1981 Sri Lanka & Thailand

16th February

Arrived at 8am in real heat.


Felt much better although not up too early.  Went for a swim in the morning and for a trip oj one of their fishing/sailing boats after lunch.  At about 4 walked into Nogombo which was a culture shock.  Wandered around the busy streets self conciouswith sore feet then had a ride back in a bullock cart with two beautiful little girls and a small boy at our heels.  Curry again for our evening meal.


The new moon so a day of rest for Buddists and for us.  Had a lazy day under a grass parasol and still ended up burnt.  Spent ages in the sea swimming and trying to body-surf. Went out in the evening for a seafood platter at an adjoining hotel.  Eat in a cafeteria style place, pleased we weren’t staying there.  Bought a model sailing boat and tried sandals ordered yesterday which weren’t quite right.


Up at 7.  Breakfast then into our taxi at 8.  To the interior and Kandi.  Red Mazda with driver.  Stopped at various places en route, pineapple farm, batik factory, tea factory with lunch high up with Christine and Paul from the Plough near Brighton.  The people waved and smiled all the way and begged if we stopped.  Ended up at The Grand Hotel, Newark Eliya, an old colonial place, rundown but still charming.  Tea workers earn R20/day.  We bought batiks, tea and silver spoons.

20th Feb

Set off after seeing a bit more of Nuwara Eliya for Kandy, a long hard drive.  Stop at the botanical gardens first -to see orchids, palm avenues, giant bamboos set by the river.  Then to the temple of the tooth, where Budda’s tooth is.  Then to lunch overlooking Kandy.  Then to the indoor market – an amazing place, rows of traders, one row selling nothing but sp and rice from sacks and dried fish.  Then back to Brown’s Beach.  Pick up my sandals, very nice.  A BBQ meal – not very nice.


A trip to Selsun village, the other side of Colombo.  A lady greets us and shows us the plants in her garden – cinnamon etc.  then local ladies cooking native style, then a potter making traditional pottery and a lace maker.  The4n we witness a wedding ceremony.  Have a lovely traditional lunch with a funny old Catholic priest and butch woman.  A lovely day in a beautiful setting with charming people.


Get up and spend time on the beach after an awful night of stomach pain.Go from the beach at 1015 and sadly from the hotel at 1115 to grotty airport.  Fly at 1315 on Thai Airways still feeling rough.  Arrive in Thailand just at sunset.  Find man to take us to the hotel who doesn’t speak any English.  The hotel is luxurious and we meet an English couple in the bar and go for a meal in a Whole Earth restaurant, still not in peak condition.  We drop the man off and have a drink with the girl who moans about our courier.23rd



Sleep in late then go off exploring.  I order a suit.  Lunch at the hotel before going on the temples tour.  See 70 ton solid gold Budda, palace temple with Buddas everywhere.  Very interesting but hot and reinforces my opinion that sightseeing is not for me.  Wander the streets at night after meeting the courier until we came to a lovely restaurant where we were the only Europeans.  Difficulty ordering but lovely food.  Met Carol & Andy in coffee shop and have drinks with them.  Meet another couple – the Pierre Cardin couple!


Up at 0700 and off at 0800 with 4 other English people in air-conditioned combi.  Past miles of flat dried up paddy fields to the old capital (1350-1700) where we visit several temples.  Then to King Rama’s summer palace – very hot.  Then to a lovely air-conditioned boat where we had a lovely buffet and cruised all afternoon.  Suit fitting, shower then out with a few people to a piano bar.  Not a great evening.  Row with Pauline simmering all the time.  Walk down a ‘sin’street.


Up at 0600, very tired and row continuing.  Off on floating market trip – no market but very interesting anyway along river and canals.  Amazing boats – huge teatugs on one hand and narrow speed boats with diesel engine on swivel with a very long prop shaft.  Called at yet another temple – very hot. Went in pool at lunchtime and met a marine biologist.  Went shopping in the afternoon, bought very little but collected my suit.  Ate in coffee shop but neither of us were hungry.  Had enough of Bankok, hot ,smelly and spread out, yet quite sophisticated.


Set off for Pattaya in air-conditioned car.  Very flat countryside – rather tatty until a few miles before our destination.  Lovely hotel, U-shaped with pool and palms in the middle and we have a ground floor room with a terrace.  Arrive at lunchtime and eat in (slow) coffee shop and relax by the pool all afternoon.  Go for a stroll down to the village – les girls everywhere – whole bars full of them, old men, clients, walking with them.  Lots of shops for Pauline to buy endless numbers of dresses.  Sea food on display like I’ve never seen before.  We eat our (set) meal in restaurant by the hotel sampling some of it.


Have breakfast on the balcony and we’re on the beach by 0900.  Hire a boat-scooter (now known as jet ski) and zoom round the bay stopping for a couple of swims.  Then I hire a windsurfer and try for the 1st time, very difficult but I learn a bit.  I walk back for a shower in the hotel then back again – very hot.  At lunch realise how burnt I am.  Play scrabble in the shade all afternoon with an occasional dip to cool off.  Shower early and walk into the village as the sun is setting.  Peruse the shops en route.  Both of us are feeling the effects of the sun and although we go to a lovely restaurant we only snack.

28th Feb

We take a day trip to a coral island on a 60-year old teak ex-trawler.  Pauline goes paragliding.  I hire a mask and snorkel and view the corals.  Then there is a trip to a second beach in a glass bottomed boat where we have lunch. lovely meal, casual, seafood and rice. Good company.  Lovely trip back watching nearby storm.  Go for drink in Holiday Inn and for a lovely meal in a restaurant by the hotel.  Pack for tomorrow

1st March

Up at 0520 (0250 Sri Lanka time).  Drive to airport.  Arrive at Sri Lankan hotel just after lunchtime.  No water or electricity much of the day.  Spend most of the afternoon swimming.  Liver curry for dinner which neither of us liked and early to bed.

2nd March

A very long day.  Hire a Topper in the morning and also try windsurfing but the sea is too choppy for a beginner.  Have crayfish for lunch, sunbathe, swim and scrabble in the afternoon until the storm breaks.  Shower outside and change in swimming cubicles.  Wildlife film on tigers, then drinks until ‘farewell dinner’ a BBQ.  We feel a bit out of it as everyone knows everyone else.  Finally to airport and after more eternal waiting to the plane.  Sit in smoking next to journalist from Australia who is quite nice.

3rd March

The plane journey seemed endless.  Stopped in Rome so the flight took 15 hours.  Taxi across London, just catch train, taxi home.