We woke early to explore some of the few local attractions around Hikkaduwa.
By far the best of these was the tsunami photo museum, of which there were a few and I couldn’t tell you exactly which we went to (we were again guided by our driver’s suggestion). Whilst it was the most interesting thing we did; captivating, educational and emotional in equal measures, I’m not sure it was the best thing to do for the mood first thing in the morning. Although the final pictures are uplifting, I certainly left feeling the weight of the more heart-wrenching photos, which included pictures of the deceased (which were concealed behind a net curtain, so you could avoid them if you wanted).
Next was on to the Moon Stone company who have some outlandish claims about pretty stones, which all felt like a ploy to get money from tourists. The talk about the stones was interesting, and whilst I’m not convinced on their beliefs about how the rocks were made or that they will bring you luck, it doesn’t stop it from being interesting if you’re prepared to be open-minded to the opinion and traditions of others. The talk itself was free, but ends in well done out jewellery store that has a bike lock shutting the front door (so you can’t escape?). As soon as we weren’t charged an entry fee I was expecting to be asked to buy something at the end, but we weren’t really interested in buying anything, so after listening to what the young salesman had to say, we left offering a small sum for his 30 minute talk about the history and process of making the stones.
Finally, we ended around midday at one of the mask museums. The poor girl who did our ‘tour’ was extremely under the weather, but did her best to give us a quick explanation of what all of the masks meant. The tour only took about five mins (if that), so we spent another five looking at the information about some of the masks we considered most interesting, since her explanations were limited just to what each mask represented. When we exited, our driver was nowhere to be seen, so we meandered through the gift shop above the museum. I had gone to Sri Lanka fairly keen to bring a mask back as a decorative souvenir, but all the ones I was drawn to were far too large to get back without an additional luggage fee which I wasn’t prepared to pay, so we left without buying anything, evidently to the shop owners disgust though, as he made an audible sigh after declaring that there was nothing we were interested in.
The plan was to spend the rest of the afternoon sunbathing. I thought that getting in the sea with my wound from the previous day still dressed would have been a bad idea. Unfortunately the weather had other plans and not long after parking ourselves on sun beds, the heavens opened. The worst part was that it was a Poya, or Full Moon Holiday, meaning that bars were not allowed to sell alcohol – a rule which we had already forged plans to circumvent by stocking up on sealed bottles the night before, and hoarding in the fridge in our room, but we didn’t have enough to facilitate day-time-drinking, which was a real shame. Instead, we sat in the lounge and I made progress through Derren Brown’s latest book, Happy (which is bloody brilliant so far, particularly if you’re into self-help books, I highly recommend it).
Another day with not many photos unfortunately, since the museums prohibit photography. Here is a photo of a statue donated by the Japanese following the Tsunami though.
Read the rest of my Sri Lanka Stories, here.