Once we are back in Trinco, we sit around for dinner discussing our plans for the next day. In the meantime, catching bits and pieces of a ‘Man U vs Liverpool’ match. The dying minutes of the game and one of the guys decides he’s had enough and switches to Bollywood videos. Sri Lankans love Bollywood. They swear by it. They’ve got the latest tunes on their phones and many can be found singing them too. And believe me, they even get the lyrics and pronunciations right. Hats off to them.
After discussing various inane topics, we let our yawns out and head to sleep. It’s going to be a nice day when we wake up. At least that’s what my trusted Lonely Planet promises. It’s never let me down.
Breakfast time and we have a guest. A young SL Army Major. He’s the one who identified the needy village and gave us the opportunity to help them. He offers to join us to Koneshwaram Kovil, a Hindu temple perched atop the Swami Rock, a 130m high cliff with breathtaking views of the sea. White sand, blue sky, pristine white clouds, crystal clear aquamarine sea, and the hymns through the loudspeaker: it’s all so magical.
The oft talked about Lover’s Leap is nearby. The label comes from a story of a Dutch Official’s daughter who, watching her fiancé sail away, decided to make the fatal leap.
People say death is guaranteed if you fall off that point. Either the landing kills you or the electric eels devour you. You choose your manner of death. So much for love!
I walk over, look down and see a school of fish, glistening through the water.
There are some people breaking coconuts as an offering. Behind them is a tree decorated with offerings: colored little pieces of cloth and miniature wooden cradles. Next to it is a lamp with lit camphor cubes. I sit down. Looking down, I see a fisherman in his bright colored fishing boat paddling his way towards the cliff. He takes something out of a bag and throws it at the base of the cliff. It’s a coconut! Talk about religious zeal.
The Army Major takes us to the SL Army Officers’ Mess at Fort Frederick.. There’s a whole wall documenting the history of how the Fort had been taken over by various European colonizers. In fact the Lonely Planet says “Trinco has the most convoluted colonial history”. The Officer’s Mess resembles a mini museum with all its prized possessions.
The Major points out the Trincomalee Harbor, considered Asia’s best natural deep harbor. It holds the capacity to conceal some 300 ships. Besides that it was a strategic location for various colonizers. Explains the ‘convoluted history’!
We walk out towards the beach and see a sign saying “For Officers only” and the Major says “Go ahead and soak yourselves up in the sea.”
The water is so clear that even without any snorkeling gear; Ralph spots a sting ray around him.
I make way to the water and soak up the sun, sand and the sea. Head above the turquoise water, feet sunk in the grainy white sand, I look around at all the natural splendor Trinco is blessed with and ponder “I wish everyone without thinking twice, could head to Trinco and enjoy ‘HEAVEN on earth’!”