Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coral Gardens and Hikkaduwa a day out

The journey from Rakwana first to Deniyaya on the famous Hayes Lauderdale road with hairpins was memorable owing to the scenery. However the journeymen tired from the earlier leg could not enjoy it. This road though an A road is little more than an estate road, which it was in times gone by. Most of the estates on this road are part of Matugama Plantations. We had rice and curry lunch in the still old fashioned Deniyaya Rest House, a relic from the past with the one person, Rest House keeper satisfying all our needs. The fresh tea was great to wash off lunch.

It was dark once we made the trek first to Galle and then on to Hikkaduwa and checked in at the almost empty save a wedding banquet old Coral Gardens Hotel. I remember the place even before the hotel was built, but the location is worth the stay even though the hotel is pretty dated, without a Del Coranado type design worthy of restoring. Anyone can purchase this place with over 100 rooms for an offer between $2.5 and $3M, but the cost of tearing it down and rebuilding may not even entice one at that price.

We had dinner at the pricey Refresh Restaurant further along the beach, and the following day were charged Rs800 for a half hour trip on the glass bottomed boat to see the fish corals and the sea turtles almost at the shore. One felt ill in the tilting boat and got off, while the other put on a pair of goggles and surveyed the underwater life, along with the humongous turtle quite unperturbed by the activity around him.

Lunch at the Dolphin Restaurant painted in mauves. blues and pinks, was on the sand itself. They had built a structure with tall wooden pillars, 8 in all supporting a roof of coconut rafters so the wind blew right through, and no fans were required and no flies were able to withstand the breeze. It was a very pleasant place to have a simple meal. We left for Colombo soon after making the traffic filled journey back in time for a family birthday dinner.

I note here the cost of the lunch and the menu for those curious about what is available. No credit cards accepted, so all the Sri Lanka cash we had was needed, in addition to US$10 to complete the payment for the meal for 3. A pot of Cinnamon Tea 190/-; A tall glass of Iced Coffee 140/-; Crab Soup 250/-;Fish Soup240/-;Fresh Seer Steak Grilled with Chips and Salad 480/-;Seer as before with Mash and Salad 550/-; Grilled Calamari Chips and Salad 500/-; 2 cokes for 160/- and a 10% service charge on the total.

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