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Best seat in the house, Arugam Bay. Elliot Gray Photo
Last Thursday, I packed up my boards and said goodbye to Indonesia. Two flights later made it to Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, beginning the part of my adventure in which I am traveling totally solo. Upon arrival, I met up with three strangers that I connected with in a taxi share group on Facebook and we piled into a van bound for the opposite side of the country. After the seven hour taxi ride from hell, we made it to the tiny surf town of Arugam Bay, filled with backpackers and surfers from all over the world. It was 3:30 in the morning. Factoring in the time difference, I had been in transit for just over 24 hours.
I walked into my hostel, expecting to be able to check into my dorm room, which I had booked a couple months ago. The night guard told me that the hostel had been overbooked, so I would have to sleep in a hammock... which is not the best news to receive after a full day of being uncomfortable and on the go. My hammock nap was rather brief, as the sun comes up at around six here, so at sunrise, I went to get my first glimpse of the beach. I found my way to the sand, and took in the scene: a sweeping bay dotted with palm trees, colorful fishing boats, and way out at the point, lines and lines of little peeling waves. This stretch of sand was by far one of the most picturesque locations I have ever been, and that's really saying something after my experiences on the Nusa islands in Indo!
I grabbed a quick Roti (Sri Lankan pastry filled with either vegetables, fruits, chocolate, etc.) from the shop on the corner and threw my bathing suit on. After my incredibly long journey and restless night of (very little) sleep, I needed to get into the ocean! I took my longboard out of the travel bag, and was relieved to see it had made it to yet another destination unscathed. My first surf in Sri Lanka was less than spectacular, but the scenery was so beautiful that I was unbothered. Retrospectively it was probably for the best that the surf was quite small, because in my sleep-deprived haze, I wouldn’t have done too well in big waves.
Luckily, after my surf, I was able to check into my hostel, and met a bunch of great people right away! There are travelers from every corner of the earth at this hostel, and everyone has amazing stories to share of their home countries and backpack adventures. Now that I have been here for a few days, I have really settled into a rhythm here, and have had some really fun surf sessions! Arugam Bay is an unspoiled paradise, and I am really looking forward to seeing the rest of Sri Lanka!