The Lankan Journal: Mate Ganga One

Naturally, it is hard to find a country where Russians have not boozed and Lanka in this list is just to confirm – they really did. I understood that when the owner of the guest-house raised his glass, bought in the set with a liter of vodka, and, looking into my eyes, declared – Na zdorovye! (Prosit) Everything at once became simple and clear - our people, judy. As cautious and mature alcoholics, except of vodka and a glass, we brought some lard. We brought it as heavy smugglers, as we flew via England, where meat products are strictly forbidden to transit. We had even thoughts to put a sticker on a vacuum package labeled Cottage cheese 45%, but then we changed our mind. Having survived 2-day retention in different temperatures and heights, the lard was pathetically put on the table, together with real Latvian rye bread and a head of onion, found in the guest-house kitchen.

The effect of John Barleycorn was not long to wait, and the Lankans sitting with me at the table were fast taking the manners of close to our hearts country-mates. Fraternization, beating breast and other attributes were the integrate part of all in the scene. Generally speaking, I would say – cool! I liked it, we spoke heart-to-heart – they are our folks.

Today, two days after the mentioned above events, Sana comes up to me and says – what do you think if we knock a barbeque up for you for the dinner, outdoors, with candles, with Russian musical surround (ours, naturally) – well, I reply him: of course, let’s do it.

After coming back from another, unlucky by the way, trip for inspection of two more houses in Matara, we saw that the tables in the yard had been laid already and the chargrill had been fired, and coming close I could make certain once again that coco nuts in Lanka is a 100% recyclable product. The chargrill was fired with coco nuts halves, in 30 minutes coco nut shells got into perfect coals, which 2 aborigines overlaid with a grill and put on it a fair amount of foil pouches of different sizes and shapes. A bit aside from all this activities, on the grass, in the palms shadow, there was sitting Sana surrounded with locals and two German ladies. Without further ado, I “modestly” thrust myself into their society accompanied with a bottle of brewsky. I hardly could sit down, when Sana grabbed the bottle of arrack from the table and declared: “ I drank with you vodka and ate lard, now you drink with me beer with arrack!” Russians have been here not only once – I wandered for a moment. Trying to keep maximum diplomacy I managed to persuade my opponent that as I was pretty hungry then drinking boilermaker on an empty stomach would be too tough, even for my well trained liver. After 10 more minutes two Lankans, cooking barbeque, invited us for the dinner. Folllks – that was super, I declare. Battered chicken, pork in garlic dressing, garlic potatoes, shrimps, 2 huge whole fishes, all baked in foil. Light cabbage salad with some delicious greenery completed the variety of the courses. For the dessert we were treated with fruit salad of papaya, mango, bananas and pineapples, served with kato (kind of yogurt) and palm honey. My girls and children were ecstatic. The final touch was fireworks – hand-made in Sri-Lanka. It was awesome! 5 minutes later, smoking a cigar, we came to a conclusion together with the girls that Super Duper Ultra Mega all inclusive service smokes nervously comparing to such a dinner. You disbelieve, you shouldn’t! There is a small remark still that it smokes for those who respect such way of recreation. Much as I tried, pushing the keys of my note-book, I would not be able to describe the air, which kept reigning during all that time. All the locals, who we spent the dinner together, did not work, to be more exact, they worked in principal, not in fact. They, together with us enjoyed sincerely everything what was happening around us. They felt having a part and thanks to that the atmosphere was filled with joy and peace. Indeed, I do not have an opportunity to compare this with the rest on my own island, but to my opinion I can announce with all the responsibility – 5* hotels do not have this stuff. The have a stream of people, a conveyor. The only thing which I could feel sorry about was that I wished my friends, sitting in cold and raw Riga and Moscow, could share with me all what was happening around.

The children are put into beds, the evening is going on. By the way, from the very beginning of the dinner my i-pod took its place suitably near the audio system and during the whole dinner and till the very end of the evening, local population was submerging into light club mixes of the discotheque Moscow. I freely confess, it was pleasant that the locals and the German ladies saw the true value of the general mood of Russian tunes and said that “the music is really nice”. By the sank of the party I was sitting at the table in the company of my wife, her sister and Kissant, our local friend. Somehow insensibly our conversation turned to the theme of light drugs, marihuana in particular. I would like to notice that abuse of any drugs in Sri-Lanka is a subject of punishment, especially now, when the war with Tamils in the North of the country has finished, when the president has got time to take care of the nation’s health, not of the war, what, however, does not bother anyone and everyone to blow. During a short lecture I learned that in Lanka this product is called ganga, flowers. And the main phrase of tourists seeking for forbidden fruit is the title of this story, which could be translated as: give me some grass!

Why am I telling this? Certainly not to advertise drugs, I just want to show and to tell about simplicity and confidence of Lankans. I have set my heart upon this country and do not hide this. And I would like to share this with оthers, it is worse a thousand dollars.

Good night to you! To you personally, my reader, and to the whole island, where I am writing these lines.

Welladewala road, Unawatuna, Sri Lanka
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