tuk-tuks are also limited in space, but a great way to get around and then the resort transfer would cost the most, but the drive would be spacious and comfortable. Whichever way you decide to travel, livestock and dogs are the kings of the road here and you have no choice but to wait or give way to wandering cows, donkeys and dogs.
Kalpitiya is pretty much a wind destination. It has a flat shallow lagoon separated from the ocean by a long sandbank and is blessed with good wind conditions. The area has a healthy kite tourist trade with many kite schools and centres operating not only for locals, but for the many international tourists. There are a few other activities in the area and we did a dolphin safari, visited a national park in search of elephant and brown bear, and Nicole did some horse-riding.
Nicole completed her kite course and I was able to spend some quality time on the water. We watched local fishermen lay their nets and bring in their daily catch, drank the local Arak and savoured chilli crabs. After each afternoon session, we would end up in the resort, sipping cold beers, talking about the day’s events while watching the beautiful sunsets.
The best part of our Sri Lanka trip was the people we met, from the staff at De Silva’s to the other foreign and local people we spent time with. It was great to meet such a inspirational mix of people, mostly tourists who were travelling for the sake of travelling. The staff went out of their way to make our stay as enjoyable as possible, not only in their work environment, but in their personal time and space too.
This would not be our last trip to Sri Lanka, as we would return some time later.