House sit, recovery and sunshine

Now it’s begun. Our house- and dog sit outside of Negombo on the Western coast of Sri Lanka. The owner will be gone for about a week, and usually we don’t take on assignments that are shorter than two weeks, but since we had already decided to go to Sri Lanka we thought that this would be a good exception.

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Daisy and Jazzie

And the timing is perfect! We’ve both caught a cold, Anders has a wound on his foot, I have some sensations of an ear infection and my voice is almost gone – it’s simply time for us to rest and recover a bit. To be able do that in a comfortable, very big house with a nice kitchen, comfortable bed, good living room and easy-going dogs is perfect. We’re a bit away from the hustle of touristy Negombo, which we of course like; a more quiet life with a genuine local community suits us better than the cities and towns adjusted to suit tourists.

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"Our house" the coming week

This is a bit of a flash-back to our time in Bali last November, when we too were “forced” to slow down and integrate all the experiences and insights, happenings and outings into our beings.

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Three cups of ayurvedic Samahan a day

We’re becoming more and more cool about this ‘nothing much is happening-state’ of being. Anders have always been ok with it and I have started to enjoy it too! And as long as the tourists or “world travelers” with huge plans stay away from us with their guide books and stop telling what things we just HAVE to go see it’s perfectly quiet and calm around us with locals smiling and noticing we’re not the regular Tourist People. (Usually other people have a lot of opinions on what we should see and do, whereas we’re doing our nomadic life/traveling a bit different than most).

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Inside the mosquito net tent

So, let’s chill out, enjoy whatever sensations come and be at ease with the knowledge that everything changes.

Happy Friday folks!
// Wivan

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Painting in the house

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Guests at local wedding

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The two of us and the bride and groom

Today was the big day for Praneeth and Nirasha, a young couple in the village outside of Weligama where we have spent a lot of time in the past couple of weeks. Honestly, we don’t really know them…

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Beautiful couple in their own house

Praneeth had invited us to come, and every time we’ve walked by the house they’ve been working hard on to finish before the wedding, he’s asked us to promise to come and his friends and family members have told us they’d be honored if we come. So we’ve asked around, with various luck due to language difficulties, about what to wear, what to bring, how to act and what a Sri Lankan wedding usually is like.

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Among the women at the wedding

Anders decided to wear his new, Sri Lankan sarong and a shirt and that was “approved” by the members of “our” local family. I asked the mother of the family if she had a saree I could borrow from her, and when coming there today she had bought a new saree for me to wear… There are many things that happen here without us understanding even half of it. So I just said thank you and decided to pay her back in some way further on. (they usually refuse to take money from us, even if we want to pay for something).

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Andrew in his sarong with elephants on

It took seven women to get me dressed and ready with make up, hair, ear rings, shoes and jewelry.

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A big gathering to get me ready

The younger girls ran to other houses to borrow make up, bracelets and safety pins.

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Smiles, laughter and excitement

Someone almost pinned my underwear to the dress, a make up pen broke before both eyes were done, and I broke some bracelet because my hands are bigger than the girl’s that had lended it to me.

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Picture time on the beach

Anyways, everyone was happy and these people were so proud of us wanting to wear the traditional clothing to the wedding.

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Us with the mother and father of "our" family here

When arriving at the wedding, the groom, his friends and family were so happy to see us, they held our hands and made sure to let us know how honored they felt.

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Off to take pictures

For us, the wedding party ment a lot of sitting inside the new house and in the neighbor’s garden (where the men gathered for strong drinks and snacks), listening to very loud live music, eating good food, smiling and accepting not understanding what went on, trying to figure out when and where to give our present, taking pictures of kids that one of the women wants us to send copies of, and telling everyone how much we love Sri Lanka.

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Dancing

And then there was dancing. Only men dancing, making spectacular moves to the extremely loud music, and I couldn’t help but get up there… As the only woman dancing, people came outside or stopped on the street to see the Swedish lady dancing in her Sri Lankan dress with the men at this local wedding.

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Moves...

We didn’t know if this was very inappropriate or not, but apparently it was some kind of success.

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All different combinations of pictures

After some hours of sweating, smiling, talking, eating, sitting, smiling, dancing and talking some more, we left and walked back home.

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Our pictures with the couple

Probably we made some “mistakes”, but we tried our best to show respect and give the newly wedded couple our warmest wishes. We enjoyed being part of something this big in these people’s lives, and smiled at the excitement our presence and dressing caused. We had a really good time and were totally exhaused afterwards.

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Some of the kids

Oh, the present we bought was a clay pot for the couple to use in their new kitchen – from today they live together in the new house and will start their life together as husband and wife.

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Sunset after the wedding

With love,
Anders and Wivan

Temple time and tuktuk

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Temple visit outside Weligama

Yesterday was another day of wonderful experiences together with our new friends and the family that has taken us on as part of them.

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Prayer flags at the temple

In the afternoon we went to one small and one big Buddhist temple nearby.

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Always a tuktuk

Surfer Mona has a friend who owns a tuktuk, ‘Tuktuk Man’, and he drives us to the good surf beach in the morning, drove to the temple and also in to town.

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Big Buddha and small Wiva

We’ve been snorkeling at a great little beach with a wonderful reef, had tea, fruit and cookies at the family’s house, and last night they cooked dinner for us again.

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Tea tray, bananas and cookies

It’s something very special to experience this community of friends, families and the local life and we’re so grateful for the opportunity.

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Fish bbq on the gas stove

The kids in the neighborhood are always saying hello and sometimes want to do a high five with us, most people are curious and smiling when we come by, and we try and learn a few words here and there.

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Anders in front of the family's house

Till next time!
//Anders and Wivan

I walk so much I burn

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One of the roads in Pemuteran

Before, we’ve written about the crazy traffic in Bali, and the difficulties to walk without being afraid of traffic or getting dozens of annoying sales-offers along the way.

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Empty beach in Pemuteran

Well, here in Pemuteran on the north-west coast of Bali, it’s different. It’s much more quiet, the small village is known for the lack of sales people, and locals live in between hotels, guest houses and restaurants.

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Empty souvenir shop

I enjoyed this so much yesterday, I ended up walking for over two hours, looking around the village, checking out the entire beach in both directions and walking in between small houses, boats and fisher huts.

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Extra wide fishing boat

So, for the first time in years, I got burnt in the sun. I hadn’t brought any sun screen lotion on my walk, and forgot to put it on before… So, that’s really a sign of how unusual it’s been for us to take a long walk since arriving in Bali!

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Walk the other night

//Wivan

Signs of becoming Floresian

Or “Driving on 3rd gear from Lajes to Santa Cruz”.

That’s definitely one of the signs of becoming more of a local than tourist; to be able to handle the turns and hills in such a way that you don’t need to drive only in 2nd gear, but actually can manage to use 3rd and 4th all the way between the villages.

Here are some other signs of starting to become a bit more like the locals:

* You think white bread is perfect and can’t remember why you would eat anything but wheat or corn bread.
* You’re seriously thinking whether you should get some chickens and then a cow, or maybe a goat first.

Cows and calves in Lajes

Cows and calves in Lajes

* You think traffic lights and highways are scary and don’t know if you want to go there again.
* You feel ripped off if a double espresso costs more than € 0.60.

Double espresso, €0.50 in Fazenda

Double espresso, €0.50 in Fazenda

* You think placing stones on the roof of the house is a great way to secure the tiles from flying off.

This roof might need something more than just stones...

This roof might need something more than just stones…

* You open windows and doors and air out blankets, pillows and everything else made of fabric as soon as it’s dry outside. (including mattresses, teddy bears, fleece pajamas and more.)
* You’re totally fine with only having fresh food shipments every two weeks and think the idea of a huge supermarket is silly.

Supermarket in Lajes

Supermarket in Lajes

Soon time for a new shipment

Soon time for a new shipment

* You’re seriously thinking about getting a truck, a moped or a tractor. Who needs fancy cars when you can have workable vehicles.

Moped.

Moped.

* You no longer raise an eyebrow when there are chickens in the neighbor’s trees at night.
* You’re longing to mount a bread-box someplace, where the morning bread is delivered.

Bread- and post box combined

Bread- and post box combined

Bread box next to water meter

Bread box next to water meter

* Either you buy UHT-milk in the store, or you get fresh milk from the cow – are there other ways?
* Hiking and walking is mainly for tourists.

Lucky and Anders on one of our first hikes on the western part of the island

Lucky and Anders on one of our first hikes on the western part of the island