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Negombo - Friday, 26 January 2018 - Australia Day

Visit the historical beach town on Negombo, with its many Dutch and Portuguese churches. Stop at the local fish markets and villages to see the popular outrigger canoes known as Oruwa

sunny 30 °C

Hotel - the Wallawwa, Minuwangoda Road, Kotugoda - Room No 5.
Happy Australia Day!!

We went to bed very early last night and had a great sleep and were up bright and early and into breakfast by 7.20 am. There were a few new faces at breakfast and four of them were our travelling companions. We have counted about 13 so we might even make the maximum number for the trip of 16.

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I have lowered the tone of our beautiful accommodation and turned it into a Chinese laundry!

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The bathroom is absolutely huge - 12 feet by 12 feet. There is a lot of wasted space but so nice to have room to move around. It is hard to capture the roominess in a photo but you get the general idea. In other words, it's definitely not pokey!

We met with our tour director, Didier this morning. He is a delightful Frenchman and is very personable. He will be good I think. Met the rest of the gang. We will be 15 in total. A very manageable number.

We are not leaving the hotel until 3 pm this afternoon and we think this has been a wasted morning as apparently there is a great canoe trip to see the bird life in these parts. Greg and Phylis did it yesterday and said it was fantastic, but it takes 3 hours so it's too late to do it now. We are all going to mention this on our trip review forms which Didier handed out today, rather than at the end of the trip. Hurrah! We have been asking for this to happen for years.

We left our accommodation for the 45 minutes bus trip to Negombo. Ninety nine percent of the population are Roman Catholic. There are huge Catholic Churches everywhere and icons and statues on every corner. Negombo is known as Little Rome for this very reason.

Our first stop was the local fish market. It was stinking and filthy. It is very busy from 4 am to 9 am so there was no one much there when were there. Thank goodness. Just a few piles of colourful, stinking fish. It was totally revolting and I'm not sure why we had to visit it at all.

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We then visited the dry fish market which was located on the beach and was much better and interesting. The Indian Ocean was very very rough and wild. These fish are very salty and therefore the cats don't like them at all and keep away. Some of the drying fish are covered with colourful canopies which look lovely blowing in the wind.

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This guy, with such a lovely smile was telling us (through an interpreter) that he had paid $5,000 to a people smuggler to hop on a boat and come to Australia. He ended up in a detention centre in Australia, was deported, ended up in gaol in Sri Lanka and is now working salting fish. At least the people smuggler is still in gaol.

We called in to St Mary's Church for a few minutes but there wasn't much to see in there except some paintings and we weren't allowed to photograph them. The people here are so religious that the area in front of the church is packed every Sunday.

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We walked through the town which was very dilapidated and chaotic. We watched this guy gold plating a necklace. We walked to the boat for our sunset cruise and saw this car parked in the front of this house. I'm not sure how he got it in there in the first place or how he'd every get it out.

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We arrived at the wharf and boarded a crappy boat that was full of fumes and could hardly start. Finally they got it going and we took off, without any safety lecture, leaving the life jackets hanging on the rail on the wharf!!! The sunset cruise was pleasant enough with a nice sunset and millions of birds. Towards the end of the cruise, the boat was turned off and the captain couldn't start it again. He phoned for help, and some of his staff arrived in another boat, but by this time our boat had started again, but they followed us into the shore just in case we conked out again!

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Once on shore, Elizabeth missed her footing and fell over and got stuck between the wall, the ground and the turn stile but thank goodness, nothing was broken or sprained. Very lucky.

Back on the bus and drove to the Jetwing Blue hotel for our welcome dinner on the beach. It was a simply gorgeous setting, sitting on the beach under the palm trees with the waves crashing nearby and the food was great too. A very nice end to a very average day. But at least all our travelling companions are very nice and it will be a pleasure travelling with them for the next 13 days.

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We arrived back at the hotel at 10 pm and had to pack our bags ready to leave at 8 the next morning.

Posted by gaddingabout 08:35 Archived in Sri Lanka

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