Saturday, February 26, 2011

Long Weekend in Kalpitiya

Early this month we had a chance to go on a long weekend trip.  A friend from work, H, suggested we go to Kalpitiya – a peninsula at the northern part of Sri Lanka.

Photo courtesy of 

The ride was a bit tiring, as we traversed a dirt road right as we took off from the main island upto the resort.  The resort was an eco-lodge called Ruwala and owned by a lovely Sri Lankan couple.  There were still some parts of the resort that were being constructed but as it is, it is quite a nice, quiet, rustic escape.  The room had no A/C but the cool weather was lovely enough.  Plus they served good food with friendly service and a provision for our driver’s lodging and meals.

Kalpitiya is known for 2 things. 

One is the oldest Catholic church in Sri Lanka, St. Anne. 

The other is dolphin and whale watching.  We were lucky to have encountered HUNDREDS of dolphins!  Although the whales we more elusive.

Out to sea, albeit with no more camera battery :-( 
A good 2 hours drive from Kalpitiya is also Sri Lanka’s largest national park, Wilpattu.  It is known for its leopard population.  But since the time we went was a rainy day, no leopards were found. 

Kalpitiya area is still being developed and not exactly a touristy spot.  But it has a rustic charm – where you don’t really have many options of things to do but where you can just have the pleasure of reading a good book.   

Our Kalpitiya trip was quite unexpected.  It just took exactly a week to “plan” – one which didn’t have much of a plan at all.  We just booked the resort and come what may.  When we got there – I suddenly got quite concerned that hubby will not like it.  It was rustic and hubby is not exactly the rustic boy.  I was more concerned the day we learned we couldn’t see the dolphins (luckily we got the chance the day after!) and was told that there are 2 places to go: St. Anne’s Church and the town (which was really, nothing much).  Luckily when I read up on it I learned Wilpattu is just nearby (somewhat).  But at the end of the day, we still had fun!  I guess it’s the 3 in me (based on the Enneagram) that “needs” things to do and the prospect of being “productive” to feel good.  Well, this trip, in its simplicity, taught me that in doing “nothing,” you still get to see a lot. 

Ruwala Resort

Monday, February 21, 2011

Missing Home

One of the toughest parts of living la vida Lanka is homesickness.  I don’t get it a lot because 1) I actually love living here, 2) I can cook Filipino food here and 3) ultimately my home is really with my hubby – so when I’m with him, I’m at home.  But you know what I mean… family and friends, and everything else you grew up with is no longer where you are. 

The emotional cycle started on Valentine’s day.  I was in Bangkok for a business trip and serendipitously one of my very good friends was in Bangkok as well.  We met up and I just realized how I missed him and their barkada (close friends).  They are actually hubby’s barkada but back home we go out often – eating out, going to “clubs” and singing our hearts out upto the wee hours of the morning.  When we moved here, well, they were not around.  We have friends but reaching the barkada level is a process.  It was a fun “Valentine’s Date” – we talked about our lives, how our friends are back home (or what he could remember since everyone’s been uber busy) and how the whole fact of catching up happens abroad. Somehow the whole scenario just made us feel old. 

Hubby and I with my funny Valentine during one of the crazy Manila nights
Then yesterday, it really hit me.  Because “my favorite couple” also in the same barakada got married and we were not there.  It just made me miss home a little bit more.  They were not the only close friends we had who got married during the time we are away – or celebrated something significant.  Heck even in our own wedding our family was incomplete.  But I digress. 

Hubby and I with J & M on one of our party nights!
Being away and missing things like this made me feel like I’m missing out on my friends / family’s lives.  Especially those who mean a lot to us.  I’m sure we will miss a couple more.  But I guess that’s all part of growing up.

So to R – thank you for being my funny Valentine! 

And to J & M – we really regret not being there for your special day… when you guys have been with us on our special days… emceeing, singing and just making the party wilder.  But trust that we were there in spirit and praying for an awesome marriage! 

To all our friends back home, we miss you guys!  I’m sure you miss us too!  Haha!  But really, we hope you’ll also come and visit us and see what it’s like livin’ la vida Lanka.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cricket World Cup Lands in La Lanka!

I couldn’t say that I am livin’ la vida Lanka if I don’t write about Cricket.

Cricket is a British sport that has become a Lankan religion.  Just like Basketball is so American yet very much part of the Filipino culture. 

Well today, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 (the Cup that matters) kicks off and Sri Lanka (together with India and Bangladesh) hosts the affair.  The excitement is palpable yet invisible (the city’s not exactly being ‘dressed up’ for the occasion – I was expecting billboards everywhere just like how we advertise shampoo back home).  

And so, as an adopted daughter of Sri Lanka, I would like to do my share and pay tribute to the sport and wish the team (lead by team Captain Kumar Sangakkara) all the best!

Here’s a video of the anthem by one of the local radio stations (Yes FM).

Go Sri Lanka!  Bring home the cup!

Photos courtesy of:        (Team Picture)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Barefoot Sundays

I am a creature of habit.  And one of my shameless habits (that I drag hubby into) is a weekly visit to Barefoot (  Barefoot houses designer Barbara Sansoni’s woven fabric collection (quite a colorful lot I must say!), other consignment items (including teak furnitures and batik fabrics designed by Ena De Silva – another key artist in Sri Lanka’s art community) and has expanded to include an art gallery and a cafĂ© in the heart of Colombo. 

The Galle Road entrance
Picture courtesy of
Photo courtesy of
We love having our Sunday lunch there mostly for the relaxing experience.  First off, you choose your meal from a blackboard that goes around.  The lunch menu is not set so you get a good variety week on week.  Good for regulars like us! 

That's the way to order around here!
The food is quite good.  I usually order Southeast Asian delights – Thai or Indo fusion. 

While we eat and enjoy in conversation, jazz music wafts through the afternoon air.  By a live Jazz Band no less!

The band by the entrance of the gallery...
We cap off with coffee and our choice of dessert.  My personal favorite is their Carrot Cake.  The best.

It's so good I already took a bite before taking a picture!

How more relaxed can you get?

Satisfied customers!
Back in Manila, Sunday lunches are close to sacred – reserved for family time.  Either my parents cook a feast at home or we eat out.  When I got married and relocated to Sri Lanka, I realized that we cannot join the S-co family tradition.  But I realized that as hubby and I move along in our married life, we create traditions of our own little family.  In as much as we try to vary our Sunday lunch jaunts – it usually is Barefoot. 
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