Of Blue Whales and Turtles: A Slow Hourglass in Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka is a well-kept secret. In the space of a few days, I helped a baby turtle hatch, watched some of the most venomous snakes in the world up close, (without a glass pane in between!), and got to see not only a a huge pod of dolphins, but also the planet’s largest animal– a blue whale.

We stayed at Mirissa over the weekend, and if you ever find yourself there, I recommend the Mandara resort. After you get over the slightly run-down rooms and slow service (they do try hard to make your stay comfy, but at a holiday pace), you'll enjoy the gorgeous views (the sunsets are incredible), the quiet beach, and local cuisine catered to your taste.

Mirissa Sunset snapshot, taken from my Balcony at the Mandara Resort

We stayed at Mirissa over the weekend, and if you ever find yourself there, I recommend the Mandara resort. After you get over the slightly run-down rooms and slow service (they do try hard to make your stay comfy, but at a holiday pace), you’ll enjoy the gorgeous views (the sunsets are incredible), the quiet beach, and local cuisine catered to your taste.

The staff also takes care of the night-time guests on their beach-- turtles. If a turtle lays eggs on the Mandara beach, the eggs are protected for 45 days, and then once they hatch, the baby turtles are sent off to the sea, thus protecting them from various predators. I got to pick up the babies, and watch them scramble into the sea.

Holding a baby turtle, just hatched

The staff also takes care of the night-time guests on its stretch of the beach– turtles.

If a turtle lays eggs on the Mandara beach, the eggs are protected for 45 days, and then once they hatch, the baby turtles are sent off to the sea, thus protecting them from various predators.

I got to pick up the babies, and watch them scramble into the sea!

Newly Hatched Baby Turtles

Newly Hatched Baby Turtles

Dewmini's Roti Shop

Dewmini’s Roti Shop

If you eat at only one place in Mirissa, make it the Dewmini Roti Shop. Despite their rather unglamorous name, their food is definitely something to write home about.

The range of their scrumptious roti is simply amazing. Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor know what they’re talking about when they recommend this tiny place.

We also went to a snake farm: and here are some of the occupants we met:

The video is shaky because I kept running away– the snakes were not defanged (the handler showed us the fangs on a Russel’s Viper), and I’m not brave.

An angry white cobra at Mirissa, one of the most beautiful snakes I've ever seen

An angry white cobra at Mirissa, one of the most beautiful snakes I’ve ever seen.

I’m not a fan of snakes kept in captivity, but it is better than killing them outright — which is what most people around the world do. The farm is in a village on a hilltop, where tiny farms and homes jostle against each other– snakes are so plentiful that I saw one on the way up, and another came swirling by as the handler was showing us the regulars. Both were non-venomous, thank God!

But the best was for the last: the blue whales. We could see the spouts at a distance of almost a kilometer, and as we drew closer, we could see their glistening blue-black bodies ease gently into the sea and the humongous tail followed right after. The blue whales are shy creatures, not curious like greys — but the thought that something so huge, intelligent, and alive was right next to our boat brought tears to my eyes. It is amazing that they do not overturn even the smallest of fishing boats by accident.

Our captain was a whale-lover, and if you go to Mirissa, I would recommend you go with Raja and the Whales-- knowledgeable crew, who did not harass the whales like I saw the other boats do, but still got us as close as 20 feet to the planet's largest animal. Blue whales get easily stressed, are endangered and reproduce at a slow rate. They need all the consideration they can get.

This Blue whale was within 30 feet of our boat!

Our captain was a whale-lover, and if you go to Mirissa, I recommend you go with Raja and the Whales– knowledgeable crew, who did not harass the whales like I saw the other boats do, but still got us as close as 30 feet to the planet’s largest animal. Blue whales get easily stressed, are endangered because they were hunted to near-extinction, and reproduce at a slow rate. They need all the consideration they can get.

Sri Lanka definitely makes the hourglass turn slow. I was so dazed and awed most of the time, I took very few pictures. All the pics above are from my husband’s camera. If you live in Asia, or are planning on traveling here, please don’t miss Sri Lanka. It has so much more to offer, in terms of beautiful beaches and jungles, awesome fauna, gastronomy, ease of travel, and friendly, smiling hosts, we plan to visit Sri Lanka again.

Writing on Donatella Versace and the Writing Life


A Photo Shoot At the Four Seasons in Tokyo

A Photo Shoot At the Four Seasons in Tokyo

The past two weeks have been marathon writing  and writing workshops, and before I can breathe, I have to load up on life and run. More writing tomorrow, a full weekend, not an entirely fit body and lots of emails, when all I want to do is curl up with a book and maybe fall asleep a while later.

And then there are the “Donatella Versace” searches on this blog, going through the roof. It happened in October, and now once again. I don’t know why all this new interest in her, maybe because her brand is gearing up to launch a new luxury phone? All I can do is guide people to this post on Versace.

The best I can do to evade the searches on Donatella is to post a pic from Tokyo, because “Tokyo” is the second largest keyword for the blog!  And now, back to my daily writing and work, work, work, work.

Kuching Snapshots: Sarawakian Tribal Dancer


Sarawakian Tribal Dancer, Kuching

Sarawakian Tribal Dancer, Kuching

Another Kuching snapshot, uploaded in the time I should be rushing to finish my story for the day, so here I go, back to my daily writing!

Writing About Gecko Tape


Writing about packing and gecko tapesWriting has become increasing more difficult over the past week, because all I can think of is packing, hanging, arranging, decorating. Moving into a new house does that to you, I guess.

One particular thing on my most-desired list right now: gecko tape.

I have so many things to hang, and pristine walls I don’t want to nail and damage. Gecko tape would be just the thing….*sigh*

Writing has come to a standstill, how about some gecko-tape to carry the load of guilt as well? Yeah, right!

Writing About Guilt


Thinnking about death and final momentsOh, there she is! Must go up to her! Is that milk I smell? She does look like she has something in her hand…yes, yes, slurp, it is milk! Come closer, come closer! Oh I am so hungry and this thing at my neck pulls so! I know I stink, girl, but just come closer so I can have a go at that bowl. Come nearer, nearer! Ok, now!

It is silly how useless these legs are, I can drag along so fine with these on the front, but how about having a pair to shove me up at the back too, like my brothers and sisters? Never mind, never mind, I will get to it in time, can I have some of that milk, please, now??

Ok…sigh..that was good! Now why does she look so down? Say something! I like it when you say things, I don’t understand them one bit, but I like the sound. Reminds me of my mum. I like how you touch my head too, I know you avoid the back because I have been sitting around in my own shit, but you see I can’t pull up my behind at all! I try, I try, see how I try! Oh look! I managed a bit! Oh no! I fell down again! Don’t look so low, I will manage, I will!

So you are going to do that washing thing? Why so early today? Usually you do it when I get my food next. I like that food: all that yellow and white fluffy stuff, very smelly, but nice! Ok, now, I hate this cold, why do you have to put me in water? There is not even enough sun yet! I like the way you pick me up tho, by the scruff of my neck, like mum used to.

Not like that monster boy who picked me up, making that awful sound looking really happy, just before he dropped me. I used to be able to move all my four legs before then. But when I fell, I was hurt, oh so hurt. I cried, I yelped, because it hurt. I was scared already because he had taken me away from my mum and my siblings, but now it hurt!

There, you got me all clean, I like the smell of that stuff you put on me. Your hand smells nice too, I like telling you how nice you are by licking your hand, because I don’t know how else to say it. It is like when you pat my head, and say Feenix, Feenix! That’s me right? I know when you say Feenix, you are calling me! You are saying something about me right now!

I have to call you something too, but I know you don’t understand anything when I talk to you, you just stroke me softer. So I lick your hand. You make a funny, happy sound then! But why aren’t you making that sound today? And why is your face all wet? Pick me up, pick me up, so I can lick you clean! I don’t stink right now, so you can pick me up!

Now that I am full, lets play! I cant move much I know, but you can bring your hand near and I can try biting at it, like I always do! Such fun! And such a nice day it is too! I’d like to go a bit further, but this thing at my neck you tie me with! Ah, can’t you just loosen it a little bit? Let’s go, come on, please!

Hey you are picking me up, what fun! There, there, I know you don’t look too good today. That’s alright. I will lick you better. Hey your face doesn’t taste alright, all salty, what is this wet thing all over it? It looks like water, but ugh, it tastes bad! Never mind, I will dry it up for you, there girl! How about some more milk then, eh? I can do with some more! I like it when there is nothing on my neck, so wonderful, so free!

So you are putting me into the basket? We are going to meet that man eh? I don’t like it when he pokes me though, he tries to make me stand, and I hate it when you look so low when I fall. I want to stand, I do! I will too, you’ll see!

Ok we are there. I don’t like that table. I feel scared, don’t put me down, don’t!

Ok, nasty man go away. Give me back to her!

Wait, girl, why are you going away? Don’t leave me and go, please, please, please! I am calling to you, are you deaf? You always come when I cry, don’t leave me with the nasty man!

Oh, he hurt me, he put that sharp thing in me! The nasty man hurt me! Come back!

I feel sleepy now, I feel so sleepy…come back, come back!

Writing About Living in a Hole


Having the time to write, to photograph, to think and doodle at your own fee will is surely worth something. I do not know if I can live in cramped confines like this man, but there is surely something to the idea of limiting your physical horizons so you can look inwards.

I did not have the time or the energy for the 1000 words yesterday, I did not put my writing on priority, and I am missing my writing class this Saturday. So, Good Morning World, and 2000 words, here I come!

Writing About Morning Pangs


Writing in the morning is not as easy as I thought.

Writing with hunger pangsThey tell you the mind is fresh, they till you it is still languishing in the world of the subconcious, it is easy to produce gems of creativity pulled out direct from the well-spring of your conciousness.

Hah.

I have discovered that the biggest enemy of writing is hunger pangs: while I should be thinking breakthroughs I end up thinking breakfast!

Writing About Lost Words


On how I lost my writingWriting a 1000 words a day is no joke, and yesterday I wrote 2000. I was ecstatic, I was beyond happy.

I liked what I’d written after a long, long time.

When I started on my 1000 words today, I was stumbling, and finally ended up in the direction of 500. I realized torrential writing is not an everyday affair.

When I went to save it, I realized one more thing: I had not saved the 2000 words I wrote yesterday.