02
Nov
09

Human/Bicycle Conflict

Recently Whacko, Indi and I went on a walkabout of the East Coast. Excited by stories of untouched beaches, exotic seafood and original gangsta’s, we took the night train to Batticaloa. From there we headed down to Arugam Bay, famed surfing location and muse for naming of hip slipper brand.

The beach was good. That’s a blue whale of a compliment since we were sick of beaches by the end of the trip. There was this other bit of beach where surfers gathered called Peanut Farm, which we decided to cycle to. We rented push cycles for the day and set out. Or course I had to spice up the journey by nearly colliding with the rider in front of me and falling off the bike a mere five minutes after we started. Contributing factors were said to be me being a push-bike noob, crappy brakes on said bike and Indi eating people’s souls and hence making me fidgety around him.
Either way, I display my loyalty to gravity in quite a mundane manner.

We get to the place, it’s a beach. Meh. By now I’ve got blood all over my left leg and the palms of my hands are stinging. On top of that my slipper broke a while back so I had to keep stopping every five minutes to adjust it. On the way back we see an elephant standing at a distance from the road. We slowed down to look at it and the thing starts charging. Yes, you read right, no provocation required for this proud member of the Elephant Skinhead Society.

*cue This Is Your Life (Tyler Durden) by the Dust Brothers from the Fight Club Soundtrack*

And you open the door and you step inside.

The Whack and Indi start turning their bikes around just as we shout out the obvious “It’s coming at us!!!”

In my slow motion world of charging elephants and unwieldy bicycles, I sense the presence of a vehicle. A motor vehicle. A truck. I doubt any of us saw it rolling up right in front of our eyes since we were too busy staring at the rabid gargoyle of an elephant.

So in this world of blurry movement and one charging pachyderm, I weigh my options. There’s a bicycle that I’m on. It can probably outrun an elephant but I don’t fancy racing an angry beast in a contraption I’ve only just gotten to know with a knee that creaked and hands still bleeding with cuts. Then there’s this truck rolling to a stop right next to us. The massive brainpower required to compute that a truck travels faster than a bike, and much faster than an elephant, was thankfully put at my disposal by powers unknown.

What happened next was an exercise in efficiency as I lay down the bike, shouted at the driver to slow down and leapt up on the truck’s rear bumper.

I know. Pure awesomeness. Get me a part in a Jackie Chang movie already.

It’s about this point that I realize the back of the truck is full of people yelling something. I hear two people laughing their asses off behind me and I start laughing at what just happened. Apparently the elephant was just crossing the road and didn’t want us in its path. So we waited. About twenty meters from where we were originally. The elephant passed, hung around for a while, hiding in the bushes and occasionally peering out to stare daggers at us and disappeared into the surrounding forest again.

We were left slightly shaken and severely spiteful about elephants. Many were the plans to taunt the ones at the zoo with mice. They’re just wicked, man.

After that we moved up to Pasikudah and Kalkudah through Batticaloa. The food in Batti is awesome. Expect a few posts on http://sinhalayatravels.wordpress.com on the same. Pasikudah was kind of mediocre. Except for the brilliant Kottu offered by Logi in his little shop, the beach was meh. Apparently the place used to have many hotels before the war. Now there were only a handful of guest houses and a whole lot of land leased to various people.

Kalkudah on the other hand was an amazing beach. It’s just north but it is the cool older sibling to Pasi’s little runt of a nose picking brat.
From there it was on to Polonnaruwa, where we cycled around the Kings’ hood. Thankfully this time we got regular mountain bikes. Much riding down the sides of dried up water tanks ensued.

We totally used the tent everywhere we went. Contrary to all evidence, we did not in fact stay at cheap guest houses everywhere. Perish the thought. That tent was a tent that was all the richer for seeing the entire east coast by the time it got back.

On Friday I came back home since I had classes to get to, for which I had much bread to butter with marmite and napkins to fold so I can pin it to my lapel along with the water bottle round my neck. Whack and Indi went on to Badulle alone, and last I heard they were living off the fruits of love in the jungles of Ella.


19 Responses to “Human/Bicycle Conflict”


  1. 1 chathuraw
    November 2, 2009 at 9:52 am

    What the hell do you mean you’re a bicycle n00b?? Aren’t u 20 years old or something? :P

  2. 3 Chavie
    November 2, 2009 at 11:53 am

    hahaha guesthouses? :P what men?! :D

    also, I think elephants are brilliant! wise, dignified, regal, and just plain cool! ;) trying to run you down kinda increased my respect for them tenfold I think… :P

    hope you took plenty of pictures! :)

  3. November 2, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Ha ha ha… I think I prefer indi’s version!

  4. November 2, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    I was going to write exactly what Angel said! :)

  5. November 2, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    “We get to the place, it’s a beach. Meh.”

    U sounded a male blonde there. :P

  6. November 2, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    No way are you getting a part in a Jackie Chang movie…he would never ask the driver to slow down :P

    And elephants are adorable!!! You just have to stop moving and let His/Her Majesty pass, that’s all :D Although to be fair if you had done that, this post would be a lot less entertaining :D

  7. November 3, 2009 at 12:21 am

    You don’t know how to ride a bicycle??? :? Jerry, Jerry, Jerry… tsk tsk
    That’s strange, Pasikuda was awesome when I went there. Maybe it changed after the tsunami… You should’ve at least gone up to Pigeon Island then… The beach as I recall wasn’t as good as Pasikuda at the time but it’s a definite must see here in Sri Lanka.

    So dude, you were gone a whole week! Didn’t anything exciting happen besides the encounter with a moody elephant???

  8. 11 Anne
    November 3, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Hi Jerry,

    Neat adventure.

    I have been trying to string together all the posts from this trip to convince some of my friends about adding North East to their planned agenda. Would it be possible to have a single post that links up all others ? So far I have tracked down yours, Indi’s and Sinhalayatravels. Is that the entire lot ?

    This trip as far as I am aware is the first of its kind specially for those doing the gap year and who do not want to spend oodles of money backpacking through Asia.

    Unique as it does the North East on a shoe string and quite good to have the write ups to guide those whoc would follow in your foot steps.

    So is that the entire lot or have there been more entires ?

    • 12 Whacko
      November 3, 2009 at 9:56 am

      Sinhalaya travels will be covering the whole trip soon.. We’ll have about 2 or 3 more detailed posts up soon. stay tuned! and yes, this is something you should definitely do. And soon. the east is still wild country. probably the last of its kind in sri lanka.

  9. November 4, 2009 at 1:11 am

    Cool..cool adventure! I’m glad that the tent was ‘all the richer for seeing the entire east coast by the time it got back’ :D

    Awaiting to hear more about your journey..probably thro’ “Sinhalaya Travels”

  10. November 7, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Hah ha ha, LMAO! Great post Jerry. First I thought it was a dream, and then, you’ve dunnit! Well, good for you. ;)
    By the way, jungles of Ella? It’s just bush, no fruits – except for what’s sold by the roadside. Loved your post.

  11. November 12, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    @purple
    It’s a meh beach :P

    @PR
    We didn’t! We just went NEAR his path and the evil thing charged! :/

    @TP
    Lots happened! More posts to come, I guess :D
    And yeah, I think it’s changed after the tsunami…

    @Anne
    Like whacko said, there will be posts on ST very soon. The next one’s written, just getting the images in order.

    @Dee
    Hmmm?
    @KP

    Thank you for the tent again, though we didn’t get to use it :/
    Maybe next time!

    @SI
    Long time no see! WB! And yes, it was a fantastic trip. Go to sinhalayatravels.wordpress.com for more details :D

    @whacko
    Nah, just bored :D
    Post scheduled for tomorrow!


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