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SCUBA!!

When we finally arrived in Trincomalee, I was still tired. I just wanted a nap. I asked for a tuk tuk with a meter, having learned in Colombo that was smartest. But the guy said that there are none in Trinco. (I have to say that I never saw one there, despite looking, so he was probably telling the truth.) I overpaid to my hotel, and was greeted. The guy told me that I should enjoy their beach for now, which I figured was a great place to hang out until checkin. Naptime on the beach was just what I needed! At some point, it got too hot to stay out in the sun. I moved to a beach-view chair inside and pulled out a book to relax in the shade. Despite the fact that it was hours until check in, they offered me my room early. I guess they could see how exhausted I was. My reservation said a room with a beach view, and the room they gave me certainly didn't have that. Three walls were solid block, and the fourth had both a door to the main eating area/hallway and a window that opened onto the same. I didn't care. It had a bed, so I slept on it, door and window wide open for circulation. I felt sooooo much better when I awoke from that nap. I grabbed some snacks, read for a bit, and got ready to dive. Nilaveli dive center sent a free tuk tuk to pick me up right from my hotel. The ride wasn't too long, but it was interesting. The roadside temples were beautiful and plentiful. We had to stop or swerve several times in order to avoid cows in the road. We eventually reached an area that was clearly just a bunch of tourist resorts. This is where we pulled over. For people who don't need the shops and restaurants of a city, this is a great place to be. It's calmer, quieter, and there's nothing to do but beach. The dive center got me all geared up, including a shortie suit, which surprised me, as it's so jot here. We were scheduled for 2 dives. The divemaster asked, "it's supposed to storm later. If we do a second dive, we may surface into thunder, lightning and rain. Is it ok if we only do the one dive instead of 2?" Uh, yeah, I'm a huge fan of coming back alive. Why is this even an option? So we went out onto the boat and sped out to their favorite dive site. We rolled off the boat and I promptly lost a flipper. Fortunately, the dive master recovered it quickly and I was able to continue the dive. We descended into some coral on rocks, and saw a bunch of fish right away. (Sorry the pictures are very blue. I got a new camera and apparently didn't turn the filter on.) The dive took us in a few circles around the area, and we observed plenty more fish, an eel, some urchins, a few poisonous coral, and more fish. Nothing was super large or crazy, but it was fun. The divemaster pointed out several lionfish, but there weren't nearly as many here (where they're supposed to be) as there were in St. Kitts (where they're an invasive species). At one point my mask started to slip because I don't have my usual ponytail to keep it on. Only experience let me know that I was having to clear my mask too much. I was able to catch to and resecure it before it fell completely off and I lost my second piece of gear. Instead, the second thing I lost was a weight that fell from the BCD pocket towards the end. Again, the divemaster was able to retrieve it. It was only a few seconds, but I was able to react appropriately- empty the BCD, swim downwards and toward the weight, grab ahold until the weight was replaced. I was pleasantly surprised by my underwater emergency reaction skills. We ascended without incident, and returned to the beach. As we were getting sorted out, we heard an ice cream truck jingle. Here, they have bread trucks instead of ice cream trucks. The dive masters all ran out to the bread truck to buy their dinners because there aren't any other places nearby to get food for locals. If they miss the bread truck, they're out of luck. I split what could best be described as an empanada with egg and potato samosa filling. I walked over to the resort restaurant for real food though, but they said that the kitchen was closed for another hour or so. Oh well. I got the free tuk tuk back to the hotel, showered all of the salt off of me, and headed into town for food for now and provisions for tomorrow. The market area in Trinco was the same as Colombo- tiny shops side by side with no space in between, all selling the exact same stuff. Want sandals? Every sixth shop has the exact same sandals. Want the pants patterned with elephants that all the tourist have (I think because you can't wear pants so many times in this heat as you normally can, so people accidentally underpacked)? Every sixth shop has them. Want samosas or spicy donuts? Every sixth shop has them. Want jewelry? You guessed it- every sixth shop. Actually, as I was looking for a sit down restaurant, I kept thinking I saw one, but they all turned out to be jewelry shops. If only the food establishments here were half as clean as the jewelry shops, I think people would be much healthier. Eventually, I ran into some Swedes staying at the same hotel as me. They recommended Green Park Hotel's restaurant, as they enjoyed it yesterday. It was also recommended in Lonely Planet. So we ate there. One thing I've noticed about the Tourists here is that everybody (including myself) is carrying around Lonely Planet. Usually, I see a large mix of Rick Steves, Fodor's, Frommer's, Michelin, LP, and others, as well as people making do with the free hotel maps. I checked before I came, but really nobody else has much on this country, so LP is sort of the only choice. Also, other cities have that tourist map that tells you what to see, where to eat, and where to buy (10% discount included!). Even Colombo didn't have one, making getting around a bit difficult. Not a chance a tiny city like Trinco would have one. The restaurant had a wide variety of Indian dishes, local dishes, and other. I got one of my favorite Indian curries with rice, and was pleased. They added "tutti fruttis" (like those gelled "fruits" that go in fruitcakes) to the curry, which I'd never seen before, but they added a pleasant sweet contrast. I returned to the hotel, chilled, and went to bed. Then the fun started. First, the room was incredibly stuffy. With the door closed, but window (to the main room) open, curtains drawn, I was pretty sealed in. That was good against mosquitos, but a fan can't do so much under those circumstances. Had I been in a position to be picky in the morning, I probably would have rejected it, but it was now too late. Second, my stomach was screaming in pain. I'm very careful about water- the thing I hate most about bad-water countries is brushing my teeth out of a bottle. I always wash my hands before eating, and try to use silverware when possible. I don't know for sure that it was dinner, but I don't know what else I put in my body that was even remotely risky. I took the first cipro I've ever taken in my life, although in Greece I probably could have used one. It felt like somebody had started doing their science fair volcano in my stomach, but at least it stopped being painful. Between the heat and the bathroom breaks, I didn't get the best sleep, although I still felt more rested than when I got off the night train.

Landscape from train

Landscape from train


Beach at Dyke Rest

Beach at Dyke Rest


Hindu temple in town

Hindu temple in town


Beach by SCUBA diving

Beach by SCUBA diving


Cows in the road

Cows in the road


SCUBA diving

SCUBA diving


SCUBA diving

SCUBA diving


Mosque

Mosque

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in Sri Lanka

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