Palm Paradise Bay
My first 4 days in Sri Lanka was spent in Tangalla in the lovely palm paradise cabanas – we arrived there quite late at night following a long taxi direct from Colombo (it took an absolute age and in retrospect we should have had a night near the airport before heading off!)
But, on arrival the accomodation was perfect and the sandy beach was even better.
Tangalla Sri LankaAside from lazing around, eating quite good food (and I base this on the fact every guide book had told me it would be terrible!) There wasn't a lot to do. Lots of sun, lots of sri lankan curry and absolutely no-one else staying at the cabanas.We also had our first encounter with Sri Lanka. On the 2nd day an elderly man came up to us on the beach. He told us his name was Winnie and that his beach hut was the abandoned one on the beach. Since the Tsunami he'd been cooking on a gas stove in there and, as we were there early in the season he didn't have the money to open it. He asked if we'd like to go there for lunch the next day and we agreed. He then asked if we'd give him the equivalent of around a tenner so that he could buy the ingredients for our dinner. Naively (and with the view it was only a tenner) we gave him the cash. The next day we hung around till 2pm and no Winnie, defeated and armed with the ROugh Guide having told us about these horrible Sri lankan touts who fleece tourists for your last penny we retreated to the palm paradise cabanas for lunch. Half way through some delicious grilled prawns a face peered over the balcony and winnie stared up at us. He explained that he was so worried about the weather he didn't think he'd be able to carry off the fish BBQ we'd been promised and, instead, cooked us dinner in his own home and had boated it around the bay, from his village, and onto the beach for us. Queue me, and Aidan, feeling like the worst, most spineless tourists to walk the land! We had to have a 2nd dinner (we couldn't let Winnie down) and, like a bad vicar of dibley episode felt absolutely stuffed and guilty with our lack of belief in an honest man. Lesson 1 of Sri Lanka learnt, whilst people do try and fleece you for every penny (which we found later on) Winnie was an honest man who deserves your chance - his food was amazing, his attitude faultless so don't be like us and if you're lucky enough to stumble across him, give him the time of day (and a beer or 2!
Winnies beach shack