The Good Life in Batticaloa
Why do we travel? Is it to stay in great hotels, or to eat at famous restaurants? Sometimes we get carried away with all the travel hype and forget that what it’s really about is meeting different people and learning about different cultures.
On the eastern coast of Sri Lanka in the picturesque town of Batticaloa, enter the world of the Tamils. Imagine yourself walking into a garden with the sand shifting between your toes where, under the shady boughs of a jackfruit tree you are greeted by smiling people in long, colourful saris, who invite you to enjoy a delicious meal that is both spicy and flavorful. And imagine here you receive the kind of genuine hospitality that’s hard to find anywhere else in the world – even at the Hôtel Ritz!
At this homestay on the beautiful eastern coast of Sri Lanka, you no longer have to imagine the good life, it’s all very real. Accommodation might be simple, but it’s comfortable, and in any case that’s not why you’re here. Instead you have the opportunity to visit the local kovil, or Hindu temple, where the deities of the Hindu pantheon will offer you their protection; or perhaps you can enjoy a local meal cooked al fresco on a wood fire, enjoyed with the family. It’s the simple things that matter. Sharing a connection with people from another culture is, after all, what travelling is about.
The next day you are awoken by the morning call of the neighbourhood rooster, or it might the sound of squirrels scurrying across your bedroom roof. Whatever it is, you have the whole day to relax in your adopted home, read a book under the jackfruit tree, chat with the family, or perhaps explore the neighborhood. Put your smartphone down and help grandma with the cooking, she can teach you a lesson or two!
In the evening, enjoy a delicious meal with your new family and ask them if you can try pol sambola, or coconut sambol, a traditional dish of Sri Lanka made from freshly ground coconut with lime and chillies that is usually an accompaniment with rice. It’s the kind of fare that will leave you dreaming of Sri Lanka long after you have returned home.
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