Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A break in the dry zone – a worthy place to spend some time


Getting the most of a 4 day break, even while taking public transport is an opportunity to savor some quiet tranquil moments, even though it was interspersed with the occasional socializing and chats with friends and neighbors which forms part of one’s circle in these desolate parts.

Ratmale, while in the wilderness is not too far away from the center of town in Colombo. I left Gregory’s Road at 4 am on the 1st, calling a cab, and which came to the gate in 10 minutes. It was a Rs300 cab ride to the Private bus stand at Pettah and then onto an intercity bus to Minneriya costing just Rs230 for a one way ticket. It is a very pleasant time to travel with little traffic on the roads, and cool to beat.

I could have got off at the Minneriya (Railway) Station Handiya to take a Rs150 three wheeler ride to my property, but I went on and got off at the town, as I needed to get supplies for the few days stay. So technically using public transport I could be at my place at 10am the latest having left Colombo house at 4am and if I had caught the earlier bus that had just left, I would have been here an hour earlier.

It is the windy season, and there is a cool breeze that blows due to the tank by the property as well as the two ponds in front of the verandah, where I am typing this. There is no requirement for a mosquito net, and at nights a covering sheet is in order to keep out the excessive blowing. I sleep in the verandah which is open on 3 sides so I maximize on the wind blowing from all sides. The windy season in these parts are generally from May to October, and I recommend this time as the best time to be here to relax and unwind from the daily pressures of city or working life.

The abundance of bird life makes it all the more eventful, especially if you are an avid birder. Today comes to an end, a visit to the temple next door decorated today as it is Poson Poya, and then onto Gal Oya Railway Station riding pillion on the back of a bike sans helmet, to take the express train at 11pm to be in Colombo fresh for work in the morning!
The lack of transport ensured a more relaxing time. I was also able to spend time at the property and discover all the little things that need to be attended to. There is still a lot of work to furnish, but just for my relaxation, the place is adequately equipped and that can happen in stages.

The photo above is of the lush paddy fields of the village which are fed from the stored waters of the local village tank adjoining my property, the Ratmale Tank.

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