Vacationing with the Family

Yes, we finally did it!!  – the 4 of us, TOGETHER – an International Holiday. It’s not that we’ve never gone out together for dinners, short trips or occasions – we have but a vacation is different, a WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT and more so if it is out of the country. I’m not gonna say it was roses all the way – it is FAMILY we are talking about here and with 4 members, mum, dad, myself & sis, there’s always going to be 4 of everything, more importantly 4 minds that think very differently from each other, in such a scenario it was necessary that at least 2 of those minds had to be flexible, to make the trip/vacation/holiday a successful one.

Our last Family vacation was 17 years ago in the year 2000, I was only 18 then.. however the one common thing that happened with me on both occasions, was that I found myself being in charge of the trolley, moving around the airport. A lot had changed though in 17 years when we last travelled – for starters, the suitcases got heavier (can’t even begin to imagine how much women can stuff into a suitcase) I felt travelling seemed to take longer somehow, I don’t know… (I thought a flight from Chennai to Colombo took a little over an hour, but it took 1 hr 40 minutes) it also didn’t feel the mind was on a vacation..personally speaking. That said, it was my first trip with the family, as an adult – I wasn’t very surprised on how the whole vacation panned out. It was good, could have been better. 

I’m sure before setting out for the holiday, each one of us had his/her own agenda, whether that was fulfilled or not, I’m not sure but we did end up doing a lot of activities together, whether it was looking at fish, birds, watching elephants or shopping, we ended up spending a lot of time with each other, 24 hours of the day which well.. was interesting! Stressful at times – definitely an experience though.

The first thing of course to do on a vacation is.. to do your own thing and not be bogged down by rules and instructions like “don’t venture too far” or “come back soon”. No matter how old you are, parents will always treat you like children. A vacation means giving one personal space to keep the mind calm.. how otherwise is it different from staying in home conditions?

All said and done, the key of going for a vacation is not to be disappointed, you might not have done/bought/seen everything you wanted, but its okay. The important thing is ‘YOU’ were there for your family and made the vacation a reality. Some families never get even beyond planning stage. No holiday is ever going to be perfect, but I guess if you can try and capture the small moments, you will realise it was a pretty good holiday overall.

It was the reactions of a couple of neighbours who did not know we were gone, when on seeing us, said.. [which I found quite silly!]

One neighbour [the Queen] told mom “you didn’t tell me you’ll were going on a holiday” [were we supposed to make an announcement?]

Another: “You’ll went for a holiday? All 4 of you? Where is Sri Lanka?” [maybe a geography lesson is due sometime soon]

Dad’s friend..met me while buying the morning newspaper: “So, you’re back!” [did he think I was going to stay there forever?]

We’re still waiting for a reaction from the neighbour downstairs, she always has something interesting to say 😜

We’re not the kind of family that updates their travel plans on-the-go on social media, like most people do. Neither do we make big announcements when we leave home or get back. At best, a few photographs uploaded on FB after we get back – that’s it. 

It was just a holiday! I guess people are just used to seeing us around all the time. The morning bread-man was happy to see me… 😁

Food – Sri Lankan & Ghaas phoos

The last time I came to Sri Lanka, the food was certainly different, in a sense that we ate authentic Sri Lankan meals..the spiciness that one associates with the food you get in the country, brings about a welcome change to your taste buds. It isn’t very much different from what we get back in India, just that the preparation and the ‘spice quantity’ is a little more that generous here.

However this time, I noticed a distinct change in the way hotels presented their food, it was mostly ghaas phoos with little portions of actual meal (either fish/chicken). I mean what’s with the decoration on the plate with all the greens? I don’t think Indians really care much for decoration. We are more interested in the actual food. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many veggies on a plate. Seeing so much of veggies on my place, reminded me of the cows back in my country – they would have enjoyed it more. We aren’t the Chinese/Japanese who can survive on veggies, Indians eat wholesome portions of food (maybe not the whole 4 course meal and stuff.. but definitely NOT ghaas phoos)

The meals I truly enjoyed, were the breakfasts laid out in buffet style. It had a mix of Sri Lankan, Indian and American dishes which gave us the freedom to explore and eat what we liked.

Food you should definitely try out in Sri Lanka:

 

Seeni sambol.. is a combination of a sweet, sour and spicy sambol. It can be served with any savory meal or can be a good filling for the sandwiches. This seeni sambol is mostly served with String hoppers, yellow rice or bread in Sri Lanka.

String hoppers.. [known also as Idiyappam (in South India)] Great choice for breakfast or a light dinner. It is best eaten with coconut gravy or pol sambol (dish made from coconut). I personally love it with parippu (dal curry) 

Parippu.. is the Sri Lankan version of Indian dal. Made thicker and it has a different taste to what we get in India. Make sure you taste it when you’re here. Best eaten along with string hoppers/rice.

 

Chicken/Fish Curry.. The chicken preparation is always spicy here, so make sure you have adequate parippu to mix it up or drink lots of water. Fish is another good choice (Seer Fish & Tuna among others)

Of course there’s a lot more to taste in terms of food in the country. The idea is to try out different food that you don’t find in your country.. but don’t over-eat. While the food may all be tasty to you, it is still food which your body isn’t used to.. so go slow. Make sure you aren’t eating ghaas phoos though.

 

The Nature Resort – Kandy

Hotel Tree of Life (https://www.hoteltreeoflife.com/) – A Nature Resort – It’s different!

This place is something else, Really! Being spread out on 65 acres of land, this place is massive and more importantly cut away in one corner of Kandy,  (don’t ask me which..it didn’t seem we’d ever reach.. driving on & on & on) Once you’re there though, you can say you are amidst nature ..like really nature…nature. Not a single sound of a vehicle passing by, but only that of birds twittering, which can have a calming effect on the mind or drive you totally insane, that said.. the resort impressed me.. and I am not really impressed that easily, so that’s definitely a + for the Hotel.

I’d still prefer the city any day but for once in a lifetime experience, I guess I can handle the calmness. Not sure it worked on me this time though… 

The weather was pretty pleasing too, considering we had come driving down from NuwaraEliya (a.k.a Little England) [Hill Station] (2500mts above sea level) @ 14 degrees, Kandy was pleasant in the low – mid 20’s. I enjoyed myself thoroughly in NuwaraEliya (weather wise), though the rains were relentless and it rained buckets as long as we were there, pretty much restricting our outdoor movements.

Colombo would be our last stop before we head back to India (now that does feel good..typing it out) may be a bit sad (not really) but certainly relieved and happy, for no matter how much and how close or far you travel away from your own country, you always want to go back home.

Yes, the beds were soft, the rooms were luxurious, the service was excellent and the food excellent.. but at the end of the day, you still miss your own bed (with the not so soft mattress) the  maa/ghar ka khana (which no hotel food would EVER match up to) and of course the freedom one feels being in your own state/country.

So looking forward to the journey back, but we’re not done as yet! Still a good day and a half to go.. so until then, I guess I’ll be eating and living the life King size! The treatment has been that good, of course its all come at a good price too.

I don’t know how to put this..

but.. I’ve realized

..travelling abroad is not my thing, neither is living in luxury or eating enormous amounts of food served. I am so much more happy in India.. I really can’t see myself traveling to a foreign country again, don’t think I’d enjoy it.

“The Food in SL” – well! at least for the days that we have been here, deserves a separate blog  post all together. That next.. along with  a post on “Certain Luxuries Indians could get used to..” next in line. It’s just that the few days that I’ve spent with the family in SL that has thrown up so many new experiences that.. thank God for this blog, I can write it all down. Not sure I would want to remember all of it though.

 

The 4-course meal Indian

Yes! The 4-course meal Indian, difficult to find them around, if at all – maybe just a handful. Indians love to eat and YET the 4 course meal is something, which may be a little too much for the Indian stomach.

I might have ever experienced a 4 course meal before, until yesterday for the first time.. and boy!! Was it an experience or what!! I could barely walk after I was through.

I guess that’s how Royalty feels like. Holidays are easy on the mind but strong on the stomach simply because with nothing much else to do besides sight seeing and sleeping, eating becomes that much more a TEMPTATION.

SL Flag.jpg

Presently at the Pearl Grand Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka… proceeding to Nuwara Eliya at 8 degreees (if what the locals say is true!) I know mum, dad wouldn’t be too happy but I am sooooo looking forward to it. 12 degrees being the lowest temperature I’ve stayed in.. so far @ KodaiKanal, India (t’was my last holiday-solo)

Signing off for now…with lots more in store to write about, we’re just through a couple of days in the country and almost a good week left.6/7 days left

P.S: Sri Lankan girls are hottt AF!! That said Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and the people are kind. Reminds me a lot of people back home in GOA.