Sri Lanka Through the Eyes of Mitch’s iPhone

I was going through the pictures on my iPhone the other day, and found a few candid shots I took while we were in Sri Lanka. They are nothing special, just a few little tidbits I captured during our trip. Enjoy!

This is called a tuk tuk.  There are millions of these little micro-tricycles all around Sri Lanka. Since gas is so expensive, they are the most popular form of transportation in the country (2nd is a moped). They operate on a little 50cc engine and get good gas mileage. We rode these all over place and they are super cheap! A 5 minute ride would cost about $0.50.  The fun thing about them . . . . each one is personally decorated by the owner! There was a variety of colors, advertisements, posters, sound systems, etc. I would always pick the “coolest” looking one before we would hop in with the driver.


Check out all the chrome man!

In Sri Lanka, they drive on the left hand side of the road.  It is always a little weird getting used to at first, but luckily we didn’t do the driving.


The view from the back seat of a tuk tuk.

This was the sound system in one of the tuk tuks we rode in.  The driver was about 20 years old, and OBSESSED with Tupac! He decorated his entire tuk tuk in memory of him. There were posters, paintings, stickers, and all kinds of other stuff. Being Mr. Obvious that I am, I asked him, “Do you Tupac?” He smiled and responded, “You like?” After I nodded “yes,” he pumped up the sound system and we listened to “California Love” bumping through the speakers for the rest of our ride!


Rachel jammin’ out to 2Pac!

This was the main road through the town of Unawatuna.  It is about the width of an alley back in the States. When a car would come down the street, everyone would have to pack to one side of the street so that it could pass. This is also a good view of all the tuk tuks lined along the roads.


Beep Beep

Here is a cool panorama picture I took at Jungle Beach.  It is located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, about a 15 minute tuk tuk ride from Unawatuna.  You have to hike down a dirt path for about 15 minutes to reach the beach.  It was a super nice beach, and very quiet compared to Unawatuna Beach.


Jungle Beach

This sign was posted outside a small surfer bar in Unawatuna called Koha Surf Cafe & Lounge.  It was one of my favorite places, because they didn’t have any tables to sit at. Instead you took your shoes off, and climbed into like a king sized bed. There tons of cushions and pillows, and you just made yourself comfy there. A super hippy place, just how I like it!  I took advantage of the “free smiles” but didn’t want a hug.


Free hugs & free smiles!

These little rigs were all over the streets and highways in Sri Lanka! they basically took the front end of a large garden tiller, put bigger tires on it, and attached a homemade trailer to ride around in.  I think they did it because it is so much cheaper to operate that little gas engine, rather than buying a pickup truck.


Weirdest invention ever!

I know it’s 2015, and there is free wifi virtually EVERYWHERE . . . . . however I still get pumped when a place offers it.  I usually keep my excitement to myself.  However one night when we were looking for a place to chill at, I blurted out, “let’s go here, there’s free wifi!”  Rachel and our friends gave me a look of, “really dude? You get that excited over free wifi?”  Of course, from that point forward, it became the joke of our trip every time we saw another sign advertising free wifi!


Woohoo, free wi-fi!

One of our favorite things about Sri Lanka was all of the fresh seafood!  Just about everyday for dinner, one of us was enjoying a plate full of fresh (and cheap) seafood.  All along the southern coast of the country, you would see these little fish stands on the side of the road.  The fisherman would literally park their boat on the beach, and unload their daily catch at their stand.


My favorite was the fresh tuna!

During our time in Unawatuna, we had a chef come to our chalet to make us breakfast.  Everyday he said we were going to have sausage.  We quickly realized that the word “sausage” in Sri Lanka was not the greasy, fatty, pork that we so desired.  Instead it was a grilled Oscar Meyer hot dog that tasted like it was grilled the night before, then microwaved before breakfast.  Yuck!


WAIT!!!! That’s a hotdog, not sausage!

There was so many fruit stands along the roadways too!  There were so many different kinds of exotic fresh fruit you could buy for a couple of nickels.  Our favorites were the mangos, papaya, bananas, coconuts, passion fruit, and pineapple.


There was so much fresh fruit!

Our favorite place in Unawatuna was the Kingfisher Hotel & Restaurant.  They had the best food, best service, and was just a super nice place.  One night we were all sitting on the beach for dinner, when Rachel excused herself to the bathroom.  Moments later she returned with a look of disblief on her face!  She stumbled for the proper words to describe what she had just encountered . . . . a dog in the women’s bathroom!  Apparently, she opened the door and started walking into the dark bathroom when she heard a dog growling. She JUMPED back, turned my iPhone’s flashlight on, and realized there was a dog snuggling up to the toilet!  So she did what any tourist would do . . . . SHE TOOK A PICTURE!  (then used the men’s restroom).


That dog must have had too many Lion Lagers the night before. He was snuggled up to the toilet all night!

Christmas 2014 in Sri Lanka

We spent Christmas 2014 in the small surf town of Mirissa, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.  We knew it could be tough emotionally being without our families on Christmas, so we made sure we booked a nice resort on the beach to spend our holiday.  Unfortunately though, it rained for 2 straight days leading up to Christmas, and all day on Christmas Day!

We started our day by calling our families back home on FaceTime.  However with the thunderstorms in the area, our internet connection was pretty spotty.  We were at least able to reach them, and wish them a quick holiday greeting before we lost connection.

Although we couldn’t spend the holiday relaxing on the beach because of the weather, we decided to make the most of our day anyway. We headed to the beach and found a couple of nice little bar/restaurants where we got comfy.  We had a couple of drinks, played some cards, had lunch, and just kind of chilled out for the day.

This was our Christmas tree this year:


Our 2014 Christmas Tree!

We didn’t set up a tree at home this year, so we decided to adopt this tree we found along the beach in Mirissa.  One of the bars set it up, and even decorated it with ornaments, garland, and Christmas lights!

At one of the bars we stopped at, we found this very festive family.  We decided next year that we are going to pack Santa hats and wear them next year on Christmas Day! . . . . . . . NOT!


Sweet hats eh?

Perhaps the toughest part of the day, was when we learned of the passing of Rachel’s Uncle Walter.  It definitely made being away from family on the holidays a bit tougher.  We knew that when we decided to move overseas, things like this could happen. However it didn’t make it any easier when we heard the news.  We did the only thing we could, we raised our glasses and cheersed to the great life he had.


Throughout the day it continued to downpour.  In the early evening, we finally said, “screw it!”  We changed our clothes and headed straight for the ocean. The water was actually warmer than the rain, and we had a ton of fun swimming in the downpour rain and massive waves!

The following day, the sun came back out, and shined down on us for the next two weeks of our holiday. I think it was Uncle Walter’s first act of kindness in heaven!

Mitch’s Monday Happy Hour – January 5

Greetings everyone, and Happy New Year!  Welcome back to our weekly Happy Hour.  I apologize to everyone for missing last week’s Happy Hour (Sorry Mrs. P!) but as the great Zac Brown Band once said, “I had my toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, and a cold beer in hand!”  (if you don’t know the song, check it out here) But I’m back now!

We made it home to Kuwait on Saturday, so this week’s Happy Hour is taking place in the confines of our living room while sipping on water! (boooo, no more booze!)  I’m still bummed that we can’t have booze in Kuwait, however I can still hear my liver cheering as he slowly recovers from my 17 day bender while on vacation.  Here’s the recap of our lives:


My first taste of water in 17 days, trying to cleanse my body from all of the beer and rum in my system.

  • Our vacation was absolutely fantastic!  We had a ton of fun exploring around Sri Lanka and enjoying some chill days at the beach too.  It was the longest vacation I had ever been on, yet it was still difficult to come home.  We were having so much fun, that I just didn’t want it to end.  We made it back late Saturday night, and had the day off on Sunday to start the long process of laundry, unpacking, grocery shopping, and all of that other fun stuff!  We have so many awesome pictures and stories to share with everyone, so we are going to try to post some over the next couple of weeks.
  • When I woke up on Sunday morning, I headed straight to the kitchen in search of some food for breakfast. Unfortunately all I could find though was chips & salsa, a box of teddy grahams, and a bag of croutons.  I contemplated throwing together a quick hot dish, when our good friend sent us a text message and invited us over for breakfast!  I was so pumped that I practically sprinted to her house, and was greeted with scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, coffee and juice.  It was so good, however the best part was the company! We were once again reunited with our friends, and couldn’t wait to hear about everyone’s trips.  There were 7 of us total, who had just returned from our vacations to Sri Lanka, Japan, Morocco, Thailand, Maldives, and Minnesota!  It was a blast hearing about everyone’s travel experiences and reconnecting with our “Kuwaiti family!”
  • Upon our return to Kuwait, it was a bit like Christmas morning for Rachel.  One of our buddies who went home for the holidays, brought all kinds of stuff back for her.  She has been cruising Amazon & the last couple of months, buying a bunch of hair products that she can’t find here.  She had them shipped to his house, and he was so kind to toss them in his luggage and bring them back for her.  You know you’re getting old when you get excited for shampoo, conditioner, and hair spray for Christmas!
  • During breakfast today I was cruising through the news feed on my Facebook page, when I read some awesome news.  One of my former employees, who worked during the summers for me for a few years, posted that he was leaving Minnesota this week and moving to Spain for the next 5 months. I think my face literally lit up, I fist pumped a few times, and felt a small sense of pride.  Last summer when I informed my job that I was leaving and moving overseas, he was super intrigued about the idea and mentioned that he had a desire to maybe try something like that one day. I tried to encourage him as much possible, but lost contact with him until I saw his Facebook post. I know he reads our blog, so when you see this bud, I’m proud of you!  Your upcoming adventure is something you will never regret, and cherish for the rest of your life!

Cheers for now, we’ll catch ya next week!

Mitch’s Monday Happy Hour – December 22

At Happy Hour this week, we are meeting on the beach of Unawatuna on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.  As I type this, my toes are buried in the sand of one of the coolest beaches i’ve ever been too.  The best part though . . . .I’m actually drinking a beer!


Yummmmm! Ice . . . . cold . . . . beer!

For the first time since we’ve started meeting for our weekly Happy Hours, I’m sipping on a frosty mug of Lion Lager.  It’s Sri Lanka’s #1 beer and brewed locally here on the island.  A bottle costs about 200 Sri Lankan Rupees (equivalent to $1.50 in the US).  It’s a great beer, and so awesome to be able to walk into a bar and have a few drinks.

The last week has been busy for us, as we wrapped up things at school before our 2 1/2 week Christmas break, and traveling to Sri Lanka for the first leg of our holiday.  Here’s a few things from the past week:

  • School this week has been a ton of fun!  At our school, we openly celebrate Christmas and everything associated with it.    We were excited that our school celebrates it, because they truly made it feel like the holidays around here.  They had a huge Christmas tree in the school office, we sang Christmas songs in class, made crafts of Santa Claus and lots of other things to remind us that it was Christmas time.  The best part was at a school assembly on the last day of school before the break.  The entire elementary school (about 1,000 kids and faculty) all sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to start the day.  It gave me goosebumps and was so festive!
  • Christmas is a season full of miracles, and one of them happened while I was packing my back for our vacation.  As much as it upsets Rachel (now) and my family (when I was a kid), I have always been known to start packing my bag the day we leave for our trip.  Sometimes it can be a bit stressful, but I always seem to complete the task and haven’t missed a flight yet because of it.  Well this week, much to the surprise of my wife, I started packing my bag the day BEFORE our trip!  When she saw me stuffing t-shirts and board shorts into my bag 32 hours before our flight, she nearly fell to the floor.  I didn’t complete the job until the next day, about an hour before we left for the airport, but I thought it was a pretty big deal that I started packing so early.
  • We arrived in Sri Lanka on Friday morning, and have are having an awesome time!  We are currently in the town of Unawatuna, which is a super chill beach town.  The beaches are incredible, the beer is cold, and the atmosphere is just what we needed to start the first leg of our Christmas break vacation.  We’ve already had so many cool experiences in just the first few days here, and we can’t wait to share them with everyone.  Stay tuned over the next few days/weeks as we share our stories with you.