Up at 4:30. As always a little amazed that the transport I'd arranged the night before was there (even a few minutes early). Bought my ticket and was a good 45 minutes out of Kandy before it started to get light. The mountainous region was so beautiful, so primal, and so universal in the dawn's light - it was as if it was all the good things about all places. Palm trees and mountain ridges, dense green forest, and miniature deserts of rock. That first hour of light out of Kandy has to be the most beautiful train ride ever. Maybe it was the lack of sleep but I also had that rare realization of where I was and how charmed my life has been and I just sat there with a stupid grin.
The train passed through Colombo and then followed the coast to Galle - endless stretches of narrow beach with choppy storm surf. We got to Galle just over six hours after leaving Kandy - not to bad, I'd been prepared for a lot worse. Hired a tuk-tuk to take me the last handful of kilometers to the small beach settlement of Unawatuna and checked into a guest house out of the guide book. The village seems pretty sleep with not many people around. First thing was a wander down the beach to the dive shop. I was hoping to dive tomorrow and possibly even this afternoon. Unfortunately I was told that there wouldn't be any diving in the area for at least four or five days - the surf had brought the visibility to near zero. Bad luck, I guess maybe I should have headed to the beach when I first got off the plane.
Had lunch in a small shack restaurant on the beach - they're all over the place but only a couple others were even open. There seem to be about a half dozen tourist around - as near as I can tell all German. After lunch I wandered back to my room and relaxed in the shade for awhile before venturing out to explore the village and beach.
There's really not much to the village - mostly it seems a collection of shuttered guest houses. It feels so much like an African village is most ways - I feel like I could be walking through a village in Malawi - except for the lush tropical growth. But everyone is very friendly - builders hoisting cement, grandmas, the tuk-tuk drivers, everyone stop to wave. Not surprisingly within minutes of me turning to the beach it started to rain. Actually it was just an occasional drop, nothing to stop me from enjoying my ankle deep walk - but no laying on the beach.