Full moon ceremony

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Walking to the temple

Yesterday was full moon day, and the Buddhists here in Sri Lanka celebrate that day with a special ceremony.
We’ve now learned that you’re not supposed to eat eggs on a full moon day, and it’s very good to go to the temple and make offerings – especially at around 6 pm.

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Full moon, looks almost like the sun

The family had invited us to come, and told us that it was good to wear white. So we did.
And by Anders wearing a sarong, and I having a white shirt with batik patterns, people were commenting on how Sri Lankan we looked ;-).

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Not everyone wore white

After walking to the village temple we were given flowers to put on the stands in front of the pictures of different gods. Then we walked to a monastary where we got a place in a long line of people, where everybody was supposed to touch and carry the many baskets and trays of offerings before they were handed into the temple.

Above our heads, huge bats started to fly off into the sky when it turned dark. Close to the temple site was a cobra nest (!), and we had to walk quickly between all the statues and holy places to keep up with the others… Oil lamps, incense sticks and flowers – we did it all.

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"Small dinner" after the ceremony

Afterwards we were invited to have what Malika, the amma (mother) of the family calls a small dinner… It’s always lots of food! On a full moon, milk-rice and sambal is good to eat, and we also got coconut roti (bread), fish curry and shrimp. Fresh pinapple and bananas for dessert.

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First time the family ate with us!

This dinner was very special, since for the first time almost all members of the family ate together with us! The men took turns at sitting by the table, and the women sat on chairs beside or behind us. Usually we as guests eat separately, and the family comes in to talk a little, put on more food on our plates and then eat after we have left. Now that has changed, and it feels good!

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"Take away coconuts"

When leaving the dinner we got two coconuts to bring to the hotel, to drink today. And when finally getting through, they were very good!

Happy Sunday!
// Wivan and Anders

Surprises, we love surprises

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Two year old boy, happy to have his picture taken

The past week has been filled with all kinds of surprises. Mostly good surprises. We’ve been invited to people’s homes for tea, taken out on little tours around the village and in the surrounding area, been out on a fishing boat twice, played with children, swimming with a turtle, bought fresh seafood while snorkeling with fishermen, laughing with new friends, surfing and learned a bit of Sinhala. All those good surprises happen without any planning, we find ourselves in situations we could never have imagined in beforehand. And it’s good fun!

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Wiva, Andrew and Mona in the tuktuk

Yesterday we went for a tour that our friend/”brother”/surf teacher/tour guide Mona had invited us to. When we got into the tuktuk we realized we didn’t really know what we were going to see or what was going to happen along the tour. Something about tea and batik we had understood, and therefor we were quite surprised when the first stop was at a gem, stone and jewelry factory! Nice to see, and after the salesmen tried to sell us expensive jewelry for €1800, we did actually buy a ring to replace my wedding ring that doesn’t fit in this tropical heat. A thin silver ring with a tiny pink stone to remind of Sri Lanka. This one was €15 which more suited our budget.

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Simple, pretty silver ring

After that first stop we drove through beautiful green landscape with rice fields, coconut trees, mountains in the distance, passing small villages, fruit stands along the road and rubber plantations. Next stop was at Galaboda tea plantation where we had a nice tour of the plantation, the factory and then had a tea tasting. The two of us enjoyed the tea tasting of different black and green teas, but the Tuktuk Man and Mona thought the teas weren’t that good without sugar… Most Sri Lankan people like to drink their tea with sugar in it.

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Organic tea plantation

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Tea factory

Another good surprise yesterday was that we’re becoming more and more close to the Sri Lankan family we’ve spent a lot of time with the past week, so yesterday the boys started to make a lot more jokes and laughed with us. We really like that!

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Woman working in tea factory

After the not-sweet-enough tea tasting we took off to a batik factory. Wow! That was a colorful time! And it was nice to see the many steps of making these beautiful batik clothes, bed sheets and decorations.

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Playful pictures

We did buy some clothes at very good prices at the factory, and when leaving we also were encouraged to give the tour guiding lady some tips. Sometimes it is so hard to know how much to give, and yesterday it was clear that 100 Rupees were not enough, her face expression said it all, so we gave 200 and that was apparently a little better.

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Batik clothes drying outside

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Making patterns with hot wax

After the tour and a late lunch at the family’s house, we got another surprise we never would have imagined, first we got invited by a man on the street to see the house he and his family and friends are working on and that he and his future wife will live in. He then invited us to come to the wedding at the house on Friday! He asked us to promise to come, and his friends said they were hoping we would come and that no presents were needed. Of course we want to go, and we said yes and again decided to extend our stay here in Weligama!

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Friendly people giving us coconut water

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Niece and nephew of the groom

Our “plan” at the moment is to head up north to Colombo in the beginning of next week to extend our visas and then go to Negombo where we have a house sit booked.
Who knows what will happen, plans change and surprises might come along the way!

Take care and enjoy whatever surprises today might bring.
//Wivan

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Wax decoration in batik factory

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Sewing in the batik factory

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Coloring

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Coloring in buckets

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Heating away the wax and rinsing the clothes

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Anders buying a sarong

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

Tour de France x 2

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First big hill

Premiere for biking to the village today, and we knew it was going to be a challenge with all the hills and valleys. But we hadn’t understood just how big of a challenge…

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Snack before heading back home

Since we’re going to South East Asia this winter, we’re getting our vaccines and had a doctors appointment earlier today. We got there one minute before our appointment, sweating and panting like crazy.
Got some groceries from the supermarket and then headed back home, another route this time.

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One of many hills we walked

The only thing was that we then needed to get to the pharmacy late in the afternoon, in order to pick the actual vaccin up… So Wivan got on the bike once more and did a second trip to the village.

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Bread and mineral water

Now we look forward to being picked up by a friend in his car to get to tonight’s dinner party. On Monday we’ll do this exciting bike trip again, to get the vaccin into our bodies.

//Anders and Wivan

Shopping in Flores; we found coffee!

Oh yes, we got a tip that there’s a good supermarket in the next village so we decided to go check it out. It doesn’t look much, but they’ve got lots of variety and also more fresh food in there! We went all in and felt very spoiled to get fresh apples, pears, salad (!), eggs, yoghurt, grounded coffee (hurray!), black tea (they mostly sell herbal teas here), and canned tomatoes.

Anders outside "The green store"

Anders outside “The green store”

What was surprising though was that they were out of onions the first time we went, but we did get several pieces of nice garlic. And we found some good frozen fish, and some minced meat so that Anders can make his Flores version of Chili con carne.

Shelves filled up with fresh ingredients after the boat arrived

Shelves filled up with fresh ingredients after the boat arrived

Wivan found ground coffee

Wivan found ground coffee

So, just a few minutes away by car, we all of a sudden found several variations of grounded coffee, and two or three different black teas, as well as fresh fruits that are not bananas 😉 And earlier this week the boat came in, so the shelves of this particular store were totally packed with fresh goodies.

"French style" food storage - in the closet!

“French style” food storage – in the closet!

Don’t think we’ve ever been so happy after a round of shopping, it felt very good to get things we like to have in the kitchen, especially the fresh ingredients, and a little broader variety, even though we like the game of cooking with few ingredients. And know what!? We even got coconut milk! And sunflower seeds. Wivan’s totally happy!

More joyful cooking ahead!

// Anders and Wivan

First day in Flores island

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Coast of Flores

It’s overwhelming to see how extremely green and dramatic the landscape of this little island is! We’d heard about it, seen pictures, but to see it with our own eyes is something totally different. Just the flight in over the island yesterday was an experience, and then the drive from the airport to “our” little village, Lajes.

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Lajes this morning

After arriving yesterday afternoon, we were picked up by the neighbor of our host, and got a ride to one of the supermarkets to get some groceries, and then a little sightseeing tour by car. The total trip took us about 14 hours from door to door, but we were in the air for only a little over five (!) hours. Tonight we will meet the dog we’re sitting the coming two months: Lucky.

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Airline " SATA, The Atlantic and you"

We’re staying on the island for about two months and still haven’t booked the tickets back. This coming summer we’re staying in Sweden and since Anders needs to get back a little earlier than Wivan, it’s good we haven’t booked any dates yet. And, we’ve learned more about the booking of travels to these islands, so we’ll probably be able to cut the costs with about half by doing it a little bit different:

On our flight out here, we booked all the three tickets at the same time via Momondo. The price was a bit higher than what we’re now looking for when going back to Sweden in late May or early June. For this time we will order tickets from Flores to Lisboa separately to make it cheaper. We plan on staying one night in Lisboa before flying to Copenhagen with the budget airline Norwegian and take the train to Sweden.

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Green and lots of flowers: Flores island

By doing this, we can choose tickets for dates that have lower prices and match them by staying one night in Lisboa. Sure, to stay overnight can cost a bit too, but on the other hand, we get to see a new city!

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One of the supermarkets in Lajes

Today we have focused on resting and to settle in a bit in our new home. We’ve also been on a walk to find one of the supermarkets in the village to get some extra things we forgot yesterday. Promise to tell you more about the shopping here on the island in a later post!

Take care! // Anders & Wivan

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On the plane yesterday