Kirinda is the penultimate stop on this tour: a small fishing harbour (funded by Japan), and a one horse street. I came across it bumbling along the coast road and being denied entry into Yala national park. After recent encounters with a cobra, monitor lizards and elephants it’s probably a good idea to restrict entry to reinforced jeeps. But though the wildlife there is meant to be extraordinary, I didn’t feel inclined to go chasing the animals about.
So after a long day’s ride, I turned around and followed the coast road, hoping to find a way to the beach I was glimpsing through breaks in the coconut palms and salt pans. Ironically, after 20 klicks I found myself the centre of attention. Coming into Kirinda I was spotted and duly corralled into a small guesthouse that hadn’t seen a westerner in two years.
I don’t know what to write about the three days I spent there; suffice to say I fixed the gas hob with the owner’s teenage son and listed the place on Hotels.com, familiar stuff. I also fantasised about making it a more permanent base, but not for long.
Kirinda has the kind of beach depicted on the cover of holiday brochures: golden sand, marked only by paw prints and giant weatherworn boulders nestling rock pools away from the surf.
A few pleasant days spent out the saddle as a lone, languid, tea drinking guest. A breakwater between the road and a meditation retreat.