We had decided to return to Unawatuna for a few days; we had plenty of time left before we were due to fly back to Delhi, and a little more beach time seemed in order. We called the Thambapanni Retreat to book a room, but found all the rooms completely spoken for. No worry, Sana, the owner of the View Point Villas, outside of Ella, also owns a guesthouse in Unawatuna so we decided to give it a try. We knew the standard he provides his guests and felt we would be happy at the Black Beauty Guesthouse.
We found that there was only one other couple staying at the Black Beauty and we had been given adjacent rooms on the second floor. The room was fine, a little smaller than we are used to having, but there was air-conditioning and that is a must in the humid air of the south coast. We were very surprised to learn that there was no hot water, but then again, the Black Beauty is listed in the ‘budget’ category in the Lonely Planet.
We did absolutely nothing but visit the friends we had made in Unawatuna, walk the beach and eat wonderful Sri Lankan food. It was very relaxing. Oh, I forgot one thing; I did manage to get Anil to come to the ‘Sanctuary’, a lovely Ayurvedic spa, one that Adia and I had gone to when we were in Unawatuna at Christmas time. I managed to convince him to go for the ‘full treatment’ that included a one-hour massage, a shirodara hot oil head massage and an herbal steam bath.
He wasn’t too sure about the herbal steam bath, especially after I described the coffin-like wooden chest that you are placed in, with only your head sticking out. I well-remembered feeling very claustrophobic in it, but after I talked myself down from the initial panic, I really enjoyed the fragrant warmth seeping into the oils that had been administered during the massage. I had first heard about the hot oil head massage from our friend Wynne Blades.
She had the treatment in India a few years ago and said she had slept for 16 hours afterwards, waking up completely rested after a long flight from Canada. The warm oil is placed in an earthen container and it is suspended above your head as you lay on the massage table. A stopper is removed and the oil flows in a small stream onto your forehead. The masseuse then starts the container swinging from side to side across the width of your forehead. It’s hard to describe the feeling of relaxation that accompanies the gentle caress of the oil as it flows into your hair and down the side of your temples, to be collected in a wooden bowl. Heaven!
To tell the truth, I wasn’t up for another ‘full treatment’, so while Anil was occupied in one of the open-air rooms, I arranged to have a two-hour massage in another. We had made our appointment for 4pm so that dusk would be setting in when we were finished, but mid-way through our treatments, a massive thunderstorm struck and the skies opened up with heavy rain. I have never heard thunder like we heard that evening; several times it startled me so much that I practically jumped off the massage table. The massage was wonderful, but it would be hard to describe myself as relaxed at the end of it all.
We ran through the rain to the reception ‘hut’ and were given huge King coconuts to sip before we hailed a tuk tuk and scurried through the rain back to our guesthouse. We were so happy; they served terrific rice and curry and we could eat in without having to head out into the storm.
After three nights at Black Beauty, we headed north once again, back to Negombo to wind up our stay at the Villa Aralyia once again. It was great to be welcomed back to places where we had met great people and made some simple friendships. As you can see, our last two weeks in Sri Lanka were spent visiting the places we had enjoyed the most, ensuring that our memories of this island paradise were the best possible.