Fiona and Ash's Gap Year Extravaganza travel blog

Balloons at Modrawila camp

Darren, Alfie, Tom (Metro), Ash, Alex in Hikkaduwa

Vinuja and Ashley at Soysa's

Lunch for two. I'm getting such a rice-belly

Bull and cart carrying rice sacks

Sorry for not posting anything for 2 weeks. And we have no photos. Aren't we useless. Its not entirely our fault (can you see the feeble excuse coming) Ok my camera broke so mum and dad left me theirs which doesn't work either. For no good reason or anything. So we are down to one camera. Then a volunteer who shall go by the code name "Justy" spilt lemon gin all over Ash's camera and that broke too. But it dried out after a couple of days. So we're back on track with the cameras and should be able to put some pics up soon.

On the subject of broken stuff Ash's phone fell out of his pocket in a tuk-tuk so we're down to one camera and one phone.

Our first week back from Mount Lavinia was spent at the tsunami camp kids club in Modrawila. This was possible the most knackering experience of my life. They simply don't tire. It was great fun though, especially because it was holidays so we didn't have to teach them anything it was all just playing games. Whats the time Mr Wolf goes down a treat but they all cheat and turn around. I can now do a Sri Lankan clapping song but pretend I know the words and just mumble. We made cards and taught them the colours and still only one of them knows my name. She says "Biona" but I'm satisfied, its really cute and she always puts on my hat and sunglasses and sandals pretending to be me and walks around saying "Biona! Biona!"

This was also the week we discovered Gillian's host family had a DVD player. Well that was our evenings sorted. Gillian had bought bootleg OC seasons 1+2 from Colombo and Ash is now an addict going cold turkey because Gillian has just left and gone to Sydney so he can't see what happens. Haha.

Alex, a volunteer in the next village had his 21st birthday out here and decided to do things in style. He booked out a whole hotel for about 100 quid and we had a big BBQ and party. Its about 3 pound for a litre of vodka here or less for the local spirit Arrack which is killer but nicer than the vodka. Alex was sent to bed looking green literally green.

Our first day back at school after the new year (Sinhala + Tamil new year) was a joke. Apparently the children were supposed to clean the school before lessons began to enter the new year in the right way. We stayed at school all day with all the other teachers doing nothing and then when they had finished cleaning we were told. "The children are very tired. Perhaps we will start lessons tomorrow" It was a "should have stayed in bed" sort of day. They kept trying to give us milk rice as well which is smush a bit like dried up porridge but you have to pretend its really nice becuase its an "auspicious food".

Ash got a bite on his ankle which got infected and swelled up so he couldn't walk or wear a shoe. We went to the Dr.s and he got put on the white waiting list which unsurprisingly he was the only one on. They rushed him though ahead of all of these sick babies and old people with his fat foot which was really really, awkward and embaressing but they actually give you no choice. Its better now luckily and he's just got a pink patch where the bite was. Did look really gross and yellow though.

Went to Hikkaduwa at the weekend which is a backpacker surfer tourist place. This means everything's really expensive. About 12 volunteers stayed with a host family down there, the De Soysas. The grandad is really drunk all the time and absolutely hilarious and they have 2 children called Vinuja and Satna who are beautiful and very cheeky so they got loads of fuss.

We ate at Soysas friday night and we won't talk about the rest of it because I got blind drunk. If you are not a blood relative and would like to know what happened you are probably best off asking Ash but I could tell you a few things that other people told me happened. Alex and I cleared the dance floor with our crazy moves.

Saturday Ash and some others decided it would be a good idea to go surfing. With no lessons, no experience and shit boards. They were quite a sight. I was camerawoman for the obligatory Hawaii 5-0 shots on the beach. Very camp! In the water was a different matter. Legs were flying everywhere for hours. No one actually got up onto the surf boards but they assured me that they had a great time anyway. Well they weren't thinking quite the same the next morning covered in grazes from the rocks and boards and every muscle aching. But we won't go on too much about that.

I also went along with some of the boys and got shorts made so I have my very own pair of surfer shorts. They're bright blue and flowery with pink flowery stripes down the side. Ash got some cool red ones which are probably the loudest item of clothing he's ever bought. We stayed in at Soisas for dinner (cheap) and played a game called symbols. everyone has a catchphrase or gesture to symbolise themselves and you have to pass around the group. Can't describe it very well but its hilariously good. My symbol was anas-anazee which is what the pineapple sellers shout.

After we went to a bar called funky de bar. We hitched a ride with a monk in a van which is one for the diary! I got chatting to this guy called John who moved to Sri Lanka after his divorce. He ended up offering me a job in Sri Lanka whcih was pretty cool but I said maybe in 4 years or something. Can't miss the Leeds experience!

We were all sleeping "four in the bed and the little one said" at Soysa's to keep it cheap. Its quite funny meeting someone and then sharing a bed with them and some others that very night. Met new girl Hannah who seems nice and is up in Negombo.

Sunday we were meant to go to a childrens new year party near where we live. It was organised by one of the school teachers. Realised though that we didn't have his phone number as it was on Ash's phone which some tuk tuk driver had got his mitts on. Felt really bad as we had no way to even let them know we couldn't come. To make things worse when we got home on monday we found out he had been round to our house and dropped off really detailed directions. Even how much the bus costs.

To make up for this we went to school at 7am on Wednesday (means getting up at 5:30) because they were opening a new shrine and this is the "auspicious" time to do it. They were clearly desperate for us to come "for everyone to see you", which doesn't at all make you feel like a freak show. Also they wanted us to take pictures for them. We were there on time luckily. There was lots of chanting and praying. A piece of white thread was passed between all the praying hands. Music was played by the students including a conch being blown! I tried to be an observer but one of the year 8's mums adopted us and gave us flowers to leave as an offering. Then we had to kneel in front of all the monks in turn. Then we had to go up again and they tied a piece of thread around our wrist. Then once more for luck and you had a little "holy water" - for want of a better word poured into your hands which you had to drink. I am so sure I dribbled some of it on the monk! This is the only time I have seen Sri Lankans queue.

After the ceremony we had to leave as Ash had managed to leave his cash card in Hikkaduwa. In Eng you get your card back first. In SL you get it back last. This obviously catches out a lot of travellers as there was a stack of cards all been left in the machine. So Wednesday was 4 hours on the train but we did find a cafe where they slice they're own chips. Makes all the difference!

Tata for now Fiona xxx

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