I wrote the entry below last night, and am now finally at a hotel with an internet connection, so I can get online!

Updates since last night – I am now in Nuwara Eliya, I DID practice this morning and I can still drop back. I stood up twice on my own whilst on the beach but had a slight gradient in my favour!

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I can’t believe that it is Tuesday evening, and this is the first real opportunity i have had to sit and take a few moments to write something. In theory, I have been away for exactly a week, although I lost time whilst traveling, so I left on a Tuesday evening but didn’t arrive until Wednesday afternoon.

The trip started in Colombo at the Galle Face Hotel, a beautiful Colonial hotel set on Galle Face Green and also on the sea front. The hotel had a veranda with a restaurant and bar where we wiled away a few hours and also a beautiful swimming pool. The weather during the trip so far has been mixed. It has been hot and humid but with frequent bursts of heavy rainfall and plenty of cloudy skies. It hasn’t really prevented me from doing anything in particular, so I can’t complain. In Colombo, rather like India, every second person is trying to encourage you to engage with them, usually in order for them to try and extract rupees from you. As soon as I left the hotel to find an ATM I was being hassled by people claiming to work at the hotel, offering to take me to see things etc etc etc. A little annoying, to be honest. I did a few sightseeing trips, visiting the museum, a temple, a few shops, the Pettah (street markets) etc. The wedding was on Saturday and was great fun. The hotel has a marvelous ball room and with 150 guests including 16 odd from the UK, it was a very good party.

On Sunday we travelled down the coast to Bentota to go to the beach. The beach there was very similar to Goa, wide pale sand and brimming with palm trees. The water was pretty rough though, so you couldn’t really swim. The Hotel in Bentota was designed by the Sri Lankan (Burgher) architect Geoffrey Bawa and was quite interestingly designed, although it was a bit tired and seemed to cater for German and Russian package holiday makers. I did have amazing gardens and a large pool. The pool was unusual because wherever there were rocks in the earth where the pool was built, they incorporated them into the structure of the pool, so part of it was tiled, and part rock!!

Today, I started my tour of the rest of Sri Lanka, we took a 6 hour bus journey from Bentota up into the hill country to Badarawela. I think our hotel is at about 1400m, and the road up here had amazing views. The journey wasn’t that far, but the roads are pretty terrible, so speeds above 40mph are not possible. Badarawela is in the middle of the tea growing area so we have seen many tea plantations and factories. I think there is a tour around the tea factory tomorrow. I have ended up on the tour with the grooms family as one of his cousins has been stuck in Bangkok. He was supposed to fly out on Wednesday but was unable to, obviously, so missed the wedding and this part of the trip.

So far I have only managed a couple of practices, but I arrived pretty late in the day Wednesday, Thursday was moonday, Saturday was Saturday etc. This morning I preferred to take a long swim in the pool as the weather was quite sticky. I do intend to practice tomorrow and hopefully a few more times before the retreat. Anyway, a break is good, I am sure!

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