Today, my photo takes us back exactly 15 years, to March 2003. I had not long turned 30, still worked at Texaco, and was enjoying the wonders of travelling as a single guy. There’s an awful lot to be said of travelling solo, all positive. I loved the ability to roam, dine and generally spend my time without compromise. Did I ever get lonely? Not once. You always meet people on the trail. On the odd occasion that it is just you, then there is always a good book waiting to be read.
The photo is of Mirissa Bay, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. It remains the most perfect beach I have ever been too. Perfect sand, warm water with some fun waves. Beautiful backdrop. And best of all I had it virtually all to myself. There were just a few very small guesthouse/hotels, and I clearly arrived in an off-peak period. It was paradise. Just for me.
The little wooden cabin next to mine was occupied by a mid thirties hippie chick when I arrived. She left the next day. But not before we swapped books. I had finished a John Simpson memoir, which she took on with her. I ended up with a book that she described as ‘by the best up and coming Latin American author’, and ‘exciting, vibrant and so full of life’ and also ‘a little bit gay’.
By the time I got half a dozen pages in, the male author had ‘admired’ at least a dozen ‘glistening penises’ and seemed set to continue in that vein. So what was sold to me as ‘a little bit gay’ was in fact ‘a lot gay’. Or even, ‘completely gay from cover to cover’. Not really my cup of tea. I moved on to my reserve book, but managed to palm it off to an unsuspecting bloke at my next stop. I sold it to him as ‘unusual’ and ‘challenging’.
I’d like to go to Sri Lanka again. Maybe next year? Mrs P is interested. I thought I’d show her the delights of Mirissa Bay, and loaded up some videos in YouTube. Ugh! The last fifteen years have not been kind. It has been developed somewhat. Perhaps there is a nice secret bay on the north east coast of Sri Lanka instead.