A Travellerspoint blog

Henry meets Mirissa and has a holiday!

we head a little further around the coast to Mirissa Beach, love it here and stay for 4 days.

Monday 25th November 13 (day 86)

We woke fairly early to a brilliant sunny day. Was almost temped to go for a swim in the ocean before breakfast but it was a little rough here at Tangalle and the sand was being churned up. Didn't really feel like getting a sandpaper like bath so decided against it.

We had breakfast at the hotel, tea and toast, paid our bill and were on our way. Only a fairly short drive today along the coast road to Mirissa Beach. Everyone we spoke to had recommended this place to us and when we arrived we could see why.

The drive here was along the coast road, but not much in the way of open spaces as little town extended into each other. Traffic was the busiest we have encountered on any roads. Driving through Matara was exciting as this is a fairly big place which means a lot more traffic, loads more buses pushing their way along the road. I'm sure the rule applies the bigger the vehicle the more right away they have, as these large chicken buses and clapped out old giant trucks act like we do not exist. But we made it through ok and before lunch I had done the hotel search and found a place for us to stay for the next 3 nights. As we are right on a nice beach we decided it would be nice to stay in one place for a couple of nights and do a day trip from here in the tuk tuk or just relax on the beach for a few days.

After checkin and cup of tea, we donned our togs and went up the beach a little to have a swim. Our hotel it situated at the far north end of the beach and there are rocks directly out from it, but a 20 metre walk and we are on a lovely sandy beach. Water here is much clearer than previous beach and so being churned up so much. And it is heavenly warm!!!

The whole beach is lined with beach restaurants who of course try to entice you to eat or drink with them as you walk past. We bypassed a few then found one where we saw someone at a table eating chicken schnitzel, this looked good to me so we chose this one to have lunch at. It really is a beautiful spot here and we are quite content to sit and watch the waves and people watch as the procession passes us by.

Another swim and then it was back to the hotel for a shower, we were not quite sure if our had hot water or not. The shower was not steaming but it was warm enough to stand under to wash our hair.

Coming on to sunset we went for another walk along the beach and now all the restaurants were advertising happy hour. We reached the end of the beach and on our way back found a place that was doing Rs250=$2 cocktails. Can't expect too much from a $2 cocktail but these were not bad for the price so we had 2 each and again sat watching the passing beach traffic and enjoyed the sunset. Now all the restaurants had our their seafood tables where they were again trying to entice people to come eat at their restaurants. The seafood looked fresh, but with all the fish, crabs, crayfish and prawns on display I wondered how it could be fresh everyday as sure it was not all going to be purchased tonight.

Well it certainly was not going to be purchased by us anyway. Having a biggish lunch we did not feel in the mood for a fish or still expensive crays, crabs or prawns. We struggled to find anywhere that was not selling seafood, and ended up back at our hotel. Although they also were trying to flog off an array of seafood, we were able to order a salad and chicken noodle stir fry.

Unfortunately, the music is loud again tonight, hopefully it will not go too late. Yes I know we are pikers - but really not into the night life.


Tuesday 26th November (day 87)

Woke to a brilliant sunny day with blue sky that stayed with us all day. It had rained quite heavily during the night but did not affect us.

Went up the beach to have breakfast, we saw a place last night that had tea and toast for Rs300 =$2.50 each. The same restaurant had beach chairs that were for customers and that is where we stayed all day. The toast was real bread not that sweet stuff we usually get in Asian countries.

As I said a beautiful day and perfect for laying on the beach, we did get up every now and then to walk the 10 meters into the warm Indian Ocean to cool off. And we did go back just a couple of steps into the restaurant to order lunch, only to return to the reclining chairs until at about 5pm when we were asked to move as they were clearing away the chairs and setting up the dinner tables and chairs on the beach.

That was fine we just strolled 20 meters and 2 restaurants up the beach and took another seat, ordered our Rs250 = $2 cocktails and again watched the sunset. Which today was a little clouded over. Great day!

When it turned dark we returned to our room up the end of the beach to have a shower and wash off the days worth of sand and salt. Decided to have dinner at our hotel as too lazy to walk back up the beach.

Both Lyn and I have a slight glow from a day in the sun, some would call it sun burn, but I know by morning the pinkish tinge would have turned into a darker shade of brown. Sorry, but we are just lucky and tan easy.

It's been a rest day for Henry as well and although we are here another night we are going to have to venture out tomorrow to the next town to find an ATM as we do not have enough cash to pay our hotel bill.


Wednesday 27th November (day 88)

Another beautiful sunny day today. So lucky we are having great weather while we are here at the beach.

We strolled down to our usual breakfast restaurant and had tea, toast and vegemite with a view to the ocean. We see a couple of the same people who have also been coming here a couple of days and smile a hello.

After breakfast we retire to the beach recliners and resume the position, only moving to go for a swim in the ocean to cool off.

We needed to go for a drive today to the next village only 4km away and get some cash from the ATM. When it hit 1 o'clock we thought we should make a move otherwise we would just stay here for the rest of the day and still not have any cash to pay our hotel bill tomorrow at checkout.

Henry has had a day of rest but before long we were back on the road and we found the bank and ATM in Weligama. Since we were already out and about and the distance was not too far I suggested to Lyn we head up the road along the coast a little to check out our next nights stop. Maybe we could look at some accommodation that we can move to tomorrow.

Less than 20 km away is Unawatuna beach - another spot that had been suggested to us. It was instantly more obviously that this location was much more touristy than where we were staying at Mirissa Beach. A lot more accommodation places and many many more tourist shops. We parked the tuk tuk and decided to hit the beach for a swim, the water looked beautiful and I must admit the water was a lot calmer than where we had been swimming. Big downfall though was this beach had a 2 meter strip of coral that you had to walk over just on the waters edge. This instantly turned me off as I prefer a sandy entry into the ocean. And then once in, there was about a one meter drop off - another minus for me as its ok to dive in but a struggle to get out when you have to climb up the drop off onto coral. However the water was lovely and warm and because it was calmer there was no sand being churned up and deposited into our swimming togs!!

While in the water we were chatting with some blokes who warned us to look out for our stuff left on the beach because there have been some locals snatch and running away with items left unattended. This did not sit well especially since we had just been for a visit to the ATM and had the cash with us as unable to lock it anywhere on the tuk tuk.

Struggled out of the water and had a bit of a walk up the beach to find a place for lunch. Same same on offer everywhere - same as the food places at Mirissa. We ended up having an overpriced hamburger from a shack owned by a expat Pommie. Food was ok, but being a western dish a little overpriced. Anyway we sat chatting with a couple of characters and had a few laughs so it was an enjoyable afternoon.

Around 5pm we decided to make a move as we had about a 45 minute drive back to our hotel in Mirissa and Lyn did not want to drive in the dark.

Coming out of the side street which met up with the main road, we stopped to give way to the traffic. There were 3 police men on the corner and one looked particularly mean and I almost thought he was going to stop us and check our papers just to be a pain. Lyn took off, turning onto the main road, when next thing I heard was a horn blasting and breaks screeching and all I could see was a white car speeding towards us with enough speed that I knew we were not going to make it across the road with out a collision.

And I was correct, the white car hit us full on in the side of Henry. On impact, I flew across the back seat of the tuk tuk like the cartridge on an old typewriter. Only instead of the sound of a bell when it hit the end there was an ugly sound of metal crashing into metal. I was totally astonished that our little vehicle did not roll over, must have hit far enough back that we were just pushed sideways.

Both Lyn and I seemed to be ok - I had bashed my right arm and leg on some thing during by flight across the seat but did not seem to be too bad.

Of course within minutes a huge crowd had gathered and were asking what happened, who we were and where were we from etc etc etc. I just told them to get lost - said it was none of their business and this did not make the crowd very happy.

Not sure if it was to our advantage or not that the police were on the scene and actually witnessed the accident. The vehicles were moved off the road as traffic was starting to build up and the police took all our paperwork. Really we had no idea what was happening, the crowd was growing and people just kept coming out of the wood work. It looked to me like the police were arguing with the driver of the white car, but having no understanding of the language it was impossible to know what they were saying to him.

We were unable to phone the tuk tuk rental company as the cops had the paper work with the phone number and did not want to give it back. No one from either vehicle was hurt and both vehicles were still drivable and next thing be knew we were told to get in the tuk tuk and the mean looking policeman was driving it back to the police station.

Here we spent the next couple of hours not really knowing what was happening as none of the police could speak enough english to tell us anything. Finally we were able to contact Rocky our rental guy and then the negotiations started. Rocky spoke to the cops and the driver of the white car. When I finally got him on the line he explained that the cops said it was our fault as we pulled into the main road - they claim we had not stopped, but this was bullshit because it was impossible not to stop and the 3 cops who were standing there saw us stop as everyone notices us because of Lyn driving. But of course its our word against theirs and as we are at a loss language wise we can do nothing.

Rocky conveyed to me that the cops wanted Rs10,000 ($82) and the driver wanted Rs15,000 ($123), I protested to this as this was obviously bribe money and a total crock! The cops were pulling some bullshit story about Lyn's licence not being valid for a tuk tuk when it clearly states it is valid for a 3 wheeler. They said we would not be getting the tuk tuk back and that the owner had to come and collect it. Rocky tried to explain to me that it was all just a ploy for the cops and the driver to get money from us. He spoke to them both again. There was little we could do, we had been there for a few hours and were getting nowhere, they would not let us go and would not let us take the tuk tuk.

Further negotiations with Rocky speaking to the cops and then when I spoke to him again, he advised he had bargained the payment down to Rs10,000 ($82) for the driver and nothing to the cops. I have no idea how he did this but it seemed our only option was to pay the driver off and get the hell away from the cop shop.

There was another tuk tuk driver who had just walked in off the street who was helping us with translations. I got him to make sure that if I paid the driver the amount requested we could just all walk away, no police report, no problems, nothing - he said yes that is the way it works. The police will not release any cars involved in an accident until an agreement has been reached between the two parties involved.

So I got the money, gave it to the driver, Lyn was given the key and we drove off. I have no idea if the driver gave any money to the cops but I'm gunna give Rocky a hug when I see him as his talking to them on the phone sorted it out and saved us a bit of money too.

Rocky had assured me we would have no problem with him and the tuk tuk as it is insured and I'm sure the white car was insured also. It did seem a hell of a waste of time for the police and they got nothing out of it, although they were complaining to Lyn that they were underpaid and should be given something when I went to get the drivers money.

So one hell of an afternoon! Just lucky we were not hurt and I guess paying $80 was a cheap price to get out of it all.

Ended up having to drive back in the dark anyway, a little shaken and cautiously we returned to our hotel and asked if we could stay another night. Need the day tomorrow to recover from this little bit of excitement!

Once back in the room I could take a look at my injuries more closely. Mmmmm a bit of skin off and a nice big lump on the shin of my right leg and same near elbow off my right arm. No doubt I'll have a colourful bruise tomorrow.

We opted for dinner at our hotel and raised a glass of beer to our good fortune today. We were lucky it could have been a lot worse.


Thursday 28th November 13 (day 89)

We slept very late today, not sure if it was due to the stress from last night or the fact that the bar next door played duf duf music until about 2am. Either way we had a very lazy morning and finally got up and out when hunger took over.

My leg is a little stiff and sore today and found a couple of other bruises but nothing major so all good.

Today is a not as blue skied as our last 3 have been, but it's still warm enough to lazy away the day at the beach.

Unfortunately the ocean is a little rough today. The waves are real dumpers which made for good people watching who went out for a swim as almost everyone was knocked over and tossed about by the forceful waves. Don't worry we copped the same when we went in and no doubt someone had a bit of a laugh at our expense too as we were tossed down and forced to choke on a mouthful of sea water. All good fun.

We stayed until the sunset, like every other day we have spent here on Mirissa beach. It is really nice here, but we really must move on tomorrow as we have to get the tuk tuk back to Negombo on Saturday as we fly out early Sunday morning. It's not really all that far from here (about 150km) but tuk tuk's are not allowed on the motor way so we have to take the back roads and we have been told it's about a 9 hour drive in a tuk tuk. If we depart here tomorrow we will be able to break this long drive into 2 days.

We had dinner at the restaurant next door tonight. Should not really give them our custom as they are the ones playing music until the wee hours but we needed a change from our place and the food was quite good.


Posted by Cindy Bruin 03:41 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged mirissa

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So glad you two weren't badly hurt. It could have been disastrous! Good thing it happened near the end of the tuk tuk driving....!
Hope the drive back to Negombo was uneventful.

by Mandy Young

Confucious say: Woman who sit in back seat of tuk tuk can make joke but is not prangster.

by Raymond O'Shanassy

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