Palatupana: Sand dunes, and a deserted beach in the vicinity of Yala National Park
For weeks, months and years, we’ve seen pictures of sand dunes appearing on our Instagram pages. For weeks, and months, we’ve been planning on running, and dragging our feet across the soft powdery sand. But however, the little corner of down south Sri Lanka was only limited to luxury resorts. That was until a friend told us about the recently-opened Yala Yin Yang Hostel.
The hostel lies inside a big, green garden, with shrubs and a few occasional semi-grown trees. During our three days in Yala Yin Yang, we fell asleep on hammocks, as the cool breeze gently embraced us, sweeping over the midday tropical humidity. We’d wake up to birdsong, and feast on our homemade breakfast. The lovely aunt brings us a handmade papaya paste, which tastes phenomenal on toast as a substitute to supermarket jam.
After two cups of chai, poached eggs, and a tropical fruit platter, we’d walk to the beach. Sheeba joins us, his little legs overtaking us and enthusiastically inviting us to run along with him. We walk through the deserted grasslands, few centimeters tall, and a tree or two appear, providing shelter to resident monkeys. On the way, Sheeba’s mum joins her little four-legged rascal. Sheeba is a tiny munchkin, the resident doggo at Yala Yin Yang. And as expected from pooches his age, the longest time Sheeba stands still at one place limits to barely one minute.
At the beach, Sheeba runs with me (Zin), and climbs onto rocky outcrops, and hides fearfully when ocean sends its waves to welcome her new visitor with four-legs. The beach today sees a total number of five visitors: Nathan, me, Sheeba and two young foreign males from our hostel. The ocean is a little grumpy. I like to think that she’s a little sad, and that she weeps in the absence of a large sum of visitors.
Nathan climbs the dunes. A tall, leafless branch of a tree becomes a trekking pole, providing much-needed support to run on the solid sand. The sun rises to the zenith, its rays hugging the whimpering earth. I quickly change into my swimsuits. The rocky structures create a wonderful natural pool, with patches of shells, and anemone. The ocean constantly feeds the pool, sending its waves; the shore-travelers.
An hour later, we are back at the hostel. The in-house chef aunt makes two plates full of rice & curry. “We don’t normally serve fish, but you are us, and I thought of making a fish curry for lunch,” she says as a simple smile plays on her lips. She hails from Debarayaya, a nearby village but stays on-site to prepare meals. Frequent elephant visits cease her ability to go back home late at night. “But this is a nice job. Everyone loves my food,” she laughs. I laugh with her.
Three days later when we left Yala Yin Yang, we almost lost a shoe. Sheeba, sneaking into our dorm room with half-raised walls, has licked the sole of my sneaker, and bit my ever-loved purple color shoelaces. Sheeba, not knowing what he did, aimlessly wanders, and jumps onto an already-prepared bed waiting for the arrival of a new guest. Looking back, Nathan and I wish if we could stay there a little longer, maybe a week or two, wandering aimlessly, chasing proud peacocks and submerging ourselves in saltwater.
But as always, with a sore heart, we left.
Until next time,
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