rennovating an old house in sri lanka – WORKAWAY

after a couple of surfdays we took the localbus to a place called dondra, which is on the southcoast and not far away from matara. i found a workaway job for us where a local guy who bought an old house two years ago and wants to rennovate it to build a hostel which has a great location because it very close to the beach.

we arrived there and he gave us some fresh coconut from his garden to drink. he even bought us rice and curry and he told me before that he has no kitchen yet so there will be no meals prepared. he bought a lot of kitchenutensils and got the wifi going when we arrived.

we had a basic but nice room for us with a doublebed and the sheets he bought must have been brandnew as well because everytime we layed down on the red sheets our body got red parts as well. the van in our room looked like it is breaking down soon, it didn’t really turn fast so there was no wind coming from the van.
the owner always came in the morning and around 3 pm he drove back to his place so we had the whole house to ourselfs.

in the morning we went down the road and saw a small localshop where we could eat breakfast. the area there is not touristic at all so we were the first tourists who have ever eaten in this shop.
we took a seat and they brought us curry and string hopper which are thin noodles. the currys all smelled like fish and in the coconut sambol i saw small shrimps in it.
we told him that we are vegetarian and this is not vegetarian and he just smiled and said: yesss, taste it. it is very good!
he had no clue what we were talking about and he told us that there is no fish in it. kai showed him a big peace of fish and then he said: oh, yess that is a bit of fish.
but it is very good. i didn’t feel comfortable eating anything there anymore but in those noddles with the dhal curry was no fish or meat so i ate that. it was good but in the end they wanted to charge us 3 euros for everything which is totally overpriced here in sri lanka. we always paid maybe 1 euro for even more but we were the first tourists so they took advantage of us.

on the first day we gave him some advice what would be nice to do to make the place look inviting. he had some very old windows in there so we sanded and scraiped the windowframes for hours and i thought that my hand is falling off after a while. it started to rain really heavy and suddenly there was rain coming through the ceilings.
he saw that this house is not ready yet at all but he told us that he wants to start hosting people in one week. i am curious how this is going to work.

after our first workday he told us that he wont be here for the next two days so we dont have to work, we should just finishing scraiping the paint of the windows.
so, we decided to catch a bus and go to a place close by, called talla. we arrived around lunchtime and we were looking for a place to eat but all those beach restaurants where so overpriced. we bought an overpriced coconut on the side of the street and a local on his motorbike stopped and told us that we should come to his house for lunch, it’s free. we both were really curious because normally nothing is for free here in sri lanka but we thaught we give it a go.

we jumped on the back of his motorbike, both of us didn’t have any helmets but he drove nice and safe. his place was very close by up on a hill. two other woman and one small boy welcomed us into their house and they started cooking a vegetarian curry for us. we thaught it would be cool to help with the cooking and see how they live. the woman in the kitchen couldn’t speak english at all so it was not easy to communicate. she continued speaking to us in their language and we had no clue what she wants. they went out of the kitchen when we came and we had no idea what we can cook and what to do. when we started cutting the vegetables they must have thought we are retarded because we didn’t know how to cut them and which parts you can eat from the stuff they had.

after one hour of cooking a few different currys we enjoyed our free lunch. the family was very nice but the owner was a bit weird after he drank rum and beer. he told us pretty much 200 times that this is his house and it is free and we can sleep here for free and it is his beach in town with his boat and we go fishing with him at 3 am to 6 am. i thaught that is a joke, i would never go fishing especially not at 3 o clock in the morning. craaaazy man.. we tried to tell him that we don’t want to go fishing at 3 am and also that we have a place to stay for free anyway and we want to go to the beach. we told him that we want to walk because we both didn’t feel comfortable driving with him without helmets when he drank rum and beer. he told us 100 times that we can’t walk and he is driving us…
we just said goodbye and started walking. after a few minutes we heard his motorbike coming and we didn’t really have another choice than jumping on his bike again.

he drove us to the beautiful beach in talalla and wanted to go fishing with us right now. he was not good in accepting a no but i just hugged him and said thank you for the lunch, and walked away. that worked luckily.

the next day we caught the bus and drove to weligama, where we surfed for an hour. i did a wrong move with my shoulder and it
felt out of place which was not so good for the work that we are doing when we scraiping the paint of the window because i always had to put pressure on my shoulders.

after a few hours of scraiping paint of again on the next day we went to matara by bus to buy some lunch. kai brought his phone that
he bought in fiji with him because he wanted to try and sell it because it is a big iphone which he never used.

we went to a tuk tuk driver and asked him if he can bring us to a place where they buy phones. he said that he want to have a look at the phone because maybe he can buy it for his wife. we went to his wifes place which was a short drive away and the wife cooked rice and curry for us while the husband drove with the phone to a shop to get it checked.

the wife was a really lovely lady and their little daughter was cute as well. she showed us familyalbum and the pictures of their wedding.

after two hours the husband came back and told us that there is a big problem because he just got arrested by the police.
the phone is not a real iphone 7 like it says on the package, it is an fake i-phone 6. kai bought it from a guy in fiji and the guy was obviously not honest at all to sell a fake i-phone. anyway, he talked to the police for a bit and explained everything and then they were fine with it.

the husband brought us back to the busstation and they invited us for dinner the next day again, really kind people and kai gave them the phone for free as a present and because he had to go through all the drama because of the phone.
he picked us up by tuk tuk the next evening and they cooked curry for us. we thought that everyone eats together when they invite us for dinner
but they only made food for us, that was a bit strange. but the food was delicious as usually in sri lanka. the lady gave me a dress from her that she is not wearing anymore because it is too short and is shoulderfree, really lovely people and i hope to see them again when we are in sri lanka the next time.

the next day was our last day in sri lanka and we made our way to the airport. he had a long way to go! we caught the train for most of the way which was nice because the bus is way too crowded and the view is not so nice from there. we arrived at the airport at 7 pm and had to wait until 2 am for our flight. we chilled down in a corner and made our sri lanka travel video that the time goes by fast. i fall asleep while we were waiting and when kai woke me up shortly before check in i felt like i am still in a dream.

1 Comment

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