Deep in the bushes…

January 16, 2011

…of lush Sri Lanka, Deedee treated Madame Mrad to a fadstastic adventure. Bas before getting on the plane, they did their usual trip up to the bar at Beirut International Airport for a Campari Soda to set the tone right for that long ride to the tear drop island (the bar is up the stairs opposite the passport control area.)

They only had 12 days in SL, but they certainly got around… the island, that is. The adventure started off in Mt. Lavinia, a small town below Colombo – an OK spot to rest for a day/night before embarking on your journey. Next day, they took the train south to the old fort town of Galle, beautiful colonial architecture and a very small community, small enough to do in one day. In the morning, they grabbed the bus to the very tiny village of Mirissa where they decided to chill by that gorgeous beach for a few days.

When at the beach, seafood and beer are your default consumables. The local brew is Lion Lager (they also have a stout that didn’t impress Deedee much). Made by Carlsberg, this beer is – if you’re lucky enough for them to serve it cold – refreshing with a bitter finish and basically the only choice you’ve got. The grilled fish at Rajeen’s Antartic View shack is one of the best meals you can have on that golden sandy cove, which btw, boasts quite a few restaurants catering to us aliens. After four days in Mirissa, Deedee looked at Mme Mrad and said: Shoo, hazzaynéha? So they took the 6 hour bus headed to Ella to check out the mountains and tea plantations.

Rice and curry is the main food in SL. The curry can be either vegetarian, seafood, chicken, or mutton and is generously served with rice, papadams and about 5-6 side dishes including a few single veggie curries (e.g. okra, pumkin, eggplant, beans), dahl, a salad, Pol Sambol, and chutney (mango mainly). Sort of like mezza or tapas, if you will. Pol Sambol  is made of shredded fresh coconut mixed with chopped onions (or shallots) and a chili mix. You sprinkle it on top of your food.

Madame Mrad was thrilled to discover new vegetables and fruit. Dambala, also called winged bean, looks like a star fruit but longer and thinner and green. She tried it in a vegetable curry. Another fruit she’s never tried was the Jackfruit, which is also served as a sidedish with the “Rice and Curry” mezza. Its texture and taste is similar to artichoke hearts.

To burn off all that food, Deedee and Mme Mrad did a couple of hikes in Ella, one short walk to Little Adam’s Peak (where you walk through fields of tea plantations) and another much tougher hike to Ella Rock which, when you reach the top, boasts magnificient views as far as the eye can see (depending on the weather and clarity, akeed). They were awestruck by the rawness of this land.

A couple of days later, after a scenic 7 hour train ride to the bustling mountain city of Kandy, Deedee found herself suddenly surrounded by these Deedivine Nénuphar – Water Lily’s. She felt right at home amongst the colorful nymphs. They were all being sold as offerings to the Buddha in the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. Deedee had a lot to offer, so she grabbed a few and went to say hi to Buddha.

They bid farewell to the lovely smily people of SL and enjoyed their last sunset of 2010 in the seaside town of Negombo which is close to the airport. They had their last supper at Lords Restaurant, an Asian fusion restaurant/gallery owned by a lively British fellow, then headed back to Leboland for some concrete.

Go and come, yaani see you later bi ‘es-Siri Lanké.

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Hush now, don’t explain…

September 24, 2010

… I’m glad you’re back, don’t explain.  Quiet, don’t explain… what is there to gain?

After we established that, I opened a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Vintage Rosé 2004. A salmon pink color with strong aromas of strawberries and red berries, it is fresh and lively in the mouth, like pink grapefruit, with a spicy, sensual finish… another winner from the Orange Widow.

Then “discreetly”, these mangoes and avocados descended upon me from the heavens. The mango was greenish yellow on the outside, a real orange orange on the inside and succulent all the way.

The avocados were delectable! I had one half with Yo’s Filipino Papaya Ginger Relish (made with shredded papaya, ginger, garlic chunks and red chili pepper in Filipino vinegar – Suka) and the other half with honey… or better yet, a melange!

Hush now, don’t explain… I’m enamored with the way Billie Holiday sings it with so much courage of conviction.