There’s something deeply therapeutic about getting away from your life just to huddle together with your girl gang in a hotel 20,000 miles away, staying up all night talking about books, sex, soba noodles and that time in college when you got kicked out of class for eating cheese pineapple canapes and playing fake piano during Social Psychology. No other vacation has quite the same effect on the soul.
The only problem while planning an all-girls trip is one basic question – “What’s a safe place to go?” I’m starting to crack the code. The first place on my “where-will-I-not-turn-up-dead” list is Sri Lanka. It is also the first place on my where-will-I-not-have-to-sell-my-kidneys-for-bed-and-breakfast list.
Sri Lanka is the closest thing to love at first sight that I’ve ever felt. If this was a Friday night and Sri Lanka was a dishy surfer dude at a bar, I’d totally walk up to him and make awkward small talk about the weather, till he got the hint. The best thing about loving Sri Lanka is also that it is a low-maintenance relationship. When traveling to Sri Lanka, carry US dollars because the exchange rate makes restaurants, hotels, and sarongs you don’t really need, affordable. You can hire a cab with a personal chauffeur from the Colombo airport for five whole days for roughly 230 USD. The highways in Sri Lanka are smooth as a baby’s bottom. A drive from Colombo all the way to the scenic beach town of Unawatuna takes all of 3 hours. You could gaze at the landscape or doze off while listening to Sinhalese songs playing softly on the car stereo. Safe in the knowledge that your chauffeur, we’ll call him Muttiah K, is a real gentleman and the uncle at the airport car company assured you of that. The fact that he wears collared tees and is genuinely not interested in the length of your shorts helps. Not all Sri Lankan men are like Muttiah K., of course. Some curly haired beach bums will try their luck in Sinhalese, and proceed to sing you a song or two.
While anywhere else this would qualify as eve-teasing, in Sri Lanka it can be almost charming.
Having hundreds of people lazing around you in various degrees of nakedness and no one staring at you is also reassuring during this entire process. You never once feel uncomfortable in a bikini. Wardrobe malfunctions are a daily occurrence at Mirissa beach. The world moves on! The sun rises from the East again.
You can sit on the beach at Hikkaduwa long after the stars come out, dig your toes into the soft, white sand, watch boat lights bobbing in the distance and forget about your curfew. You’re safe.
The only time I ever needed a pepper spray in Sri Lanka was for my buttered toast.