Day 10 – 05APR2014: Tangalle -> Mirissa
Distance: 56 km
Time on bike: 2h 51m
Avg. speed : 19.5 km/h
Total (km) : 790
Altitude: 2 m
I’m in for a tropical beach treat today. Sri Lanka reveals yet another side of its split personality. And it’s hard not to be impressed by the beauty of the southern coastline…
On most of the beaches I see today, there’s an almost complete lack of tourists or signs of tourism development. Refreshing. If not totally deserted, all you see is colorful, local fishing boats, palm trees, a few stray dogs and not much else.
Though looking like some extinct creature from days gone by, these water monitors are found all over the island, near the coastline or the water reservoirs that dot the Sri Lankan interior. Yesterday, while talking photos at the fishing harbour in Tangalle, I was shocked when suddenly I looked down and saw a huge fella’ just 1 meter behind me. He must have been blind or I must have been having one of my Smell-Good Days.
Town beach in Dundra. Just behind me is the Dundra Lighthouse, situated on the southern most point of Sri Lanka.
Boxing Day, December 26th 2004 is a day the world will never forget. An estimated 230.000 souls lost their lives to a devastating tsunami triggered by a huge earthquake in the Indian Ocean. Unfathomable. Some 35.000 Sri Lankans lost their lives that day – a tragic fact that too many tombstones along the southern coast confirm.
Took a little dip on this (my private) beach…
Mirissa Beach is one of the more popular beach areas on southern Sri Lanka. I quickly understand why, and the decision to pull the brakes for today and stay is not a difficult one. Incroyable!
“Excuse me, but is your name Nicolai?”
I’d just put down my sarong on the beach, ready for some unplugged quality time under the fierce afternoon sun and didn’t expect anyone around to know my name, so I must have looked quite surprised when I replied “Uhh, yeah, that’s me” and nodded confirming.
A little chat follows, and it turns out that the Danish couple standing in front of me have seen my round-the-world-by-bike presentation a few years ago in Denmark. Being recognized on a small Sri Lankan beach is probably the last thing I expected, but there you go…
Behind the beach in Mirissa, most of the local businesses is somehow there to serve the tourists (whale safari, restaurants, gem stores), but still it’s all very low-key in a very charming and slow-paced way.
Tucked away in the jungle behind the beach, I find the Amarasinghe Guest House. 1000 Rp/night (7.65 USD). I picked the cheapest room and it ain’t posh in any way. But it’s got a mossie net, the owner is kind and welcoming, the garden is a great oasis with heaps of different tropical plants and trees humming with life (and mosquitoes at dusk/dawn).