Arugam Bay

My trip from Tangalle to Arugam Bay was where I truly learned the misery of public transport in Sri Lanka and the unfortunate lack of other options between towns in the middle of the country. I would have happily paid $20 CDN for the 5 hour bus ride from Tangalle to Arugam Bay but unless you want to pay a tuk tuk driver close to $100 CDN to make the trip or you are in a big enough group to hire a full bus, you’re out of luck in Sri Lanka. So I paid $3 CDN for the bus ride.

There were no seats available when I got on the bus. So I stood. For three hours. During the ride an awesome lady got on the bus and sung us a song which was the highlight of the trip. Later on there was a some yelling and then I saw a dude smack another fellow square in the face right next to me. The fellow who got hit was promptly kicked off the bus. I thought he was a pick-pocket but it turned out that his offence was hitting on single ladies. Damn!

The second portion of the bus ride was worse. When I switched buses, the bus was crazy packed and hot. To the point that I was sweating buckets on seated passengers next to me. Two hours into my three hour ride, I got off the bus and paid a tuk tuk driver $20 CDN to take me the rest of the way. I really hated Sri Lankan buses at that point and fortunately that was the worst I got.

A shot from the lovely ride in:

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Arugam Bay is a surfing town. Unfortunately, when I went was the off season, when the waves are at beginner level. Usually off-season is good but for Arugam Bay that literally meant that beach front hotels were totally shut down. Some offered rooms but none offered any drinks or food by the beach, totally bizarre.

I was staying at a super cool hotel called the Danish Villa, definitely my favourite place in all of Sri Lanka. It’s owned by a Danish couple who must have a design background. I say that because the room was made of gorgeously sculpted cement. The bed, the nigthstands, and even the bathroom sink were all made of stunning polished cement. As a bonus they had the cutest puppy ever and made a huge breakfast included in the price all for $40 CDN a night which was a deal. The hotel:

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The awesome cement furniture room:

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Okay, my mom is going to kill me when she reads this but the following day I wanted to check out the surrounding areas and decided that a motor bike was the best way to go. I ended up covering close to 200 km, so it was the only viable option. In my defence, there are two things that made my decision sensible. First, when you rent a motor bike in Sri Lanka as opposed to a normal bike, you actually get a helmet. Second, I pledged never to go faster that I would in bike so aside from passing I kept my speed under 40 kmph which should keep my mom happy. My third defence is this gorgeous countryside that I would have been otherwise unable to capture:

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But seriously, how do you avoid going on a motor bike on a road as gorgeous as this?

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On my last day in town I decided to try out surfing for the first time. I took a lesson, which essentially consisted of a local holding the board for me and pushing me into oncoming waves. I.e. don’t bother with a lesson. Though I did catch a wave on my first push, another with the dude, and one on my own which I think is an achievement for a rookie.

I’ll leave you with some shots of two restaurants I went to at night (won’t endorse either as they were kinda sucky):

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3 thoughts on “Arugam Bay

  1. Vaya, pues hijo de tigre pintito. Ya volaste en un ultralijero y ahora anduviste en moto. Para mi las mejores experiencias de aventura son excursionando en las montañas, pescando mar adentro, viajando en moto y sobre todo volando. Lo de los 40 km por hora en terracería esta bien, en carretera mas vale andes un poco mas rápido para que no te lleven de encuentro. Sigo andando en moto y camino todos los días en la montaña. La pesca un poco menos pero al menos pie en playa, la sigo haciendo. Surfear nunca lo he intentado, la verdad no se me antoja, pues no se nadar muy bien. Algún día que vengas a Ixtapa puedes tomar clases.
    Tus experiencias en la transportación han sido fabulosas, solo falta saber si no ten han pasado algún animalito (piojo, liendre, garrapata, chinche, etc.).
    Las fotos muy buenas. Muy bonitos paisajes.
    Un abrazo.

    Like

  2. Nice dynamic range on the landscape shots. If you haven’t done any HDR, I highly recommend this. Just take three photos, bracketing minus two, zero, and plus two. I think 100 ISO and whatever shutter speed you need. Handheld is fine. Then composite with any number of plug-ins. Just google HDR plug-in for whatever photo editing software you use.

    Good job not getting yourself killed on the bike.

    Like

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