Sri Lanka. Someday I must go back and experience it properly. I say this because when I visited in June, 2012, I spent much of my week there laid up in my hotel room at Gomez Place in Negombo, which is a beach town near the country's capital, Colombo. Fortunately, it was a very nice room.
Two friends and I had just been on a 10-day trip through Myanmar, finishing on 3 June, when we flew to Bangkok. They were then going on to the UK, and I was to fly to Sri Lanka on 5 June. In hindsight, the fact that one of my friends spent rather a long time in the loo at the Yangon airport was an ill omen. As for me, I began to feel queasy on the afternoon of 4 June while watching a movie in the cineplex at The Emporium on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok. By the evening, I had a full-fledged case of what I thought was diarrhoea. I was able to drag myself to the airport the next morning and board the plane. I think I only survived the flight to Colombo by declining the meal and ingesting nothing but water.
Fortunately, the trip from the airport to Gomez Place took only about 20 minutes. I collapsed into bed as soon as I checked in. Below is a view of the bed before I fell into it.
Note the French doors to the bathroom, which was a semi-outdoor space. The part that you can see in the photo was roofed, but then there was another part, pictured below, that was under the open air.
Apologies for the blurriness. It was raining at the time. I had ample opportunity to study this view because I hardly left the room during the first 3 days of my stay. It turned out that my friends and I had contracted shigellosis, a nasty bug that's like diarrhoea, but can go on for weeks. They were informed by an NHS doctor that there was medication for it, but the possible side effects included...diarrhoea. I decided just to wait it out.
Here's a view of the bedroom from the bathroom, another view I contemplated at length.
I passed the time between potty episodes reading dog-eared editions of the first 2 novels in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, the basis for HBO's Game of Thrones series, which I found on the hotel's bookshelf. Some previous guest must have left them.
Now, a word about this hotel. Gomez Place is owned and managed by the personable Selvaraj Gomez. I didn't ask, but I assume his surname indicates some Portuguese ancestry. It's a boutique property with just 16 rooms over 2 floors, according to the website. I think some must have been added since I was there. Looking at the website's gallery, it seems that a dining pavilion has been added and that the pool area has been spruced up -- not that it needed it. The photo below shows how it looked in 2012.
By the fourth day, I felt well enough to take a dip. I also felt well enough to venture to the beach, which was only about 100 metres away. I didn't stay long, though, nor did I return, because there didn't appear to be any loos, and I didn't want to be too far from one. I should mention that Mr. Gomez offered to send for a doctor, but I declined. As if to make up for the fact that the property is not water-front, the grounds are green and lush, as you can see below.
By the fifth day, I was brave enough to have the ample cooked breakfast that was included in the room rate. I was starving, of course, because I'd been fasting in an effort to cut down on potty time. Needless to say, the hearty fare started the cycle over again...
A local friend whom I knew from Seoul turned up the next day to take me on a whirlwind tour to Galle, Nuwara Eliya, and Kandy in a borrowed vehicle. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka is truly stunning, but I simply wasn't feeling well enough to truly enjoy it, hence my desire to go back and do it over again.
The last couple of days of my trip were spent quietly back at Gomez Place. I was finally able to go out for dinner without awful consequences on my last 2 nights. I highly recommend Lord's restaurant and bar on Negombo's main drag.
Full disclosure: Gomez Place caters to a clientele of mainly gay men, most of them from western Europe. That said, my friend Wendy was welcomed warmly when she stayed a year or two later. She saw far more of the country than I did, and she told me that staying at Gomez Place was one of the highlights of her trip.
For all the details about the hotel, including rates and booking, you can visit its website:
And what of the shigellosis? I was functional by the time I got on the plane back to Bangkok, but I didn't feel completely back to normal for another 2 weeks. The good news is that I'm now immune to that strain of the virus. I devoutly hope that I never encounter any other strain of it!
Did you know that Lotus & Persimmon is on both Facebook and Instagram? Please 'like,' follow, and share.