It was a group decision to sleep in and leave for our run at 7:30 this morning. It’s humid (92%) and 30 degrees Celsius. The sun will be out today unlike yesterday’s cloud coverage. Our run is a sweaty one but satisfying. It seems like less work when accompanied by a crashing surf at my side and dense palm tree forest decorating the other.
I love coming back to the villa after our morning exertion to be greeted with cold water and fabulous espresso. It’s a well-earned treat. We are becoming used to the fabulous breakfasts in Sri Lanka. Coconut pancakes, onion roti with two sambols (one is coconut and the other is quite similar to a spicy salsa), and an assortment of fresh tropical fruits. This morning we ask for guava juice instead of the regular pineapple. When you ask for juice in SL it is made for you fresh with a juicer, never from a container. The guava they use is green so less sweet than we are used to. They usually make it with some milk mixed in but we suggest coconut milk instead and it is divine.
Caroline helps Chantal decorate our home for our New Years Eve festivities tonight. They create a banner and the guys at the villa hang it for us. Nothing to do now but relax and make sure the chaise lounges stay put. Ah!
Our villa has many resident dogs. If Turkey is the land of feral cats, Sri Lanka has its wild dog population. They are everywhere and, generally, very sweet. They bask in the sun, sleep in the shade of the pool umbrellas, and wander the beach in search of crabs and fish. Caroline adores them and repeatedly asks the staff to bring her bacon so that she can feed them.
Our garden is visited by a pair of mongooses and a large monitor lizard. They are all very camera shy and dart as soon as we try to photograph them. I enjoy being in a place with exotic animals–it’s so vastly different from whence we came. It makes the holiday feel all that more tropical and foreign. The strange bird calls alone remind us we are in a new land. We also notice that there are chipmunks that make very loud and, at times (early morning comes to mind), annoying sounds. It’s funny to watch them hop through the palm trees. We are so used to seeing chipmunks in northern hemisphere forest, it’s sort of surreal.
We go swimming in the Indian Ocean after breakfast today. The water is clear and the temperature like bath water. It is so refreshing as we dive into waves giggling like small children. What fun! We move to the pool and play games with the kids before retiring to a lounge chair to dry off. We repeat this cycle throughout the day with breaks for the delicious food the chef prepares for us. A girl could get used to this.
One of the guys that works at the villa doubles as a personal trainer, his name is NK. He has been asking to take us to the beach for a 30 minute HIIT session since we arrived and today we accept. We start with a casual jog on the beach before he tells us to sprint back to the start. So fun, I love running but come alive with an all out race. We continue with short intervals of burpees, star-jumps, squats, push ups, etc. and another jog. A half hour later we are feeling invigorated and in need of a cool dip. What an awesome interlude to our day of lounging around.
Cleaned and dolled up for dinner we are treated to individual veggie Hawaiian pizzas and a Spanish potato leek soup. We devour it just in time a Sri Lankan speciality for dessert: coconut cake made with dates, cashews, raisins and spice. It’s reminiscent of a very dense gingerbread. The chef always makes a point to visit us at meal time as it’s important to him to see that we are enjoying his labour. It’s a pleasure to chat with him and we look forward to his visits. He’s promised me to write down his sambol recipes…holding him to that.
We encourage the kids to hang in until midnight by setting them up with Return of the Jedi and enough crisps and biscuits to fuel them for many hours. One by one the girls give in to fatigue. The boys switch to iPad games and wait for the guys at the villa to load up the fireworks.
We invite our Swedish neighbours to join us around 11pm for drinks and festivities because the more the merrier. They are an extended family traveling together for 5 weeks celebrating the holidays, retirement, and life in general. Dressed in party hats with noise makers in hand we count down as the boys light the fireworks. At midnight we hear and see the explosions up and down the coastline. It is very fun and I am reminded why we stay awake for midnight to celebrate together. New friends and old this is what life is about – sharing and enjoying it together. Very grateful indeed.
In Sri Lanka there is a tradition (or myth) that you boil a pot of coconut milk over a fire for the new year, a new home, a new business, etc. If the pot boils over on one side you will be unsuccessful in your new endeavour. If it boils over on all sides of the pot simultaneously you will be blessed with much success. At midnight while we all celebrate in the garden our loyal chef is testing our fortune for the coming year. It turns out we are in for a banner year. Happy 2018!