Our last days in Sri Lanka are spent at the airport beach side town of Negombo enjoying the beach and running away from the touts.
Instead of staying another night in Colombo, we decide to spend our last night in Negombo. It's closer to the airport and we might just find some different food than in the city.
The Paradise Hotel (or Guest House Paradiso as we quickly rename it) has probably seen better days but we love it's Benidorm charm.
The hotel is right on the beachfront, you can watch the fishing boats come in and the fishermen prepare their nets for the next day's catch. Or you can avoid the crowds of touts waiting at the beach entrance just itching to sell you watches, sarongs, hats or anything else they can carry. It's quite the challenge to avoid them, we resorted to screaming loudly and running away.
In the town itself, a short tuk tuk ride away. We have a feed at the St Joseph hotel just up from the main bus terminal.
No EGB, no food! The chocolate milk spins Shawn's tastebuds, it's the best he's ever had.
So we have...curry rice. A simple selection of okra, beetroot, dhal and coconut sambal.
Chicken biryani is a little less exciting, the dry chicken piece on top of colourful flavoured rice. We're starting to think for good biryani you need to find a specialist, like the one we saw in episode 3 of Peter Kuravita's My Sri Lanka. A good enough reason to go back to Kandy.
Roti Kotthu with chicken, a good version but we are still to find an ultimate.
We also tried the local watalappan and caramel pudding. Each watalappan was different, some darker with plums, others spicier.
Local fresh milk, a rarity in much of Asia.
Hoppers with two types of sambals, a wet onion one and a dry fish, chili and onion variety. The hoppers are taste like crumpets with crispy wings.
Just add a little (or a lot) of sambal as you desire, roll and munch.
There are loads of little hotels to try in the main town, far more food choices than besides the beach near the hotels.
The town is hard to pin down, it's a little more modern, not as busy as Colombo with wide streets and plenty of shops. It makes a good spot to start (or end) a trip to Sri Lanka.
More hotel choices, grab some jewellery after lunch too.
Finally we settle on the Negombo Cafe. At first we thought it was the choice for lovers but then realised that was the clothes store next door.
We were surprised to see both beef and pork at this hotel. We had hardly seen any red meat at all over the trip, it's easier to cater to most cultural groups if you avoid it.
A christian image above the door explains the non halal / hindi meatfest.
The selection of dishes is huge. We are instantly attracted to the coloured rice, we haven't seen that elsewhere around the country.
The biggest plate of deep fried chillis sits on the counter. These get salted and fried until crisp and make a great snack.
Even with meat on the menu, Alison still chooses fish. The red rice is labelled 'country rice' and gives a different flavour and visual appeal to the usual.
Shawn chooses chicken with the same mix of side dishes. The pappadums in many hotels are fried until they are deeply brown and super crispy, they bite down well with the fried chilli.
After lunch, we head back to the beach and meet the fearsome guardian of the hotel.
He promptly works out that Shawn's hat and post pool clothes make a fine little bed for a nanna nap.
The bottle shop. It took us the whole trip to get to one of these. The beer was a lot cheaper but we found it was available most places and always well priced so we usually didn't need to venture in. They are often called wine shops but mostly beer and spirits are sold.
Our last few hours in Sr Lanka we head back into the town for a final feed.
We liked the idea of getting in some drinks, woodapple was on the menu and we still hadn't tried it fresh.
Alas, they were all out. So we ordered dessert instead.
Wattalapan, oh how we miss you. We've found some in Homebush to ease the withdrawal.
Pink falooda drinks, one with fruit one plain. The pink syrup was really sweet, almost too much.
Our final food vision before leaving - a huge pile of curry leaves waiting to be added to everything.
After dinner we jumped on a bus marked 'Airport' thinking we were oh so very clever avoiding a taxi fare. It took us to the airport bus station which isn't actually in the airport, so we had to tuk tuk the last bit in. There wasn't a lot of food choices at the airport so we were glad we had eaten before we left. Most of the stores in there accepted US dollars, so if you need to exchange currency before you go through customs you'll be OK. It's probably a good idea to not have any Sri Lankan money left. Alison had a massage for US$10 while Shawn grabbed a coffee at a Coffee, Bean and Tea Leaf store which seem to be at every Asian airport.
We love Sri Lanka. Next stop Singapore.