We have the makings of a sit-com right here on Bentota Beach, on the South Coast of Sri Lanka.
I met a man at yoga early yesterday morning. He was with an elegant female friend and they were the earnest ones in the back row. I was the slightly shambolic late arrival in the front row, alone. Damn, the punishment of a late entry.
Born in Sri Lanka, with many years living in New Zealand before taking up residency in the UK, Andy was at the resort for a month, one week down. A return guest, he told me he’s been coming since 69 when it first opened. He comes for a month twice a year these days, to the same resort (and I hazard a guess at the same room) and this time he has a posy of British bridge players with him. They’re going to play bridge for a fortnight under the palm trees, with tables and straight backs and frightfully good manners and sensible summer frocks.
Turned out the lady friend lives around the corner from us in Auckland and had a pretty 14 year old daughter who was craving the company of someone her age.
Bye Mr Cody.
We joined Andy’s group for dinner, all pearls and insect repellant and beautiful bright British smiles. What a fabulous eccentric group, here to play cards in 32 degrees. The posh British accents jostled for pole position, but no one could compete with Andy, the star of the show, the court jester, the compere, the host, the translator, and the local. He’s probably Secretly Royal in England, but here he is so clearly King Andy. Long Live the King.
This is why I love to travel. Kindred spirits are attracted easily. Everyone has a vacancy for an adventure, a vacancy for a new friend, a new conversation, a memorable evening. The connections are strong but fleeting.
This morning we say goodbye to Bentota Beach, and King Andy, and the elegant lady from the neighborhood back home and the pretty fourteen year old and head back to Casa Colombo for a night.
I want to come back but I probably never will. Too many other countries yet to discover.
Bye Bentota Bridge Club. I know you have two weeks of competitive card playing ahead of you, but I reckon you’ve all already won.