The coach sped along the Southern Expressway. We ate stuffed roti and egg buns from the picnic box and sipped mineral water from glass bottles. It was six thirty in the morning.
The motorway service station was packed. The sun was beating down and men and women were eating breakfast in shady corners. There were queues at the toilets. The smell of urine was overwhelming.
Matara is a pretty town. As we drove by, the British era Nupe Market was holding a plant sale but the Dutch Star Fort had no visitors. The stop at the Shrine of Our Lady of Matara (See blog post “Our Lady of Matara“) was brief but the lunch stop at Kaduruketha in the shadow of Poonagala hills stretched to two hours. A narrow dirt track through fields of aubergine and groves of black pepper, led to the tranquil and elegant hotel, modelled on a traditional village house and surrounded by acres of paddy fields.
Pretty girls offered wet towels to clean hands and young men served immensely refreshing green mango juice with cinnamon in little green cups.
The traditional Sri Lankan lunch was delicious. The vegetables were home grown and the rare, vitamin rich, low glycemic index Pachchaperumal red rice came from the fields surrounding the hotel. A man went round offering betel leaves after lunch.
It was already dark when we reached Pottuvil. A waiting fleet of Tuk-Tuks transferred us to Jetwing Surf were the welcome was warm. Once again there were wet towels and fresh fruit juices before a late dinner and bed.
The tour was arranged and led by Hiran Cooray – the CEO of Jetwing
See also “Hidden Gems Of Matara“