During the first few weeks I had gotten close to someone from Ambalangoda, and I promised her I would come see her and her family before I left Sri Lanka.
Because Ambalangoda has no guest-houses (not that I am aware of) I stayed in Hikkaduwa, which is a tourist place and so it has several to choose from. Again I was more or less picked up from the bus station (I walked towards a chain of restaurants and was very warmly welcomed in a place where I would eat fried rice and was told about a guest-house owned by his brother. Both the guest house and the meal were reasonably priced when compared to the rest of the places I’ve stayed at (I’ve been told by locals, that REAL local prices for food and guest-houses are a lot lower). Don’t be afraid by “tourist hunters” near bus stations. I have some bad experiences and some good experiences with them. The bad one was solved by simply saying: “No, mata epa (I don’t want)” and walking away, and into the next guest-house. The best ones got me in really nice guest-houses that I would have missed otherwise by asking for a place from the lonely-planet. I intend to use http://www.tripadvisor.com/ more. I have good experiences with them as well.
Either way, the guy also made sure to mention that tomorrow there was a very nice “perraherra” in Hikkaduwa. A “perraherra” is a festival/ceremony. If you have ever seen the “cultural dancers” in Kandy, it’s a bit like that, only not for tourists, not as rigid and a lot more relaxed.
I don’t mean to discredit the dancers in Kandy. I’m sure they have the skills, and it can’t be easy dancing in front of an audience of tourists that stare at them all day long, but a real perraherra is just soooo much less rigid, and more lively. No pictures though, my camera takes lousy photos at night.
I wasn’t really planning on seeing it, I had seen plenty of festivals, dances, temples etc in Sri Lanka. I just wanted to visit my friend and her family, and head back to Negombo for the last 2 days. But after seeing my friend I didn’t have enough time to make it back to Negombo and check in with the guest-house again, so I did end up going back to Hikkaduwa afterwards. Seeing my friend was also nice. I didn’t eat much that morning, which I was now thankful for, because I got stuffed with papaya, banana, and other sweets. I love papaya 🙂 After I got back to Hikkaduwa I saw the Perraherra. I’m glad I did end up seeing it.
The next day I took a bus back to Colombo and Negombo. Bargained down a LOT for another room at the same place I stayed last time. The room I was in then was taken, so I was about to go to another guest-house for the same price. They stopped me in my tracks, and after some more bargaining I got one of the luxurious rooms with airport drop for basically the same price as the other room. I’m typing this post while I’m looking out over the palm trees, behind which lies the Indian ocean.
One more day, and I’ll be off to Indonesia…..