Photo by Marty N James
On Avurudu everything shuts down. Everyone goes back to their homes or villages, or at least out of town. Ended up in Balapitiya and Kosgoda with friends, driving to to Hikkaduwa at night. The days are profoundly hot. Get in the guest house pool only to be re-covered in sweat 10 minutes later. Have a gin and tonic, play cards. Keep a piece of ice on top of my head until it melts. After dinner get onto Galle Road and speed to Hikkaduwa. The roads are two lane, but perfectly paved, better than Colombo. I can hit 90k comfortably. A friend tells me he came down at 140. Driving is a pleasure, but try to be cautious. A bus collided with a gas tanker in Induruwa, incredible carnage at incredible speed. All was left was burnt torsos, no arms. But, um, it still feels good driving these smooth roads. Every now and then the forests and buildings clear and your just taking a bend by the beach and the gelatinous water. Feel almost free.
Hikkaduwa is the Goa of Sri Lanka, basically. Known for beaches and surfing yes, but also partying, marijuana, and assorted drugs. Not that one does or has to partake in anything, it’s just kinda laissez faire. The main spot is Mambo’s, official named A Frame Surfing or something. It’s owned by Mambo who runs it with his brothers. It’s an ordinary space with rooms and a large beach patio, but it’s become the spot. They play house and electronic music all night, and during the day people hang out, eat, swim. There are numerous cheap rest houses a walk away, about Rs 1000 a night. There are countless people to bump into and hang out with, countless beautiful girls on the beach or dance floor.Get there late, around midnight. The music is already started, but this is the third time I’ve been here in two weeks. Thread my way through the crowd, give the car keys to Boycy and get a beer. There are white girls behind the bar, presumably working for board. They’re friendly and I know one of them. Find our crowd, find Horse Boy, drink a beer, listen to some House. Take my flip flops off and feel the sand between my toes.
If the party gets too intense you can just walk out on the beach. Go about 50 meters and the lights fade, lie back and you can see the stars. I also get sand all in my hair and neck that takes two showers to get out. Wade in the water and soak my jeans. The sound and the feeling are fantastic though.
I’m mixing nights, but Boycy’s driving home with music on. There is crazy lightning, pull over by the beach to look. There’s flashes every few seconds, shuddering the sky and illuminating the clouds. Get to the bungalow, swim in the pool, find a place to sleep. Good trip.