Skipping breakfast meant that our supplies of cashew and Chinese rolls have long been depleted. Thankfully at Haddamulla junction, 900m (so the sign said) short of Giriulla Junction, we discover the Wijewikrama Pastry Corner.
A clean place (even by Sri Lankan road side standards) for a spot of caffeine. Quiet prompt polite service. Their Kalu Do-dol is soft, firm, moist. NO dripping oiliness. Great accompaniment to our Nescafes brewed just right. The veranda bamboo blinds back lights Mrs C’s cute new hair style with a warm soft glow. I take an embarrassing number of photographs but stop short of the “aney” that can turn to a snarl. Cerno is a fast learner. The Wijewikrama Pastry Corner seems to have toilets but we didn’t check them out. If you do please let me know.
We get back into the chariot and a few minutes later voom through a bridge over some part of the Maha Oya river. The bridge puts us at a T junction with the B27 road. Make sure you turn right and flash through Giriulla town. If you turn left you’ll end up in Negambo.
Beyond Giriulla, the road is shockingly straight and feels autobahn smooth.
The usual congestion on the “main” roads seem like memories of another country. We share road with unhurried hand tractors and an occasional truck loaded with something agricultural. All of them get over taken effortlessly.
The road is flanked by lush paddy fields rolling into the near horizon of coconut trees. Pale blue hills in the distance perfect the landscape better than the most delicate water colour. A distinct contrast of the thick foliage of rubber and coconut plantations that the road tunnelled through up to Giriulla.
On our first trip the paddy is a rich saturated green. Left alone to the company of scarecrows. On the next journey we pass rippling fields of ripe gold. Dotted with the bright shirts of the harvesters. Punctuating the scenery are clusters of village shop fronts with rows of new motorcycles parked outside. The odd police stations we pass doesn’t have a sand bag insight. They sit quietly before well swept sand of parade grounds waiting for something to happen. At its edge a bare white flag pole with a red cement base. The road is free of uniforms, guns and checkpoints.
Periodically we pass through tunnels of shade cast by trees generously lining the road. Orange fractals of morning light splatter the tarmac through their leaves.
The architecture is utilitarian. However an eye for colonial architecture might spot one of those old houses rotting quietly in overgrown gardens. They seem to have fallen out of a Martin Wickramasinghe novel (like I visualised the old house in Gamperaliya I read in grade 6). The odd exceptions meticulously kept and painted as if it was built yesterday.
Kurunegala is a bitter pill after all that countryside. The whole point of reaching it is to leave as soon as possible. Mrs C has a dim view of the place after encountering a grubby toilet on a trip years ago. Every time we reach the town the streets are teaming with teenagers spewing forth from what looks like tuition classes. Then there’s the inevitable moment of confusion to find the junction to route A6.
Beyond is another journey, another post. Thank you for reading this far.