On the Waters of the Bolgoda Lake – The Flow

Getting to this place was a panic in itself. The online maps showed everything about this place- how to get here and all but the actual surroundings gave you that feeling that you might be lost.

That is, until the open the big brown gate and you saw what the interior looked like.

An open lobby that shows itself to the lake-and what a good view of it. It is not in a small clove or a narrow stretch of water, there is a good view of it all.

A show around of the Marina was given (The Amber Collection). There was a small pool but luxuriously built.
A small bar to get our refreshments and our welcome drink was a nicely made Watermelon juice. No seeds at all unlike some other restaurants that stopped me from drinking this beautiful drink altogether.

I was asked by the mange as to when and where I would like my lunch and when I asked him to look after our experience, he brightened up and said that he will be glad to do so. And a happy “you will be surprised” was added to the end of his conversation.

They showed me my room. Such a glamorous room it is. The fine woodwork and the antique looking plumbing added a seafaring touch to the ambience of the room, and it was nice idea to put the bathtub in the room itself (not in the bathroom where there are no windows) – where there are the windows which overlook the waters of the Bolgoda lake.

Along came lunch

Upon cheek-in, a lunch menu was presented to us. We were asked to mark what we would like to have for lunch from the 3 course (or so I thought when I was ordering – but definitely it was not the fact when I saw how the other tables had received their food).
To me, it seemed as if there was a choice of 2 different Starters (Both vegetarian) or a soup.

Where the other tables got a few course menus, I only got a three course. But I did not complain as each of my 3 courses was flavorful and folly. Frankly, after eating my share, I did not really have the need to eat more.

However, as I sit here, at the dining table, a thought comes to mind. There is a confusion. They thought that we did not ask for dessert. Apparently, you have to physically, verbally and spiritually order the dinner even though it was the only desert item on that three course menu.

Wow here I wait longer for my dinner. It was a good thing that I had asked for it. Else, back to my room not having my sweet tooth satisfied.

My verbal response to all this was, “I am going to mark everything on your menu.” And so I did. On the menu that the captain provided, I’ve even went far to marked the number of dishes. Underlined the menu items. Wrote Exactly how I wanted my beef grilled (which the Captain assured us it was how it was generally cooked).

We hear the boats’ Engine start. The cruise is about to begin. But it seems delayed-most likely they are waiting for my cream caramel to be prepared.

And speak of the devil-here it comes. This chapter has gained its final full stop.

The propellers are a churning

We have started to move. Spoke to the captain and he told us all about the controls in front of him [up on my curious inquisition.)

Did you know that Bolgoda lake is about 3-5m deep at its deepest? It’s not really that deep, is it?
The Chief Engineer confirmed that if you jump into the water, you will only be neck deep but will truly be stuck in the mud because there is a thick layer of it that has settled on the bed; a thick gooey mess of it. I’m not even going to wear a life jacket to swim in this water. And no, I haven’t asked the crew about the possibility of doing so.

So instead, I filled up the bathtub and had a good soak. The only regret is the missing bubble bath solution at the thought that I have a bath bomb at home and it is not being used.

I am fortunate. The amenities within the room are plentiful. Bathroom amenities are complete. You don’t have to bring anything from home. Everything was provided for and of superb quality. This company knows what it needs done when it comes to in-room luxuries.

Well, dinner at 7.30pm, On deck under the stars on the middle of the Bolgoda lake

A four course menus that I have ensured that I have thoroughly marked to reduce or even eliminate miscommunication between us two parties.

Now its time to saw some logs and enjoy a little siesta. Oh, the boat doesn’t feel like a boot at all. It is so stable and so comfortable. Even a person who gets seriously seasick will enjoy this cruise.

A surprising evening snack

Oh what a surprise! The Captain called me up and asked me if I wanted the snack in the room or up on the deck.
Up on the deck is the place to go. Our neighbors, who was also having their evening snack received an unexpected guest, a Pigeon. Upon closer inspection, it was found to be a hand-raised pigeon. It has a blue tag on both feet.
Our waiter returned it back to the wild hoping it will get home safely.

Back to our snack. It was a meal in itself and quite a heavy one at that. I had requested to push the dinner back by one hour. Eating that much and then dipping soon into dinner will be too much than the stomach can handle.

Keep in mind, being the lost traveler, I like these surprises and hope that I can get more with the hopes that they will be extremely accommodating with my requests for change.

So far, so good. A smile on their faces goes a long way and my blindness and their willingness goes hand in hand.

Top class service, by the three on board. The Captain, the Chief Engineer and waiter.

Our bottle of Cognac is well suited to this ship. From being on the water, to the four Course dinner to the wonderful aroma less breeze that moves briskly from port to stern (left to right – please correct me, all you regular sea-going travelers out there).

A calm voyage. I can comfortably say, up to this point, that it is well worth the money that I have spent.

Dinner onboard

The four course dinner menu came and went and it was good but quite heavy. I enjoyed it immensely and that brought in a deep sleep soon

A Bit of fishing

6.30 am brought us a preplanned call from our Captain that the fishing boat was ready.

A small little boat took us to a small island that our boatman rowed us to. A fishing rod node of Kithul wood with a fishing line and hook was arranged for us. The bait that he used was pieces of bread rolled and then placed on the end of a hook. Took a bit of time to get the feel of the casting the line but I got used to it and it was such an entertaining experience. From being so low and close to the water to waiting by a mangrove where the fish lived in numbers got me to catch 2 fish, which we released back onto the water.

After about an hour and a half of fishing we headed back to the Marina’s Doc but the house boat had already left for its morning cruise. we had to wait for a bit. They were in the process of loading up breakfast and it was this speedboat that they used to take us back to the house boat.

After about 5 minute of freshening up, it was upstairs again for breakfast. They started with a fruit platter at then went on to a very interesting bowl of mango cereal. You will have to try it to experience it. There are a few to many details here that I will omit just to make sure you can judge based on your own experience a rather than relying on my words. Just like how you would like your eggs. They are one of the most versatile food items known to man and each will have their own opinion as to how it ought to be cooked.

They’re bringing it in

It was a bit after breakfast when the Captain announced that the houseboat is going in for Docking. It was a good stay and a recommendation goes out for all who want to experience it.

Yes, it is on the pricey side but you won’t get an experience like this anywhere else and its worth putting a few 10 grands aside and experience this.

All I asked Blue Ceylon was to get me on a course and that’s what they did.

Maybe a rainy day won’t hurt the trip except for the bit of fishing, but the rain drops across the vast lake would look really good.

Boat docked, we checked out and it is just the drive on hard tarmac back home to look forward to.

Blue Ceylon looked after. They can look after you.I decided to go in blind and cumbersome as it is, it was an experience. Or you could ask all the questions you need and enjoy every single minute of your ride as the Amber Flow at Bolgoda.

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#givebacktonature – A Cleaner Sri Lanka

Give back to Nature – The Self

This should be a mantra that has to spoken to oneself to begin the day. Wherever we go, we see garbage, waste, landfill, plastics, glass, cans, paper etc which leads to an unaesthetic visual sight of the place, the unappetizing aromatic atmosphere around the place, where one has to carefully thread lest they step on yesterday’s breakfast or a base for tonight’s dinner – but worst – the possibility of disease that lingers around from germs that congregate at such waste sites.

Give back to Nature. The Youth

This should be what has to be taught in school every morning at assembly and at every recess during the middle of the day. School children knowing not to buy anything from vendors that come wrapped in plastic or that comes in plastics that cannot be recycled. School children looking to make and play with ornaments and decorations from the plastic thrown by others and not by the Plastics thrown on to shop shelves for selling by companies looking to profit from people’s ignorance. 

Give back to Nature. The Action

A series of beach clean-ups took place at various beaches around the Island and i was privileged to be a part of the team that assisted in cleaning things up and two of these beaches so far. 

The things we found – plastic bags, straws, containers, ice cream packets, yoghurt cups, plastic ropes and fibers, bottle caps, styrofoam, plastic bottles, SYRINGES WITH NEEDLES all on our beaches that we take our children to.

It was a back-breaking task, where i felt the sore muscle effects even days after the clean-up. which prompted me to buy a Picker Tool (yes, made of plastic but for for good deed and I shall look to utilizing it properly if ever it breaks at some point in time) and that helped alot and made the clean-up more effective and efficient.

So if you want to help out but feel nervous doing a clean up on your own – which I understand for i had all my tools and PPEs with me on the first time I went for a clean up but went early and so was very nervous myself thinking what would others think if i was cleaning up a beach while they bathed in it. Some of you may say not to bother with what others think at all, but there will always be a voice in your head that still tells you someone is watching you.

So if you want to help out, feel free to search on Social Media and join one of the campaigns that are being organized now to clean up various beaches around the Island. Or else, just post a request to gather people for a beach clean up and get it going yourself. 

Get recycling companies on board. Call them up. Get posters and learn from them and see the magic happen. 

There will be a time, if we continue the way we are going, that we will never see a green blade of grass again or a puddle of water that we can splash in anymore. Or the shade of a tree to rest under when the sun gets hotter and hotter because of Climate Change. 

The saying “The grass is always greener on the other side” may never literally hold true anymore for there will not be anymore grass – or if there is, might be in the form of a mutated growth now that is asking for milk and cookies while trying to cram knowledge into itself.

I may get lost during my travels. I may not know what the places I visit are or the deep history of sites pass through, but at least I get to enjoy the beauty and awe of it now which may not hold itself in the near future if we do not do anything about it. 

Give back to Nature…. and Nature will give back to you ten-fold.

Give back to Nature… before there is no Nature to get back from.

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A Drive to Kalpitiya – Part 1

Out of the blue, I got a call from friends who were within that blue – an emotion that caused them to call me because they were lonely? No, they wanted a ride. 

A trip to Kalpitiya.

All expenses paid by my said friends – It’s like i won the Lottery

All instructions provided by said friends.

Itinerary devised by said friends.

At least they allowed me an upgrade of the room. Frankly speaking, I did not ask what was the original status of the room or what type of room is it and what will my upgrade get me. However, fear not, I have my upgrade now.

This trip is to take place on a very special day of my year. So, I am going to treat it as my “In The Blue Friends giving me an Out of The Blue birthday present.”

Itinerary is as follows:

One Night, Two Days.

12th and 13th of October
Room Rate: Free (for me)
Upgrade Rate: Yet to be informed about. (Hope its not the price of another room – but it might be worth it. I could use the extra room to roll around like a rag doll and have fun)
Food: Not sure. Hopefully part of the room package – I’m secretly hoping that its going to be free and lavish.

There are stock photos of the Property available online but i prefer to take my own. One concern is that those photos may be edited and glamourfied (should there be such a word. If not, my apologies and let’s start a petition to add it to a dictionary).

One’s own eye that is used is one of the best weapons in one’s arsenal and I shall look to get my own photos.

There’s another month to go. More time to wait. Part 2 will come pack filled with information that is going to fall right into my lap or on my head, whichever hurts first.

So until Part 2, I am not going to check out the sights and sounds of the place online – which was what was taken through eyes of others – and wait until the said time with the said friends.

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A Walk in the Fort

A wise poet once said… A walk in a park is like two in the naps on a bed. Do not ask who this poet is. I guess he/she was not that famous to begin with and with this quote did not become famous even now.
The Galle Fort. Once a safe haven for soldiers who once defended the Coasts of Sri Lanka, now a tourist destination that many have seen on the face of the National Tourism Website.
There are famous places to visit therein but the sites that are not Tourist Guide focused are also ones that catches the eye and eventually the camera lens.
The sea. There is always a beach and plenty of water but most of the rocks that are scattered around the beaches are boulders broken off the Fort itself. Maybe for past wars? I did not have a Guide present to tell me.
The lighthouse. Tall and elegant. Once used to lure ships away from the sand bars and brick walls that lined the coast.
The Temples. Probably a new addition. Probably not.
Such are the many views that i enjoyed but learnt little about.
Get a trusted Tour Guide – Get Blue Ceylon.
And then your stories and this blog will have more details focused on the real value behind it all.
Most of my blogs will be on the lack of a tourist guide. So be prepared for a lot of false information and a whole lot of pretty pictures of places I have been to.
Hope you will have a better holiday than I did.
Oh yeah! Nearly forgot – Walk to India Hut – Beautiful Biriyani. Walk to the Roti Hut next to it. Lovely Crispy Roti with a really good filling. There were other places. Stomach was full. Settled it with a variety of Gelato also available.
Galle Fort was fun. Planning on going there again. Maybe with a trusted Tour Guide like Blue Ceylon.
Model: Ranaka S.

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