In a fish frenzy

Following my first week volunteering in Ambalangoda, Sri Lanka on the Turtle Conservation which you can read here, it was finally the weekend which went a little bit like this…

Day 6 (Saturday):

Weird thought of the day: A week today and I’ll be on a plane arriving home. I can’t believe I’ve been here for 2 weeks now. I can’t believe all the people I’m surrounded by I’ve only known 2 weeks. I’ve bonded so much with people here but I can’t stop thinking about all the people I’ve left behind. I’m trying to remind myself what I came here for. 2 weeks in and I feel like I’ve achieved so much already. I didn’t come here to find myself, I know myself. But I guess I came to be more open, more willing. I’ve learnt so many new things and pushed myself out of every comfort zone I’ve ever had. For that I should be proud of myself. I’m finding it really hard today to be here, but I need to enjoy this last week.

Due to feeling this way me and my London gal (Leonie) decided to have a lazy day. Especially as it was just the two of us. So we decided to go on a river safari on the Madu Ganga river in Balapitiya. We were meant to see wildlife. The river safari advertised seeing wildlife. I didn’t see any wildlife, unless you can count the crocodile/not a crocodile we thought we saw, but I think it was a Komodo Dragon. Anyway back to the point, despite feeling a little bit disappointed that I paid quite a lot for this, I tried to enjoy the very relaxing boat trip on this sweltering hot day. And just as we thought we were on our way back our boat driver decided to stop off at a fish farm on the way. Now unbeknown to us we had actually paid for a treatment in which little (not so little but actually quite big and weird) fish eat all the dead skin off of your feet. This was never something I wanted to experience, but I feel once you’ve paid for something you really need to get your money’s worth. So as we selected our section, we were given some fish food to treat the fishes to some real food and they went crazy. Absolutely bloody mental. No way on earth did I want to but my feet into that frenzy, but our tuk-tuk driver (who had kindly accompanied us as our champerion thanks to Captain’s demand…) ensured us it was all good fun and dunked his feet in without any hesitation. Me and Leonie on the otherhand were hesitant to say the least. But as I said this trip was all about pushing myself out of my comfort zone. So I did it. It took me about 15 minutes of dipping my toes in, feeling a slimy fish come up to me and whipping them right out again but in the end I did it and it was… The most repulsive experience of my entire life. It was just so gross. The fish are so slimy, and it just feels so scratchy when they’re eating your feet. They get really excited and all swarm over and it was just.. ew. But despite all that, it was pretty funny but I’d never choose to do it again. Definitely an experience. After our little trip to the fish farm and leaving our new found frenzied friends, we hopped back onto the boiling hot boat and were taken to a cinnamon garden where we were shown how cinnamon is made. After we politely watched him and declined buying any we got back on the boat and our river safari was over. All in all it was fun and I would recommend doing it, especially if you have some spare time. Not having a plan for the rest of the day, Leonie and I got our tuk-tuk driver who had become our friend, he was sweet guy and we had him a couple of times before and once you’ve bonded in a fish farm I don’t think there’s any going back, to take us to a nearby restaurant. Unfortunately the one he choose was shit but there was no-where else, after forcing myself to eat an awful pizza to say the least we went back to the house and relaxed for the rest of the day.

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Fish Farm
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Cinnamon garden: Man making cinnamon

Day 7 (Sunday):

Starting off the day, we went to a Devil Mask museum (those in which Ambalangoda is famous for) just down the road from our accommodation. Actually quite informative compared to the other “museums” here, they told us all about the history and different meanings behind them, then we got to go to the workshop to see people making them. It’s actually quite amazing watching people carve wood in such intricate ways, not something I could do I’m sure. They must actually be very skilled people. Then of course we were taken to the shop and didn’t buy a thing. So after spending a maximum of 15 minutes or so in this place, off we went to Hikkaduwa with our same tuk-tuk driver as yesterday! Loving this tuk-tuk driver so much, mainly because he plays music in his tuk-tuk (a rare thing here it seems). So of course going to Hikkaduwa meant a little shopping trip was on the cards (especially with Leonie my shopaholic friend) and I was finally able to buy the famous elephant pants they sell everywhere here. Unfortunately at twice the price of Kandy but I guess it doesn’t really matter when they’re still only £4.  After our shopping trip we went to check out the beach, which is actually really nice and went back to our new favourite restaurant here: Moon Light. Safe to say I ate way too much food, one really doesn’t need chips (I mean french fries for any of you outside the UK) and a grilled cheese sandwich.

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On our way home our tuk-tuk driver (yes it’s still the same guy!) decided to stop off at the Tsunami Memorial and let us take some pictures. It’s so beautiful, really, really big too.

Tsunami Memorial
Tsunami Memorial

When we arrived back at the house, there was new blood. 5 new people in total. Including a girl with her Mum. Shame my Mum never believed me when I said we could go together, although just thinking about it, it would’ve been a whole different experience. It’s weird having new people here. I was so comfortable with everyone that was here last week, I guess cause I knew them all from my orientation week and we were all quite close but now it’s different and I can see different groups already forming but I’ll try and get to know them. I’m sure they’ll all be nice. As we didn’t have anything to do for the rest of the evening except get to know the newbies, Shashika (our co-ordinator at the house who made sure everything was running smoothly) decided to do some henna on Leonie and I. I love henna, it’s so nice and Shashika is really good at it. It’s the biggest piece i’ve had done before, I kinda wish it would stay on forever.

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So with this week concluding, it’s time to embrace my last week. I’m actually really excited for tomorrow, it’s crazy how much I’ve missed the turtles this weekend. And I’ve actually missed Canada and Germany too. Tomorrow should be a good day.

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