Today was the first full day in Sri Lanka after arriving in the country last night just before midnight. It was supposed to be a rest day, just sitting on a beach and reading a book, but I guess the hectic (in a good way) tour I just finished taught me different habits.
While I spent a lot of the day watching the Sri Lanka vs Australia First Test Match and reading a book I eventually wanted to explore so it was time to walk along the beach. The water was too rough to swim in (red flags everywhere) it still was a great landscape with the sun shining down.
At this point a local approached and asked if I’d like to do a full day tour with him tomorrow or a short one today. Now the alarm bells went off, you don’t go with people or companies you don’t know but he talked a good game and showed me a lot of photos and suggested we go to the hotel reception and they could verify that hotel guests have used his services in the past and liked them. After confirmation I thought I’d take a chance and I didn’t end up regretting this.
We walked a short distance to the Hamilton Canal and I boarded a small boat without falling into the water! The canal system is full of wildlife plus on the shores I saw goats and pets and smiling kids always wanting a wave hello. The canal have a number of exotic of beautiful birds including kingfishers, egrets, herons, cormorants, and darters and a few I didn’t know. We also came across a lot of different species of ‘monitor lizards’.
We briefly stopped at the end of the open river connecting the canal with the ocean and I could saw trees that the recent raining season had uprooted. From here it was a visit with a tree climber who demonstrated his skills and went up the coconut tree and travelled across them collecting a liquid from the tree that I later tried.
Later returning to the hotel I was glad I had taken a chance and witnessed some of the local wildlife and had a chance to interact a little with the friendly locals. I will remember the smiling children swimming in the canal, swinging from vines over the canal, and running from their homes to just say hello. At great start to my stay in Sri Lanka.