After finally completing the official clearance dance about 14:30 on Sunday our friends Bill & Amy on S/V ESTRELLITA accompanied us on our first venture outside the military port of Galle Harbour. They introduced us to Marlan, a guy who usually stays just outside the security guard station. Marlan can handle just about anything one might want. If it is available in Sri Lanka, Marlan is the man to see. We arranged to bring him several loads of laundry the next morning. Once our boat is moved to the concrete quay (the only place in the port where electricity is available), then we will arrange with Marlan for a little tour of Sri Lanka.
We jumped into a couple of tuk-tuks and were off to the old Dutch fort. Every Asian country we have visited has had a slightly different version of tuk-tuks. The ones here in Galle are sort of like a 3-wheel small motor cycle with a bench seat passenger cab that will seat 2 adults. We rode in 2 tuk-tuks this day and each ride was 150 rupiah, about $1.35 USD. While walking through the old Dutch fort area I saw this old man with his grandson standing behind a tuk-tuk. So here is a photo of the local manner of dress and an example of the most popular local transportation.
We got separated from Bill & Amy because we needed to stop at a ATM and obtain local currency, but our driver phoned Marlan and learned where the other tuk-tuk had taken Bill & Amy. Soon we were reunited outside a nice restaurant inside the old Dutch fort overlooking seaside. I opted to try something new -- deviled cuttlefish served with noodles. This was delicious! Cuttlefish is very similar to squid. Deviled does not have the same definition as we know it. It is nothing like deviled eggs or deviled ham. Deviled in Sri Lanka means a particular type of red sauce and can be either bland, medium or hot. I chose medium and it was delicious.
After lunch we walked around the old Dutch area. I think this might have been declared a UNESCO site because it appears that renovations are underway on every block. The architecture is interesting. This is the type of area where one can spend days peeking into the shops. There are lots of small jewelry shops, many wood carving shops and several old mansion museums. We wandered around one of the museums and watched a man polishing stones and jewels with an old-fashioned wheel and water tray. If one enjoys jewelry, this is a good place to find it.
Bill Betts insisted we walk down a particular street. Soon we understood why. Amy is always picking up rocks. A few days earlier she had picked up a pretty piece of quartz off the road and put it into her pocket to keep. Unknown to her, Bill took that quartz to a small jewelry shop and had it mounted into a pendant. We walked into the shop and Amy was totally surprised to be handed her pretty light green piece of quartz mounted in a heavy sterling silver band as a pendant. She selected a heavy sterling silver chain to match the mounting and the result was lovely. How very special is that!! Not every woman is lucky enough to have a partner so thoughtful!
We walked about half way back to the harbor area, stopping for fresh fruits and veggies and bread along the way. We had the traditional ice cream cone from a street vendor. Saw lots of shoe repair vendors along the roadside. That reminded me of South and Central America. Some things are the same worldwide. The people try to eek out a living as best they can with whatever they can.
We were getting blisters and decided to catch another couple of tuk-tuks back to the harbor. So ended our first day in Sri Lanka.