Monday 18th September 2017 Day 4 – East Coast, West Coast…

We head from the Far East town of Trincomalee, south along the coast approx 90km’s towards a small town where the resilience from the locals is evident and inspiring even after many years of war and challenges.

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Our support vehicle

My family and I have not travelled much around the east coast of Sri Lanka as yet due to the distance and challenge of getting there from Colombo. However, after today, I will certainly be bringing them back.  I know it is going to be well worth the travel distance for the experience of meeting such beautiful people and experiencing a relatively untouched coastline.

Before we leave, a small group of us decides that we should take a detour from the main road and head towards the coast to an area that even Google Maps is not confident with displaying, in search of a an old bridge crossing from a sandy island back to the main land. It is risky given our location but hey we have time…so we thought. What should have been a short journey quickly turns into us travelling at max 5km’s per hour due to the road conditions.  It also leaves us wondering what have we done and is there anything out here that if we were to get into trouble could we get help? Eventually we find another couple of our Tuks stopped on the side of the road who also decided to venture off the main road. It was a strange feeling to be so far in the middle of no where with a few friends in a really small local village, with people standing out the front of their houses watching us but not speaking. I take my mobile phone over to one young boy who is trying to sell us a bag of berries and show him the camera with a picture of himself. He begins launghing and telling his mother something who is standing close by. We head off again and eventually find the crossing however this was really off the map and tested our patience and perseverance. The coastline looked amazing and what a great experience that I’m sure not many foreigners have visited.

Along the way we stop at a few small towns so I can talk with local business owners only to find that not only does no one accept a card for payment but the general knowledge and understanding that a Visa Card can be used to make purchases at local stores or make payments online is foreign. In a lot of cases, people are referencing a Visa card to the ATM for cash – this is something we have known for quite a while. However as soon as I begin to strike up conversation and explain how a Visa card can be used, immediately I am struck with what feels like the entire owners family willing to listen and hear what I have to say! It was great fun but I’m unsuccessful to find lunch and given the remote location I sense its best to think about dinner so I continue with a smile.

We arrive at the hotel late thanks to our ‘detour’. There is a mess up at the hotel and they do not have a room for me which was quite annoying given how hungry and tired I am. We managed to get a room so I can get changed and clean up. Another incredible day travelling through some amazing places and learning along the way. The East Coast certainly feels a lot different than travelling along the West Coast, no tall buildings, not as many resorts or hotels and much smaller towns with less traffic.

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