It was good to leave Colombo, its an OK place but not much to see and I would certainly suggest anyone who goes stays at a top hotel as the budget places did look very grim. The train to Galle was fine and one kind local took pity on me with my heavy backpack and gave up his seat for me, it took about 3h as they arent exactly express trains but for 60p whose complaining!
I arrived in the dark at the Shangri-La, only 4 rooms and 4 cabanas set in a large area with lots of palm trees so very attractive. My room is big and ensuite but there are no curtains in the bathroom so all sorts of wildlife from Mosquitos to lizards have joined me for a cold water only shower. Its a good place though, nice people and only 9 quid a night.
The next five days I spent at the Test Match, the first big cricket to be played at the Galle stadium since the Tsunami. There are some very sad stories I heard and some of the descriptions of the disaster were fascinating, all the clocks in the area are still set at 9.25 the time the wave hit on Boxing Day 2004. The match ended in a draw but England were very poor and saved by the rains on the 4th and 5th days. I spent the lunch breaks and rain delays on the Fort which is a great place to wander around, lovely scenery across the water and buildings which ooze character. There are some beggars though and if I heard the phrase "very poor man sir" once I heard it a hundred times.
During the match I met up with a lot of people I met in Kandy and Colombo which was great including guys from Shefield and Leeds. Also met Dogs mate Geggy and his crowd who were great company and we had a lot of fun. One night I got back so late the Shangri La was locked up and I ended up sleeping on a strangers mattress, and another I was a little tipsy and fell over and grazed my shin. Dont tell my Mum though, she'll only worry! I've also met ormer Crystal Palace chairman Peter Morley's daughter Alex and we had quite a chat until 4am one night and she's invited me to the Barmy Army (England Cricket Fans) Xmas day lunch.
The beach bars in the evenings are great, and there are big screens on the sandy beach showing the Premiership, with the waves crashing in as well its an idyllic spot. The beach is quite narrow but clean and very attractive with the palm trees leaning into the water.
Today I'm going to get my ipod and get my Xmas play list on, itll seem strange hearing Slade etc in 100 degree temperatures. I am just glad the weather as improved as it would have been very boring here at Xmas in te rain on your own.
Healthwise I am fine, have managed to avoid feeling hungover but do have a few itchy mozzy bites but all in all having a really good time even though I still miss home a bit sometimes - particularly this time of year.
Thanks again for the messages/texts/emails - really great to hear from everyone.