Thursday, 15 November 2012

Meet, Play, Shove – self discovery in the real world.

There is something truly magical about Sri Lanka: lush and bursting with life like other beautiful tropical islands, yet set against the gritty reality of rebuilding after a tsunami and civil war. The contrast serves only to enhance the magic.

What better setting then, to embark on a week long “yoga ‘n’ ayurvedic for beginners” holiday. As I entered the Barberyn Beach Resort., I wondered if I was turning into a 30-something cliché - professionally successful, personally happy, but still looking for fulfilment in the absence of Mr Right.

After seven blissful days of meditating on Weligama beach, yoga in the open air and ayurvedic treatments on tap from the endlessly smiley staff, it was time to explore my physical surroundings.

True to the brochures, I planned whale watching from picture perfect Mirrisa beach, luxury eco tourism courtesy of Kulu Safaris and a couple of days chilling out at the old fort city of Galle.

What I hadn’t expected, however, was to fall in love.

His name was Frank, German, with an unfortunate fondness for speedos and ponytails. We met in Mirissa at one of the many beautiful beach restaurants. Chilled beer, simple, local food, and, on this first night together, a symphonic electric storm that lasted for hours before gracefully giving way to a blanket of stars that rolled out across the inky black sky.

We talked about life, the universe and everything. He seemed centred, honest and thoughtful. We shared our hopes and dreams, the journeys that had brought us to Sri Lanka and after two days of mooning over each other like a couple of teenagers, I was smitten. I stayed true to my plan of seeing the elephants in Uda Walawe (a ludicrously fertile, beautiful national park) whilst looking forward to our next rendez-vous in Galle.

We’d chosen to stay in the Fort Printers, an exquisitely restored building in the middle of Galle’s old fort and the perfect location for a romantic tryst. The staff were discreet, the hotel deserted apart from us. We frolicked in the plunge pool at midnight, before sloping off to our luxuriously appointed room, oblivious to just about everything apart from the wonder of having found someone whom you could lose yourself in.

We wandered around the narrow, twisting streets, enjoying sun-downers at the Galle Face Hotel and the Amangalla. We giggled at the dreadfully realised new national Museum. We didn’t even get frustrated at the gentle touting and selling that followed us around town.

We parted at the airport without tears or fanfare. We would, of course, meet again. How could something so perfect not be pursued? Five months of emails, IM and skype later, we met in Istanbul. Where it only took him two days to drop into conversation the surprising news that he had a girlfriend (and had had all along).

Meet - play - shove.

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