Many years ago, I stood at the southern most tip of India and wondered what was just beyond that small stretch of Indian Ocean. That trip was a 6 month quest of it’s own, and although I wasn’t able to make time to visit Ceylon then, I’ve always been left with a curiosity of what the teardrop shaped gem of Sri Lanka holds. So when some of my besties from Surf Sister Surf School told me that they were planning their annual staff trip to Sri Lanka, I was thrilled. I know it’s a staff trip, but every now and then, destination dependent, I like to hop on as a silent sister.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of Sri Lanka. I knew it was tropics, I knew it had the prettiest crystal green water, I knew it had waves that required no wetsuit, I knew the food was going to blow my mind. I knew that elephants still roamed free, and I knew Sri Lanka was known for it’s beautiful selection of gemstones. It seemed pretty much like the ideal Island, other than ours, of course. Sri Lanka truly didn’t disappoint. It is the most beautiful of country. We arrived in rainy season, giving us lush landscape and the most perfect of temperatures. Endless coast lined with graceful palm trees that practically kissed the sky, gentle rolling waves melting into endless white sand beaches, fresh fruit stands beckoning you daily, and the smell of spicy curry mixed with flower blossoms floating through the air.
Although Sri Lanka had it’s fair share of hardships; civil war for the country really only ended about 8 years ago, and the tsunami of 2004 also took its toll, you are met with only warm smiles and the overwhelming feeling of pride people seem to have for their land and culture.
I could say with certainty, that I have never eaten so much fresh fruit. We lived off of coconuts, pineapples, mangoes, bananas, and papayas. Not to mention the curries….oh the curries. We always wanted more and I’m sure they have never seen girls eat so much in one meal, every time. So many times during feasting, I said aloud ‘this is just the best.’
Sri Lanka feels far removed from the western world and much less consumed with the tourist dollar as so many other countries do. There is a softness, a graciousness that Sri Lanka carries. It still has its chaos, but chooses to dole it out in small increments rather than a constant hum that makes your fear for your life most of the time. Don’t get me wrong; we definitively had our share of close encounters of being squished by a bus cruising at mock speed.
For such a small country, Sri Lanka has a list of Nature Park Reserves. Elephants are quite possibly my #1 spirit animal, so of course we spent a few days on safari. I couldn’t even count how many we saw, not to mention all the other amazing wildlife we viewed. It’s never too late to safari. And of course, this trip wouldn’t have been complete without venturing into the world of gemstones. I was lucky enough to convince some friends to follow me into the labyrinth of stone shopping. What a tough job!
This trip was one for the books. We surfed every day, we scootered all around like champs, we saw elephants, we met lovely people, we were cultured, we ate the most amazing food, we got great tans, we danced, and we laughed a lot…I mean a lot. These girls are the easiest travel partners, and I’m forever grateful for sneaking on as a sister.