A very long journey by bus found us back in Negombo. We left Unawatuna at midday and arrived at our hotel at around 8:30. The 200km journey was arduous as both buses were choc-a-block and the day was hot and muggy. The plan to celebrate our scuba achievement went out the window as we were just too tired to do anything but have dinner.
We had a quiet last day in Sri Lanka, a couple of hours at the beach, a nice walk and then lunch. Then back to the hotel for a final pack of our bags and a very early night as we had to be up again at 2:30am.
We had some time to reflect on our time here and we it's a country we found difficult to summarise. It's an island of extremes, from the landscape to the people's attitudes. It's certainly an island of great beauty and the Sri Lankan people are starting to realise what a commodity there land is. We had people trying to rip us off for a few hundred rupees extra and people who showed us such kindness and hospitality, we didn't want to leave them. The people we met were quick to talk and interesting to talk to. Their friendliness often had a layer of 'dust' that needed a bit of work to get at the dazzling smiles that eventually came.
Our time here wasn't the paradise we were expecting, on the whole we spent much of our time being slightly disappointed, whether it was a bad meal, an expensive tuktuk or someone's attitude toward us. (Jan came up with the perfect comment of "we're tourists, we're not stupid"). Their parting shot at the airport was that they wouldn't accept our remaining rupees to buy anything other than cheap rubbish. Would we come back? Probably not, equally, this small island has given us some of the most amazing experiences of our lives, how could we not enjoy a place that brought us face to face with wild elephants and leopards? How could we ever forget the crystal clear sea where we learnt to dive?