2.27.2020

Here Comes the Sun 斯里兰卡

Here comes the sun
Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
-The Beatles




I am so behind on blogging! To catch up, I will streamline the next few blogs. Streamlining is not my strong suit, but I'll try my best to avoid all the rewriting, editing, rehashing, and flowery language that takes so much time to publish a single blog. No five course French meals. You'll get the quick and easy BBQ dinner with a couple of store bought sides.

So let's go back to December. Let's go back to before this coronavirus craziness started and back before everyone thought people traveling from China are carriers of a deadly disease. (Stay tuned for more on the coronavirus in later posts.)

Just like we do every December during birdMAN's winter break, we left behind Beijing's cold and dry clime for a warm and balmy one. This year we landed in Sri Lanka. Oh, you don't know where Sri Lanka is? Don't feel bad. I didn't know either and neither do most people [1].

Let me help you out. Sri Lanka is an island country located in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, southeast of India. Ok, back to streamlining…

sri lanka arrows
Source: insider.com

Now that we travel with a small child, we play it pretty safe. We no longer go for crazy long bicycling or electric scootering trips, overnight bus rides to far-flung places, mountain climbing, day long snorkeling excursions, or eating food of questionable sanitary standards off the street. Yes, Sri Lanka offers all of these plus much more for adventurous travelers. Our idea of vacation, however, is to plant ourselves in a nice homestay that is conveniently located near a nice beach and plenty of good food. That is exactly what we got.

Basically, we played at the beach in the morning, followed by lunch, nap, dinner, and sleep. Start over the next day.

Shirani Nature Palace (NP) in Weligama was our base. We originally planned on staying there for only a few days, but we liked it so much that-- with the exception of a one night excursion to the jungle-- we ended up staying at Shirani NP for our entire week long vacation.

The homestay is a family run operation managed by the ever affable Lala and his lovely wife, Shirani. They treated us like family. Lala arranged an elephant safari, massage, and recommended good places to eat, not only saving us the hassle of research, but also saving us money. (Of course, he was doing his pals some favors giving them some customers. But everything was honest and we were more than satisfied.) Also the free monkey show every afternoon delighted three year old Dumpling. As we sipped mango juice and lounged in the courtyard, the monkeys pranced from branch to branch and occasionally snagged some snacks from the garbage bin.

Close encounter with the primate kind

Additionally, Shirani cooks up a wickedly, deliciously unforgettable Sri Lankan menu for the front side restaurant. Everyday mouth watering smells wafted out from the kitchen. Lentil curry was an everyday staple, but other curry variations included jackfruit, mango, okra, and dried fish ---all of it amazing. Complement the curries with coconut sambol and coconut roti, and you could die happy. Be still my stomach… I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.



We took one overnight excursion to the jungle for an elephant safari. Lala graciously arranged transportation, accommodations, and the safari tour. Elephant viewing is best early in the morning. So we woke up before the sun at 5 am, boarded our safari truck, and took a bumpy ride into the jungle. Our jungle homestay packed roti, egg, and fruit breakfast to go. We saw lots of peacocks, monkeys, and of course elephants! Dumpling had a blast.

So that's our winter vacation in a nutshell. The Sri Lankan people are the friendliest people in the world. The food is outstanding (if you can do spicy!). The weather sublime. We loved Sri Lanka and hope to go back soon.

How was that for streamlining?

Chinese word of the blog: 斯里兰卡 Sīlǐlánkǎ
EnglishTranslation: Sri Lanka

[1] No one knows where Sri Lanka is


Shirani the curry master
Oh curry! Be still my growling stomach
Lala: the friendly face of Sri Lanka
Dumpling makes friends easy!
Life is just beachy
Monkeying around
Fishers of fish
Surf's up!

Safari time
Bee-eater sighting
Stalking peacocking peacocks
This is way better than Disneyland