Returning to Hikkaduwa

Everyday is ice cream day when on vacation

The place we had booked for one night in Hikkaduwa, Villa Hikka, had decided that the room wasn’t available after all and notified me via email. I hadn’t seen this so started the morning with finding another place and ended up booking Casalanka, a cheap place just next to Salty Swamis and conveniently close to Kalle & Gunnels hotel for one night as well.

Sometime during the night my body had also had an internal mixup, likely due to some food ingestion, so now I did all my peeing from my behind – not really nauseous and no signs of throwing up so I considered myself lucky, although the timing wasn’t perhaps epic given today and tomorrow we would travel around and change rooms etc. Well well.

Mona and Juni went to Galle to have a look at the poor merchantman’s chair from his home and get some ice cream while I packed everything and we would then meet up in Hikkaduwa. I carefully packed everything this time and settled the bill with the host who was very anxious to get a good review on I then tried getting a car to Hikkaduwa – which wasn’t that popular with the PickMe app but I had a podcast and knew Mona wouldn’t be done for some time and eventually a driver accepted.

Mona had not surprisingly fallen in love with the other chair too and wanted to be picked up in Galle on the way, so said and done – my driver was flexible on stopping since it wasn’t much of a detour. After realizing there are conveniently two different places in Galle that are called Dutch Hospital (well, one with “old” in front but that’s negligible) we met up and started to pack everything in the small car. With love, patience and a little luck we fit everything and headed off to our new stay Casalanka. We got there, unloaded and checked in, just in time to meet up with Kalle for late lunch at Salty Swamis.

Did you say organic, vegetarian, healthy and some new age mumbo-jumbo? I’ll take it.

It was really hot today, so after lounging for some time at Salty Swamis we decided to rest in our room (and Kalle were off to meet Gunnel anyway) rather than visiting the beach. After realizing we could get a quite better price on Galle Face Hotel in Colombo through Tripadvisor/Agoda than we pulled the trigger there and booked it – felt nice to be done with searching for more places to stay at. I picked up some of my neglected podcasts and relaxed – and it seemed my body slowly is adjusting itself to work as intended again which was promising. Some blogging while Mona took a nap and then Kalle called and asked if he should pick up Juni to meet Sanuki and the others. That sounded like fun for her and us so we shipped her off. I did some research on how to be able to get those chairs back to Oslo, since they clearly didn’t fit in our bags even when in pieces.

After some research and blogging Mona called from a stroll and suggested we had a drink watching the surfers and the sunset from the place below – which I off course accepted. This is where I realize that the lock to the door isn’t simply working – or to be specific the door locks but a rather gently push opens the “locked” door anyways – less than ideal and I’m starting to think there may be a curse I have regarding locks. The host is surprised about this and offers us to change the room which I wish to avoid if possible and he says that he will try to fix the lock right away.

After a drink and some time Juni came back with Kalle & Gunnel, and she had been given sandals and a watch as a gift from Sanuki and was very enthusiastic about this. The lock worked nicely this time – I decided not to jinx things by forcing the door too hard though. We all chatted in our room for some time, we weren’t really in the mood for a proper dinner but went back to the restaurant at the beach and had some snacks and another drink at the bar by the beach.

Everyone was tired after the hot day so we said are good nights after a cold shower went to bed.

Turtles and Swedes

Just another day of hardships

We had a nice and sleepy morning with a classic English breakfast at the hotel – there is that different flavor to their milk which I really appreciate in the tea. We took a tuk-tuk to Turtle-beach (Wijaya beach – of course there are two Turtle beaches) based on Mona’s blogging research. Well there where we got two sunbeds with some shade, and were playing in the small lagoon protected from the larger waves.

We had a nice Pizza lunch at Wijaya and some juices and milkshakes (not on the menu, but popular with the visitors). Speaking of visitors, this was apparently where all the Swedish people had chosen to hide out. Mona said that the blog was indeed in English so it was a surprise to her as well. We managed to see a large wild sea turtle, and this time Juni was less sceptic to them. She also expressed she wanted to see Kalle & Gunnel again so we decided we would take our remaining undecided day in Hikkaduwa and booked something close to Kalle & Gunnel.

After playing in the lagoon with Juni for quite some time the darker clouds started to show up and as we packed up our stuff it started to drizzle. We took a tuk-tuk back to the hotel and Mona and Juni picked up the laundry and had some fika while I looked at some photos and did some blogging. Mona then called and asked if we shouldn’t head over to Galle for another sunset there. Why not?

We asked the host what the recommended price would be, he said that we should use the app PickMe and get good prices which was news to us. As for this specific trip, he was going to Galle anyway so if it was ok with us we could go with him and his friend in his own car in a few minutes – which was more than fine. They dropped us off right outside where we stayed last time, and we ended up getting 4-5 minutes of really nice light before the sun set so timing was flawless.

Another sunset at Galle with colors the camera can’t fully capture

As we were done with the sunset I sensed Mona might have had a less ulterior motive as she returned to some stores I’m quite sure she’s been at at least 3 times before. She bought some cloth at a designer shop, to possible use for a bench we didn’t have, but that should go with our possibly new kitchen-table. Again hearing Swedish chatter every now and then – perhaps I was more attuned to it now?

We had dinner at “A minute by Tuk-tuk” in the old dutch hospital area – and got a table between to tables of Swedish people. The food was really nice, service quick but I didn’t have the best appetite yet so were able to finish my plate, indeed some of my bathroom breaks had now become more urgent and also shorter in duration.

After being really full we went by our favorite leather shop, where we where by first name basis now. They happily explained that the now had the chair Mona had been pining for in darker leather and without any prints. After some going back and forth trying it out and a brief but mandatory haggling session she bought it. When she mentioned that she actually was looking for a pair one of the merchants confessed that he did have such a chair at home, in his home and if we wanted he could bring it to the shop (and he could buy another chair next time they restock). Which Mona was happy to agree to. During our stay Juni showered in minor gifts – it will be a fun experience explaining that you don’t get gifts when in or passing stores where we live.

We were now definitely done for the day and tried using the PickMe app (local version of Uber I assume) to get home, it was very smooth to book a car and the price was less than half of what we would expect a tuk-tuk would cost. The driver a bit afraid of tuk-tuk drivers however and when arrived asked us to move 100 meters to avoid getting into physical fights with the younger tuk-tuk drivers. I can clearly see the downsides with the gig-economy but getting access to proper cars without hassle is a real market. We got home safely and smoothly and tipped but still was way cheaper.

Refunds & Pasta worth waiting for

I didn’t sleep that well, it felt like a possible hangover but seems odd from only one Long Island Ice Tea and a glass of bubbles during the evening. Some Hollow Knight gaming and a smaller selection from the breakfast remedied some of the nausea and we spend some time at the now long-honored pool to get the most out of the morning. Kalle & Gunnel had been up before us and were told that they didn’t need to think about check-out times when they asked.

We aimed for a late check-out for all then, and I initiated the complaint by informing the staff manager briefly about how we felt about gala dinner and the stay so far and asked them to consider a fair compensation or similar. I mentioned that for example the late check-out that Kalle & Gunnel had been given would be nice to have for all of us as a start. This sparked confusion, it was not possible with late checkout for anyone, new guests were coming etc. Sometimes when presenting a complaint I can feel like I’m hang up on minor details but when example after example of miscommunication presents itself even while doing the complaint it’s easier to illustrate the crux of the matter.

After informing Kalle & Gunnel of the changed plans for check-out they called to adjust their pick-up and we all freshened up and packed our stuff. After carrying out the bags I approached the manager and asked what they had come up with after some time for consideration. They suggested a free lunch for us. I was flabbergasted and pointed out to start that they had said we needed to check-out at twelve, which was quite soon, so we had adjusted our travel plans and no need for a lunch here. The counter-offer was that they could prepare a take-away lunch, at this time I very calmly told him that this was completely unacceptable and we were so far off the mark for what I considered to be fair that my suggestion is that we part ways and let arbitrate the matter for us since I didn’t wish to argue or spend more time regarding this. He was a bit taken back, and as I was on the phone with going through the mishaps briefly and tried to clarify the best procedure (should we leave now, or pay first and then reclaim money from booking etc) he tried to talk to me. After I finished that call, would contact the hotel to get their side of the story and confirm the basic facts – but now the manager had spoken to some chairman and suddenly offered to cut the price for the gala dinner in half. Which was fairly reasonable concerning the dinner. However he hadn’t done anything about the room we only got access to at 18:00, I pressed and he after some call could offer 10% and I decided to just accept it and be done with this sad story. We settled our bills and said our final goodbyes and took a tuk-tuk to Tradition Garden Hotel (formerly known as Prime Time).

If you think the clothing seems weird, wait til you hear explain her rules to the game

The place was previously run by a Swedish person but now taken over by a local host, who was very eager to ensure we had a good stay. There were some board games around to Juni’s delight so she played with them for quite some time while charming the staff. Outside the hotel was an old man selling various handcrafted bracelets etc – every time he saw Juni he gave her a small gift and refused any payment. I was not given any gifts myself despite my natural charm and good looks.

Wool pants that are worn despite being torn in 30° – why not?

We had a late lunch in Unawatuna, and after giving a bag of dirty laundry to a shop nearby for washing we took a brief look and some ice cream at the local beach. The beach was OK but not that impressive or well suited for Juni, but at least presented a decent sunset spot. We discussed where to spend our last three days after this stay was over and thought two days in Colombo would be fine, which left only one day between this stay and Colombo.

After the sun had set we took a longer stroll through the main road of Unawatuna, which reminded me of a compressed version of Thailand in 1999. We eventually got hungry and saw a sign saying “Roberto & Marco Ristorante Italiano” and thought why not see what proper Italian food we could get.

It was a few tables there but not busy (which I guess is fair given it’s New Years day), Mona ordered a pizza and I spaghetti with a tomato and red-wine based sauce. It sure took its time at this place as well, but it seems the chef was indeed one old Italian guy who seemed to give zero fucks about how long time people had to wait as long as he did the recipes just like he wanted them. Which was very very good. I rarely order pasta and end up positively surprised but this was one of those times. Well fed and happy we headed home to our hotel.