This and the previous post are not about the Building Bridges workshops at all – Minky and I were stuck in Vavuniya for two days, unable to conduct the final performances because of the threat of rain, and unable to go home because of a 24-hour train strike. So we made the best of a bad situation and had a two day holiday in Vavuniya, roaming its streets and sampling its (incredibly good) cuisine. This is an account of our two very lazy days.
We woke up earlier today – but only marginally. Mr Kumar had some unfortunate news for us in that the trains didn’t seem to be running yet, and I shuddered a little at the thought of taking the bus all the way down to Colombo, especially since it’s been raining. So we decided to first check with the station to see if there was any hope for taking a train back today, and then pack and take the bus if necessary.
As with all holidays with my friends, today was characterised by doing little else but eating, but Minks and I did get a decent amount of walking done today as well. We skipped breakfast and took a walk down Outer Circular Road (with a detour at the station to ask a grumpy –looking uncle if the trains would be running – they were! Which meant we’d be able to stay till lunch!), and right on Station Road towards the HNB atm. I withdrew the money I needed to pay for both the van hire and the hotel bill, and then walked back in the direction of the hotel, but continued along Station Road until we reached the Hindu temple, and turned left into the road to Vairavarpuliyan Kulam instead – not Bund Road, the one before, I’m not sure if it has a name. We hung out for a bit, took a few pictures, watched the birds and a sure-footed dog, and then walked back up. We then continued along Station Road to the Best Prathap Restaurant for a roti each (we wanted to save our stomachs for lunch at White Stone!) and sat outside munching. We marvelled at an incredibly fat dachshund-cross-pariah dog for a few moments, took more pictures of Chef Prathap (we presume) balancing sushi in his outstretched hand (why, I’m not sure, this place is a regular saiver kade) and we retraced our steps to the hotel.
It was getting rather hot, so we stopped in for a cream soda (with another detour at the station to check if what Grumpy Uncle had said was true – this time we asked a policeman), before walking further down Outer Circular Road in search of Inner Circular Road (the road is a perfect circle, so my curiosity was piqued). Despite a wrong turn because I’d read Google Maps wrongly, we found the road without much mishap, did the required walk around, discovered that halfway down was the road that led to the HNB atm (so we could have actually killed two birds with one stone) and then walked back to the hotel. Because we walked so aimlessly and stopped so often, it was almost noon, so we decided the time was right to walk to the town, for lunch at White Stone. So we did.
Lunch at White Stone was delicious, despite a few disappointments – there was no parata for lunch (the garlic rice we got as a substitute was a winner, though), no paneer in stock (elusive as ever!) and the cuttlefish curry wasn’t as deliciously thick as last time. It was still good though, and the butter chicken and prawns were delicious. After rounding off our meal with ice cream, we went next door to Cargills, to buy a few snacks for the trip home. Being so full, though, we were less greedy about buying food than last time. And then, since we didn’t feel like walking in our python-state, in the afternoon heat, we called Mr Premadasa to drop us home. Fun fact: we’d walked up Outer Circular Road to Station Road, turned left, and turned left again onto the Kandy-Jaffna Road, but what we didn’t realised was that Outer Circular Road fell directly on to the Kandy Road, being right-angled in nature – we learned that only after we’d asked Mr Premadasa to drop us home. We know now, though!
After the routine packing of bags, and a small nap, I handed over the two boxes of Milos I’d bought for the children that weren’t used, to Mr Kumar, paid the bill, gave over Gajan’s money to Kamal who fortuitously arrived in the nick of time, and hitched a one-minute ride with him in his little Vitz to the station (I actually really like that car!). The train journey was uneventful, and spent in meticulous recording, with Minky peering over my shoulder every so often and laughing at my attempts.