Preparing for a trek: Part 3 – What to bring

This is more of a list of the things that I find invaluable for hiking. Even though I don’t have many treks under my belt, I nearly always go on long hikes wherever I travel to, so I have a few tips and tricks. I haven’t covered off the backpack; to be honest I don’t feel I have enough experience to give advice on choosing a backpack and there are a lot of variables, but I’ll think about it and come back if I have any tips that spring to mind other than don’t get too big of a bag as you will be tempted to put more into it, and whilst 12kg seems acceptable on the first morning, even by the first night you’ll have thrown out anything you can because it will seem so ridiculously, unbearably heavy when you’re going up a mountain. Pack it, then unpack it, remove everything that you can survive 3 nights without, pack it again, wear it for a day-long hike, and then purge some more.

Clothes:

Merino everything.  No, seriously, just keep layering it until you’re warm. James taught me this and I was sceptical at first because I get rashes whenever I go near wool, but merino is different. It’s warm in cold weather, it’s breathable in hot weather, it doesn’t get stank, it washes (even in the machine) beautifully, it’s lightweight, it bundles down very small without crumpling, it’s soft, and it’s a beautiful natural fabric. I have so much Icebreaker in my wardrobe and I only wish I had more.  So ladies, find an Icebreaker outlet or shop around online, because even if you think it’s too expensive, in terms of cost per wear it is cheap (as you’ll be able to wear it daily, for years, even when you’re back home):

–       A merino travel dress: this may seem surprising as a “trekking” item, but actually it’s so wonderful to be able to crawl into it after a day of hiking, and it’s warm and soft and, dare-I-say-it, pretty, whilst generally being fairly modest when you are in more traditional parts of the world. You can also wear it to travel in as it doesn’t crumple, and you can wear it to go out of an evening without feeling frumpy, and you can sleep in it and hike in it and generally just never take it off. I have three. Expect pictures below, at a later date, of me frolicking in various environments in my Icebreaker dresses.

–       1 merino zipped hoodie

–       1 merino vest

–       1 merino long-sleeve t-shirt

–       1 wind-proof and water-proof hooded shell (I have a super lightweight one from Patagonia that zips down into its own pocket and I love it)

–       (if trekking in winter: 1 down jacket)

–       1 pair merino leggings

–       1 pair hiking trousers

–       1 pair shorts (some people go for the type of trousers that zip into shorts. I have never found a comfortable pair that looked decent but I’m sure they exist. My hiking trousers do have little snaps to turn them into capris though).

–       Underwear: unsurprisingly I have a merino sports bra that I love, which is simple and cheerful and doesn’t look sexy. It’s supportive yet comfortable enough to sleep in and it doesn’t get stinky… you’re unlikely to want to change bras much when you’re in a tent halfway up a mountain. I’m of the smaller-chested variety so I have no advice on bras for big boobs, sorry! But I’d imagine you also want something that is comfy and supportive but not crazily so – you’re not running, so you don’t need to strap them down too much. 2 bras is generally enough, one to wash and one to wear.

–       As for knickers – get something lightweight, that will breathe, won’t chafe (ohhhh the chafing… I’ll admit there have been hikes where I ditched underwear rather than chafe) and that will wash and dry quickly overnight. NO COTTON. Again, trust me.  2-3 pairs (and if camping, I don’t change them unless I need to, cos I’m gross/practical like that).

–       Socksalready covered in part one. To recap… merino! 2-3 pairs of hiking socks.

General:

–       A hat – preferably an actual hat and not a baseball cap, because the brim of the cap will not protect your ears or neck (or at least it can only protect one of these at a time, as I can testify).

–       A scarf – I am a redhead and I need a scarf no matter what time of year, but most of all in summer, to protect me from the sun. When it’s really hot, you can soak a scarf in cold water and wear it over your head and shoulders to keep cool. Other scarf functions: impromptu towel; tent for shade when you’re taking a break; extra sheet for bedding or rolled up as a pillow; folded into a handy carry bag; mask when walking through stinky, smoky or insect-infested areas; eyemask when napping; skirt or shawl when bare legs or shoulders are inappropriate; protection from burning hot pleather seats on a bus or tuk-tuk… and many more. Get a nice huge lightweight scarf and never let it go.

–       Sunglasses

–       Headband. This can be the type for warmth, or just to keep your hair out of your eyes/face/everything, especially if it’s windy and you don’t have the kind of hair that can just be tied back. Get one that’s adjustable (like this) so that it’s never too tight (headaches) or too loose (useless and easily lost).

–       Flip-flops – if you’ve ever travelled, you probably know this, but have a plastic pair of thongs stashed away. If you can bear it, Crocs are actually heaven after a day of trekking in boots. Full disclaimer: I cannot bear it, and have never fallen to the Crocs, but instead watched others enviously, and once borrowed my mother’s whilst on the Camino which is how I know just how amazing they feel.

Sleeping:

–       Silk sleeping bag liner. This is a MAJOR one. A MUST-HAVE. They are fairly inexpensive (I’ve seen them priced from 9 Euro to AUD $50 but I got mine for I think AUD $25) and they will revolutionise your experience. Their basic function is to make your sleeping bag up to 5º C warmer… which is nice… and they are much more easily washed than a sleeping-bag, so you can basically keep the sleeping bag cleaner and enjoy the “clean sheet” effect regularly. But I love them because:

  • They are soft and silky and nicer to lay in than most hostel or camping bedding
  • I find I get itchy skin from the detergent used on most sheets and the silk is a great (and hygienic!) barrier
  • When it’s hot, I can lay on the bed in just the silk liner rather than sheets (ideal when you don’t want to be naked cos of sharing a room with other people)
  • When it’s TROPICAL levels of hot I lay on top of it as it doesn’t hold sweat the way cotton does
  • I tend to get paranoid about mosquitos and bugs crawling on me (don’t judge! everyone’s been there at least once in their lives!) and I can relax when I know I’m safe in my silk bag
  • When there definitely are mosquitos around, I can hide inside my liner completely sealed off!
  • It also makes a great scarf (especially on sunburnt skin or when you’re drenched with rain) and you now know how much I love scarves
  • It can be wrapped around you under other layers for extra warmth, even when wet.

–       Earplugs. Never ever travel without earplugs. From bustling crazy cities, inconsiderate hostel room-mates, villages where the dogs bark.all.night.long, and even the startling silence of camping in complete isolation from the civilised world… you’ll never know when you’ll need them. I bulk buy them and then stash them in every pocket and bag for easy access in the middle of the night or on a long train-journey.

–       Eyemask if you’re a bit precious like me. I don’t always use it, but in my travels 80% of the places I have slept in, from tents in Bhutan to serviced apartments in Seoul, had nothing to shutter out the bright early morning light. This can be a good thing if you need to get up, but if you desperately need any sleep you can get, then I find eyemasks from Muji to be my favourite – reasonable price, soft to wear, don’t get sweaty, and block out the light quite effectively.

Toiletries:

–       Sunscreen – I love this affordable moisturiser from Nivea that’s SPF 30 and is instantly absorbed, soothing dry skin at the same time. Then bring any basic SPF 30 for arms, neck and legs, and a chapstick with SPF. If you’re in the mountains, you’ll get a lot of sun, and regardless, you’re outside all day long. This is obviously a guide for the ladies, so ladies – do it.

–       Bug spray – check online to see if strong insect repellent is available where you’re going (top tip: there’s none in Sri Lanka). Get something small and easy to apply; if it’s windy, spray into your hand and then smear it on.

–       Bite-eze or whatever it’s called – because despite everything you will get bitten by something. I have this Burt’s Bees one that I like; I think it’s mostly placebo with camphor and whatnot to distract from the bite, but it just makes such a difference when feeling assaulted by mozzies! And don’t scratch, but you knew that…

–       Body glide/ silicon anti-chafing gel. Great for ladies because bras, knickers, and thighs chafe very easily. As discussed in Part 1, also valuable for keeping your feet blister-free.

–       Wet wipes, and a ziplock baggie for disposing of them. Wet wipes are so useful but unlike toilet paper, not at all biodegradable, so make sure you have a dedicated “bin-bag” and don’t dump them in nature.

–       Travel size toothpaste and toothbrush. More ziplock bags. Lots of ziplock bags.

–       A small travel towel, mostly just as a gesture. Washing is unlikely to be a priority unless it’s really hot and you’re really sweaty and you have access to showers, and if it’s really hot you’ll dry off quickly anyway.

–       Haircare: Be prepared to have crazy hair. Maybe you’re luckier than me, but I have no idea how to avoid crazy hair when trekking. Sorry. However if you’re staying in hostels and have access to showers then it’s better to carry a little bottle of shampoo (in a ziplock, of course) and then use that to clean your underwear in the shower as well. Shampoo seems to be a superior surfactant, as it foams up quickly and rinses out easily without damaging your clothes.

Other stuff:

My friend asked me about travel guides, and whether to go for paper or ebooks. My advice is: download all the ebook guides you can find, but always travel with a paperback Lonely Planet. I find ebook guides can be frustrating and you can’t flip through them and randomly fall upon information the way you can with paper. I love ebooks but also sometimes you have no electricity and you need a book, either for guidance or for sheer sanity as something to read when you’re stranded at a remote train station for 7 hours; Lonely Planet guides are designed with this in mind and always have anecdotes, bits of history, and of course a phrasebook integrated.

If you are trekking with a smartphone (switched on sporadically, on airplane mode, so you can use it as a camera, ipod, map and perhaps even Runkeeper…) you will want to make sure you can top up the battery with a travel charger. I have an ANKER external battery, which can feed a power-hungry iPhone 5 multiple times over the course of a week.  I used my iPhone as a camera and took hundreds of photos daily during my trek in the Himalayas, as well as reading ebooks or listening to audiobooks during the long, cold, dark evenings, and even in the cold my ANKER was enough to last me for days. James used his iPhone and an ANKER and it was enough to track our trek through a GPS app.

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divers

Divers is French for “miscellaneous”. But it’s also English for people who dive. That’s me and James! This post has taken a loooong time to go up, due to photo-issues. So it’s extra loooong.

This is the fourth time we have been able to spend some time together since James embarked on his superhero career. It’s always so good to see him and we always have fun, but this time has been pretty special. We went down to Unawatuna to do a PADI Open Water diving certification course.

This was initially James’ idea and as usual, I followed blindly, aware that it was probably going to be somewhat terrifying but also exciting. This has been the pattern from day one – a rollercoaster ride at Luna Park in St Kilda – and has seen me motorcycling over the Alps, climbing dizzy cathedral towers, off-trail mountain hiking (often in the dark), river-trekking, scampering about on Parisian rooftops and jumping off trees into sink-holes.




Back on topic, our diving course was superlatively superlative. Most places get you to do 4 “confined water” sessions in a swimming pool, followed by 4-5 “open water dives”. We got to do all of our training in the crystal waters of Jungle Beach bay, and of course do our dives around Unawatuna Bay.



Day one was overcast and a little gloomy, but it didn’t matter as our wonderful diving instructor Nick had a day of study for us anyway. We spent several hours watching videos about diving and doing quizzes. The videos were mostly informative although very American and FUN FUN FUN oriented. Unfortunately they also focused on listing all the things that can go wrong when diving, which makes sense, but also made me worry about details like how I might get an air bubble in my (awful) teeth fillings or how my recent migraine-sinus problems might cause my head to explode. But of course the satisfaction of writing exam papers compensated somewhat for that. By the end of the day we knew all the weird tubes and components of the diving gear and that alone was a victory!

Day two we returned and after being kitted and wet-suited up, jumped in a boat and set off for Jungle Beach. I had no idea how heavy diving gear would be – by the time I had pulled on my BCD, air tank, and of course gazillion kilos of lead in my weight belt, I could barely stand up. We stumbled into the water and pulled on our flippers and masks, and then it was time for me to bite the bullet/regulator and actually learn to breathe underwater.


I got really bad sunburn, even though I was trying to keep protected!


We spent the morning doing various skills, like taking off our masks underwater, taking out our regulators (the part that goes in your mouth and provides the actual air…), fiddling around with our BCDs etc.



Visibility is not amazing, but here I am kneeling on the left, facing Nick, and doing some skill or another, possibly removing the lead belt which means that seconds later I was shooting up towards the surface…

And here I am practicing my hovering skills whilst Nick times me. Note how he wears his sunglasses on his head even underwater. Love you Nick!

I was feeling surprisingly confident by the time we got out of the water for lunch.


Then in the afternoon, two Swedish guys joined James and myself, and Nick announced we would be heading out for a 40-minute dive along the edge of the bay. We wouldn’t be going any lower than 6 metres, he assured us.

HELLO ROSIE PANIC STATIONS! I tried to stay cool and pulled on my gear. We paddled out to the water, masks and regulators in place, and descended to the bottom. Nick set off, the two Swedish guys behind him, and James and I went last. I couldn’t breathe. At all. Well probably a little bit, but I felt like I was about to have an asthma attack. All the awful things that happened in the videos came rushing back to me. I clutched at James and gave him the signal for “something is off”. He looked at me, waiting for me to clarify if it was my mask or a cramp. I gave the international signal for I’M FREAKING OUT, pulled my inflation toggle, and went straight back up to the surface where I pulled out my regulator and had a nice little weepy-hyperventilate-y-I-can’t-do-this moment. James held my hand and tried to soothe me but by the time the others came to find us I was already convinced I couldn’t do it. So I didn’t. I went back to the beach and burned a lovely wetsuit outline onto myself instead.


Day three. Determined not to panic. Lovely Nick was now aware that he had a bit of a princess on his hands and thereafter instigated “Rosie Chill-out Time”, where we sink to the bottom of the water and then wait until I’ve regulated my breathing and am happy to move forward. This worked very well; even though Nick had allocated several minutes, within about 20 seconds I was feeling comfortable and confident. I’m so grateful to Nick for being patient about it!


We went on a couple of dives, one in the Jungle Beach bay and one in the open water directly opposite Unawatuna Bay beach (known as “Lord Nelson Wreck”).

Neither James (who took all these pictures of course) nor I could work out why my arm is in this picture, but you can draw your own conclusions.

James caught this bizarre creature — pretty much the ONLY picture we have of any marine life, due to camera problems.

As the name suggests: there was a shipwreck on the second dive! Sadly James’ camera ran out of battery just as we reached the wreck. Boo! But both of us came back to the surface thrilled with our experiences. It turns out, the easiest bit is the actual diving and swimming around.

After our dives, we headed to Flamingo to celebrate with a couple of beers, which is how we discovered that after diving a single sip of beer is like a few shots of vodka. We luxuriated and watched the sun go down over the beach… lucky us!


Day four. I woke up feeling atrociously hungover, even though I’d literally only had a sip of James’ beer the night before. The whole night I’d felt the bed floating beneath me and I was a bit nauseous and light-headed. I wasn’t feeling so keen on getting back into my wetsuit, strapping on my diving gear and flipping backwards into the water off the side of the boat, James Bond-style. But I did, because I’m TUFF. The first dive went off easy peasy – 46 minutes at 18 metres. Well apart from my sinus pain, but that wasn’t too big a deal really, once I knew it wasn’t a sign my brain would explode.

We surfaced and clambered back onto the boat before heading off to the next dive site.

Then we sat in the boat bobbing up and down for what seemed like forever (I had no watch but I’m guessing it was about 45 minutes?) whilst we allowed our bodies to release some of the nitrogen you absorb when diving. This was not only dull, but really uncomfortable, as both James and I got increasingly queasy. After a while Nick suggested we jump in the water if we weren’t feeling too good, but with instructions not to let go of the ladder, as you can be pulled out to sea VERY QUICKLY in open water.

My sickness did not improve a huge amount, even once in the water. By the time we finally hauled on our tanks (much easier in water than on a boat), I was feeling terrible, and putting my regulator in made me gag. I tried to puke but in the end the only cure is diving to the bottom of the sea, where there are no waves and bouncing around. Within minutes I felt fine and we had the best dive of all, all over the coral, seeing hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous tropical fish in fantastic neon colours. Again, sorry for the absence of pictures, especially as there were actually exciting things to see… the Go-Pro has its shortcomings! We took heaps of video but the colour was off and everything needs to be edited, if I wait till that’s done this post will never go up.

I was really thrilled by the last dive – the best dive of all – and it made me a little sad to think of all the diving I could have been doing whilst in Sri Lanka! But I am also really happy to be going back to Melbourne next week, and everyone knows Australia has some fantastic diving sites so it’s not like I’m heading off to Scotland or something. James is being posted to Afghanistan for a year; I doubt he’ll have much opportunity to practice out there….

listless listing

I haven’t updated for nearly a month — since before Beijing, in fact — because I’ve been both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by various events. The solution can only be in bullet-point format.

— Beijing was great. The first two days were exhausting but once I had sent the ministerial delegation on its merry way back to Sri Lanka, I basically had no work to do and enjoyed a week of cold weather, hanging out with my friend from uni Mariutti. We had some great meals, zipped around on her electric bike, went to the National Museum of Chinese Art, and discussed at great length her potential take-over of my job in Colombo. Spoiler: we decided against it last night.
On the bike, in the rain…
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— Whilst I was in China, I was informed that I have been offered a place for the Masters course I want to do: Cultural Materials Conservation. This gave me great joy, followed by great despair, as it costs lotsandlotsamoney and I am earning handfuls of rupees. But I want to do it, and so I SHALL do it.

— My sister came to stay! Darling Polly was with me for 10 days, and a cyclone hit us for most of that time. We did fit in some monkeys, elephants, beach time and cocktails, but I think we spent just as much time curled up on the couch reading crime thrillers — so a perfect holiday for us sisters, really.

Sisters in a tuk-tuk!
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Polly and the ocean!
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Polly and some elephants!

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— I told my job I’m quitting. They are not best pleased. But frankly, even if I’m not supposed to whinge on this blog — I cannot withhold my contempt for this place much longer. I do not, not, NOT enjoy working here. Or living here. Sorry (and sorry to all my friends on Facebook who have heard me whinging almost incessantly the last couple of weeks).

— I’m planning to be back in Melbourne by mid-December. This makes me happy. This is also the… let me think… third or fourth time this year that I’ve promised that? I originally was going to be back by January 2012. Oh well. This time it’s for SURE! as long as I don’t get giddy and accept the job I was offered in the Caribbean (because it would be an ADVENTURE! and then I would be closer to ALLY! who is currently hanging out in the AMAZON!… nooo Rosie don’t do it… stick to your plans).

— I’m sitting here somewhat grumpy because I have been knocked out by another attack of migraines + sinusitis. Sick AGAIN. I am WEARY. Additionally I have run out of Yaz, so I am overly emotional and irrationally susceptible. ALSO I am waiting to find out if James is going off to Libya to fuck around with some sort of de-mining gig, or if he is going to come here and see me in a couple of weeks. Yes, his career, adventure, bla-de-bla, but I would like to see him, selfish creature that I am. Roll on Monday with some answers and hopefully some pills (thanks to Emy, and her international brigade of contacts, who has arranged for a shipment of Yaz to be brought over from Turkey on Sunday. Woohoo!).

— I have been running nonsense little runs, of about 5km, on the treadmill. Even when I’m sick. I have to, for my own sanity. I cover up the screen with a towel and just listen to music and try to forget about everything. I really, really miss running outdoors. But between the humidity, the heat, and most importantly the lack of an actual place to run, I just don’t see it happening. I did plan to go to the Colombo hash on Wednesday but that was the day my sinusitis kicked in and my migraines were so vicious I almost fainted during a meeting at the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, and trust me, that’s an uncomfortable place to get dizzy in. So no hash. Next week!

— I have lots of photos for China and for Polly’s trip (like when she got molested by a baby elephant). But I am lazy and the pictures need to be combed through, selected, resized, uploaded and then linked to. So… sorry. I guess they go on the list of posts I’ll write one day.

dead again

The moment I hit post on the last update, my “twinge” of pain developed into full-blown “oh my god I can barely walk” pain. So no “racing” (ha, ha, it was only ever gonna be a crawl) on Sunday morning — you have to get a doctor’s certificate to register! Not happening. I set myself up with some boxes and folders so I can work standing up at my desk instead of sitting, as sitting makes the pain in right hip really awful. I guess I need to go see a physio.

Here, in no particular order, are some pictures from the last few days.

Don’t park here.

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Dude who has been hanging out in my bedroom these last few days.

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JOIN US!
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Me in office clothes and my new running shoes, as yet never worn to run in, due to injuries:
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What I did on Saturday evening, instead of partay-ing with the rest of the world.
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Re: the above paper-cutting, my father’s official profession was art teacher. When we moved to France, he was supposed to start an art-school. This never materialised, but he did have an art studio for a while (a room that eventually became our bedroom by the time my sister and I were teens as it was obvious art had LEFT THE BUILDING; he kept the music studio though). In the art studio were various paintings of his own and of his students’, and there was this one paper cutting done in black card over a white background that I loved and longed to emulate. Well, it only took me 20 years or so to find time to sit down with a piece of (white) card and have a go at it. It’s pretty basic but it kept me entertained instead of whimpering about my aching hip and sore legs.

I wish I could stick to something, anything, long enough to create something special, but I am Little Miss Impatience and hey, projects, right?

jog.fm

I have a friend called Katie who used to say “inshock.com” to express her horror at some unexpected event, and the phrase always made me laugh. I have discovered this app called jog.fm — one of the few apps I have ever shelled out cold hard cash for (extra cold and hard considering $2.99 is more than I get paid per hour here). It has a few drawbacks — awkward silences between songs, for example — but it’s basically amazing.

The idea is it analyses your iTunes music to work out all the BPM (beats per minute) and what pace they are best fitted to. Then you tell the app how fast you want to run, and it plays music from your iTunes at that pace. If you’re running outdoors, it can also be set to track your pace and match it with songs that fit.

I started my run with jog.fm set to a 6:15min/km pace + a warm-up song. The warm-up song warmed me up a bit too much and soon I was speeding up my pace to 5min/km — and holding it for entire songs. This was too much for an entire 5km but the run really flew by and I finally squeezed my 5kms in under 30 minutes: 29 minutes and 55 seconds, to be precise.

The great thing about my other app, Runkeeper, is that I can look back at runs I did over the last year and make estimates of how long it takes me to get back to a proper speed. This time last year I was also barely scraping 30-minute 5ks, but within a month and a half I was squeezing 6km into 30 minutes. Of course the difference is I was running the China Hash twice a week, not sweating on a treadmill, so I guess the next step is to find the Colombo Hash…

an ko mc hotdog

Saturday, 1:50pm. My dreaded Saturday morning meeting finished before 12 instead of after 2pm so I have already fit in a 40-minute run, shower and lunch. Now I could go soak in the rooftop pool, or write my university application, or work on my freelance gig (the one that actually pays real $$ and not rupees) writing about golf course bunker construction. One of these is not like the others. But I’m procrastinating on all of them by writing up today’s run.

On the treadmill today I listened to the ANCIENT and bordering-on-embarassing Taiwanese “rap” album Wake Up by MC Hotdog. It was a huge hit when I lived in Taiwan in 2006 and it was lovely listening to his taike accent after weeks of dealing with Mainlanders. I did nearly all my best runs in Taiwan and for some reason felt much lighter and happier running with taiyu (however bad the music is) in my ears, made me miss the China Hash. I still only did 6km (in 39 minutes!), for all the reasons iterated in the post below.

It was fun also to listen and be able to understand a good 80% of the lyrics (there’s lots of Taiwanese thrown in). In 2006 I could probably pick up a few words here and there but that was it…

Galle Face Hotel

On Sunday I caught up with Vijay (of Galle fame) and we had lunch at the Bavarian (where the German cooking is… German). After lunch, I couldn’t resist the call of the ocean — the Bavarian is right opposite the Galle Face Hotel and of course Galle Face Green.

It doesn’t look all that impressive as you approach.
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There are dozens of little vendor stalls along the promenade.
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But of course I was interested in one thing above all… the ocean!
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The water was fairly choppy, I love this picture, it reminds me of a painting that hung in my grandparents’ dining-room.
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I went down to the edge to dip my toes.
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Cos waves always get me excited and messy…
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Families lined up to face the crashing and unpredictable waves, holding hands so as not to get bowled over or carried away
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You can never tell how quick, deep or fast the waves will come — nearly everyone there was soaked to the skin!
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Post beach, Vijay and I were both covered in sand so we dropped into the Galle Face Hotel to rinse off our feet. The hotel is tremendously proud of its old timey atmosphere. It was established in 1868 and has several plaques boasting of various celebrities (at least, celebrities when Sri Lanka was still Ceylon, anyway).

I did recognise a couple though! Arthur C. Clarke completed 3001: the Final Odyssey here.
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The problem with the Galle Face Hotel is that it sucks you in with its Old World Charms…
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Following the consumption of a couple of Old World Charms, we headed down to the water’s edge again, to find some chairs and wait for the sun to set. It was very windy and the ocean spray kept making me jump…

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I was intrigued by this somewhat decrepit tower next to the swimming pool. Can you spot on the top left hand corner, a soldier, and in front of him, a sub-machine gun, draped in plastic (because of the salty ocean winds!).
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A little friend who shared my snacks:
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At last the sun began to set… it did not disappoint.
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I jumped in with my flappy dress again!
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Facebook friends have seen this one already
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I couldn’t believe how pink the sky was… gorgeous
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I blame the numerous pictures of me on the Old World Charm…

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