I feel sad even while writing about my last day at Sri Lanka and the feelings that day were similar. I got up around 5:30 a.m. to get ready for whale watching.
I reached the boat, paid money again and asked him if he could provide vegetarian breakfast. He said it would be done. The boat started sailing and it reminded of the day I had gone for Scuba diving. Hours in the ocean soaking in the peace.
I took a place on the upper deck again. And very soon came a female I recognized and we both smiled, It was the Czech couple again I had spent 2 days in Ella with. We sat together and updated ourselves on what each of us did after departing from Ella.
Some people got sea sick, some people slept, but most of us were lost in the peace and beauty. A female sitting close to me started playing songs on her phone and a guy sitting close by said something that still makes me smile – ‘Hey girlfriend, Sea Shanti, no phones please’. She immediately turned off music and I couldn’t be more thankful. The guy is from Europe but has been staying in India for years. His hair was the subject of curiosity for a lot of people on the boat and they conveyed it through their never ending stream of questions ‘Is this real? How do you maintain it? How long have you been growing it?’ All the questions were answered with a smile.
We got to see many bottle nose dolphins. And then there was some whale watching too. They were all fin whales and not really very big. I enjoyed the sea serenity more than the whale watching.
While leaving I complaint to the staff on how upset I was about not getting any breakfast even though I was promised I would. They said ‘sorry’ and it did not seem sincere at all. The three of us walked together and discussing how it wasn’t anything that we had expected it to be.
We reached a point from where I had to part ways. I hugged them both good bye and moved on. By now I had gotten used to loving people and letting them go.
While walking I came across a lady who was figuring out how to reach bus stop where I was headed so we started walking together. She was from Israel and was also travelling solo and must be in here late forties. We shared how liberating and convenient it is to be travelling solo. I was headed for Unawatuna beach and had to pack my stuff and leave Mirissa. We bid each other good bye at the bus stop and I headed for my hostel. My couchsurfer friend from Belgium was in the lobby so I had a chat with him there. He was surprised to know that I was leaving in a couple of hours. He was headed for surfing and had I known he has a board of his own, I wouldn’t have probably taken the classes the previous morning. Although he says he’s not good at it but seriously all the instructor taught me was to ‘get back on the board no matter what’. I gave him a good bye hug and moved to my dorm. Meanwhile I got a message from the person I had met at the airport on my day of arrival when I was that nervous girl from India traveling alone. I told him I’m leaving in a couple of hours.
Packed my stuff, took a quick shower. I left a thank you note to the female I was speaking to the other night. She was really nice and had given me some good suggestions on what to do next. Her friend had left the previous evening and I assumed she would be missing her.
I had decided to take a stopover at Unawatuna beach and getting a massage there itself if time permitted. I now wanted to meet the two amazing girls who had given me shelter the previous night. I did some souvenir shopping for them. It was a little difficult. Finally got them two identical bracelets and two key chains of Sri Lanka map made of coconut shell. I reached their guest house but alas it was locked. I couldn’t meet them one last time. I put a thank you note on the envelope and left it at their door.
The guy I had befriended at the airport responded and we were trying to meet up over lunch. His response had come after I had had my lunch but I was going to meet him anyway. I was looking for the place he had mentioned but no one knew of it. I kept walking on the road, asking a lot of people, then taking help of maps. While I was at it I see him walking towards me. We spoke there for some time and I realized I have no time to really sit and talk. So, a good bye again. I felt great to be ending my trip with the person I had met on day 1. While I was walking towards the bus stop, I then met the guys from France I had taken safari with in Yala. It was crazy. We laughed together at the coincidence and decided to continue the chatter on Facebook.
I got into a bus to Unawatuna. The bus journey on the coastline is really pretty. Unawatuna was like pretty little town. I walked around but soon was very tired figuring out where the beach was.
Surprisingly a lot of people did not speak English here unlike other parts of Sri Lanka. I then met someone from England who not only showed me the way to the beach but also walked with me to a pretty little massage place. I had told him I would like to get one as I was extremely exhausted. I got a one hour Ayurveda full body massage. It was magical. I still feel had I not taken that massage I would have taken way longer to recover from all the muscle pain.
I then walked to the beach sat there for some time. I found this beach the most beautiful of all. I left soon as I did not want to risk reaching the airport late. While walking towards the bus stop I met my English friend again. It was crazy how I was bumping into everyone again that day.
All this while I was coordinating with the friend from Adam’s peak but in the end we couldn’t meet as he was on the way from Colombo to Unawatuna. I took an express bus from Galle to a place close to Colombo. I asked the conductor why isn’t there a bus to Colombo – capital of the country? He laughed it off.
After reaching Colombo, I tried some street food. Checked out some stores to buy a pen but couldn’t find any. I had borrowed a pen from a friend at office and had lost the pen on day 1 of arrival. I wanted to return him a nice pen from Colombo but I really couldn’t find any. I decided to give him the pen I had bought after losing his pen.
I took a stop to have the wood apple juice that I had read about a lot. It was nice and the chef was from India. I could barely communicate with him though as he only spoke tamil and I could not understand any tamil.
I then headed for airport. Sitting next to me in the waiting room was a lady from Israel. She was headed for Goa. We both had a layover in Chennai. We reached Chennai and waited together for some time. I had an early flight so I left to collect my boarding pass. I bid her good bye – my last one from the trip. I slept for some time at the waiting area. And as soon as I got into the flight I had my worst realization of the trip – I forgot my phone in the washroom. I told the flight crew and but they were really disinterested in helping. They suggested that I leave the flight or they could coordinate with the ground staff and send the phone to Mumbai directly. I of course chose the latter but I had to ask him three times to call the ground staff. He still didn’t call them in front of me. I doubt if he even called them. They were really bad at handling this. I had asked them to let me know when they call the ground staff but none. I had to ask them again 3 times if there was any update. Finally after reaching Hyderabad the lady told me you can enquire at arrivals about the phone. She also refused to give me the name of the person who was supposed to call the ground staff. At Hyderabad they were clueless. In fact the staff from Indigo helped me more than the staff from Spicejet. They made me write an authority letter, took some Xerox copies and I headed to take my Mumbai flight. Mumbai arrivals was again clueless. I spent hours here to get an update. Eventually it was not the Spicejet staff that helped but CISF.
I finally left super frustrated with how Spicejet had handled the entire issue.
The sleep deprived me got home (not really home but my apartment) and could not stop talking about the trip with my roomie! It’s only then it started sinking that what an adventure I’ve come back from and what brilliant memories I have created for myself.