I‘m finding it difficult two write a big grown-up Sri Lanka travel blog. I’m struggling with remaining positive and upbeat every day while travelling the world with my family. So, instead, today you are going to get my Bog Travel Diary. Part 2. You can read #1 here. I warn you though if you’re looking for a useful travel blog you may be disappointed. The Bog Diary is a look into what bad days look like as well as good ones. We are currently in Sri Lanka. If you want to read my positive post on Sri Lanka you can find it here. Otherwise, read on and take a look into the life of a woman who convinced her family to leave beautiful New Zealand and to go around the world for a year.
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The Bog Diary. Sri Lanka Travel Blog. Same same but different.
I’ve got to write this down or otherwise, I might explode or even worse go down into a pit of negativity and find myself unable to return. If I write it all down without stopping it’s my way of getting it off my chest. It does work.
They say that you have to have a bad day to appreciate the good days, don’t they? Every cloud and all that. Well, I’ll be waiting with open arms today ’cause yesterday left me feeling like shit. It was one of those days that come 9 pm I was struggling to keep from breaking down and blubbing in front of the kids.
We spent the whole day at the guest house because we were trying to plan for our upcoming trip to India. As I said before, you imagine that you will be able just to rock on up and pick a hotel/flight/train/bus. But in reality, when you get there, more often than not, all of the above are fully booked, or else you find yourself hanging on for dear life out of a bus doorway. Not good with two kids in tow. (actually, why the hell am I using them as an excuse?) But anyway, I am.
Booking an itinerary with hotels and trains with connecting buses is no mean feat. I do use all of the usual search engines which makes it easier but still it makes me want to smash the computer screen into pieces with a bottle of warm water.
A whole day sat at the guest house.
First, you have to picture the guest house.
I don’t want you thinking that this is a homely B&B on a Cliffside in Cornwall, England. With couches and telly and stuff. The guest house. I’m not going to say anything horrible about this place because the owners are beyond helpful. But. After yesterday I’ve had enough. Ten days in the same guest house and its time to say bye-byes.
The guest house.
You cant go into the room in the day because:
a) its like walking into a sauna.
b) It’s dark because there is a piece of material up at the window and its stapled on so there’s no way of taking it down, and
c) It’s like a sauna.
And anyway, the kids are usually always in there sprawled all over the bed ’cause they don’t need much light to play the one game they’ve got on the phone. The one that doesn’t require any internet. Did I mention that wifi doesn’t happen much in Sri Lanka either?
And, I’m glad about that because now at least the kids spend their days either talking, arguing, playing cards, winding me up or reading their kindle. Or arguing. But I’m not glad about that because I’m getting sick to death of having to go and buy mobile data so that I can check an email.
Because of the room situation, I have to sit and do my work on guest house patio. Yes. A square concrete table with four chairs. Thankfully it’s in the jungle, so its nice and cool but I swear, if that manky tom cat walks past me again and sprays up the steps, I will kick its flea-bitten backside from here to New Zealand. I know it hates me and is waiting for me to look away so it can squirt its stinky piss all over my only- thing-that’s-clean. My precious computer bag.
So, we spent the whole day at the table.
The kind guest house lady brought some juice out. Which was very, very kind. Be grateful Liz you moaning cow.
But I’m just saying because I can. The Juice.
Tree apple juice.
Why did I ever worry about being constipated in Sri Lanka? Tree apple juice. Its given to us every day. Every. Single. Day. Brought out on the tray while the owners stand over us nodding and smiling until it’s all gone. Every last drop.
It’s the best laxative on earth.
Which is a pain because yesterday the water stopped working.
“Finished! No water!”. Laugh, laugh. Smile, smile.
How bloody hilarious.
“You use our bathroom”. Oh great. Just what you want to do when you’ve recently had your daily dose of Wood Apple juice. Bearing in mind their bathroom is a concrete bunker with no roof and a hose over the toilet for the shower. And its attached to their kitchen.
“No water!” Smile even bigger.
Yes. I heard you the first time. Bloody hell. What is this? I half expected Jeremy Beedle to jump out and scream in my face ‘You’ve been framed!’
I sat at the concrete table becoming more and more frustrated with the fact that whenever I managed to find somewhere that resembled semi-decent to stay in India, by the time the super slow internet had loaded the page I am met with:
‘We do not have your dates! ‘
Don’t put a bloody exclamation mark after a sentence that is going to wind me up anyway. It’s kind of rubbing salt into the wounds.
‘Sorry, You just missed it. These dates are already booked!’
No water! Water gone! Smile smile.
Keep at it, Liz. You need to book your India trip.
I told myself that I would just keep plugging away at it until 2 pm and then we would head off down to the beach and get a green tea.
2 pm came and went.
Never mind I thought, at least I have tonights meal to look forward to. I started to plan that we would go to the over our budget Pizza place. Sod the expense I thought. You can get beer there, and the tomato and mozzarella salad is lovely. Keep going Liz; then you can get changed (not showered cause ‘no water’ Smile smile) and head into the town.
Out comes the man of the guest house. Did I mention to you that he is the local police sergeant? Well, he is. And he is a bit scary actually. It’s good in one way staying with a police officer, the tuk-tuk drivers never rip you off, and he did get us a bunch of cheap sarongs. But, he is a man of the law and what he says seems to be written in stone.
It was 5 pm. I was getting ready to make merry and skip into town.
Out he comes.
“You eat here tonight. My wife. She cooky for you.”
“No, No, honestly that’s a lovely offer, but really, we are fine!”
Silly girl Liz. You are 47, not 16. Just say no. Stop smiling Liz. He thinks you want to stay. Stop beaming and just say No.
“Well, ok. But only you’re sure”.
“Yes, yes. You eat here”. Gone.
Back through the curtain and into the abyss that houses the kitchen the bathroom and the lounge. I know it’s the lounge because when you come home from a night out and look through the window, you see sergeant sprawled out on his leather chair – in his orange sarong. Watching the pop idol game show that he and the rest of Sri Lanka seem to love so much. Laughing, laughing, laughing.
So then. Not only have I now spent the whole of this beautiful day sat around a concrete table, swatting flies, swearing at the stupid internet and growing to hate the thought of visiting the country that is India, but I am also now destined to spend the whole evening here too.
Out comes more Wood Apple Juice. Just to keep things flowing.
“Juice good” Smile, smile. Stands and watches like Annie Wilkes from Misery until its all gone.
‘Yes, you’re right! Juice is good.’ I want to say. ‘Especially if you have a nice shiny toilet and plenty of soft Andrex’.
India is apparently not the cheap bargain budget destination that I believed it to be.
“Why are we even going?” Wail the kids.
We are going so that mummy can pretend she is Gandhi’s daughter and wonder the streets in flowing sarongs and wooden bangles. All the while blessing the rain and the trees and the sunsets.
This is what I want to say, but instead, I just started to cry and mutter about the way nobody appreciates what I do for them. I go to the toilet to get some toilet tissue, but then I remember there is only a bum wash shower, so I cry some more instead and wipe my nose on my black dress. It’s dirty anyway.
Today, I don’t want to go to India. Tomorrow I’ll be fine – but today? I want to go back to my home country, New Zealand.
Did I tell you that I have lost my only tiny teeny weeny bit of perfume that I was carrying? It’s gone. Along with the floss and Brians toothbrush head. All three of which can not be replaced in Sri Lanka apparently. There’s a bit of useful information for the Sri Lanka travel blog. Buy plenty of bloody floss.
I swear I’ve grown fur on my teeth.
And I stink.
I’ve even given to letting Tessa share my clothes. The poor girl had a meltdown the other day sobbing that she was sick of wearing the same dirty shorts and teeshirt. The trouble is, while she looks gorgeous in my vests and shruggy cardigan, I resemble Vikki Pollard from Little Britain.
So now my wardrobe – of three teeshirts, two pairs of baggy pants, a sarong, and a shruggy cardigan, has been slashed in half.
I’ll just wear this filthy black dress again then shall I? The one covered in snot.
And because our guest house owner is a police sergeant and a Buddhist and a control freak, he vehemently disagrees with alcohol.
The invitation to stay for dinner sees my only chance of a cold Tiger beer go floating off down the paddy fields.
Dinner was served at 8 pm, and yes, it was delicious, as always. I’m sorry I’m moaning. I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful whinging Brit, but it was a shit day, so someones going to hear about it. What else is a travel blog for?
“Dinner good!” Smile smile, nod nod.
This, I feel, is a statement, not a question.
Yes. Dinner was good.
Now please. Let me out of this guest house to go and scavenge the town for a drop of alcohol. And some space. And look for fireflies. Oh, and can I leave these two kids here with you while I go and get pissed?
This is what I wanted to say, but instead, I just smiled and said:
“Delicious, thank you!”
I was becoming weaker. More and more fragile and wobbly. On the verge of hysterical crying. I think the Sri Lankan sun is playing havoc with my hormone tablets.
The bright single bare bulb that dangles over the concrete table was not being very kind to my tear filling eyes. Is there anything worse than when you want to start blubbing, and you sit, lip quivering, willing the tears back, only to hear both your kids turn round and say:
‘Whats wrong? Why are your eyes all red”?
Waaahhhhh!!! Sniff sniff, snot, snot spit, spit. No tissues. Wipe, wipe. Thank you dress.
My only sanctuary came when we went for that walk after dinner.
The kids came too. Of course, they did. Why would they want to stay at the guest house table only to wait for the curtain to fling open and out strides sergeant, ready to grill them about what sport they do back in New Zealand? ( I swear, it’s obviously a worldwide question targeted at homeschoolers)
“Karate? Black belt. Good!” Smile smile. Slap slap on Sonny’s sunburned shoulders.
The zipper broke on my silk sleeping bag liner last night. My one piece of nighttime luxury and its buggered. Great. Now I must lie there with my back and bum constantly open to my long-suffering Brian and the hungry mozzies. Either that or fork out on a new one. This is the one I want incase you want to buy it for me and ship it over. The Friendly Swede Travel and Camping Sheet Sleeping Bag Liner (Cobalt)
I don’t want to go to India. I tried to read some travel blogs on the place to inspire me, but I swear, every single one said about how hard and impoverished it is, and how difficult it is to travel with children.
Today is our last day at Mirrissa. Tomorrow we are taking the train to the tea plantations. I wish we were going to a vineyard. I need wine.
You have to have bad days to appreciate the good days, don’t you?
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Maybe today the plumber will come and fix the water.
Maybe that wood apple tree will burn down to the ground. Never to produce fruit again.
I’m joking. A bit.
See, I’ve made myself laugh. Clever girl.
I feel much better for writing this all down and sharing it with you. I’m sorry if its a load of nonsense. I’m trying to remain positive, I really am. But I find it challenging when days like yesterday happen.
And so, onwards and upwards with our trip. Only seven more days and we will be in a country where the men reportedly shit out of the open train doorways.
Maybe they’ve had too much Wood Apple Juice.
Stay with me people. Let me know you are out there.
Forever the moaning Brit,