First… everything… in our humble abode, in Dalawella, Sri Lanka

This past week was a week of firsts… our first night in our new home, our first animal sightings, first morning walk, and of course our first time to try out the bath tub.

So before we normalize into our new lives, it is important for us to chronicle these “firsts”.

Our first peek at the infamous industrial sewer pipe bathtub…

img_8385

Climb on in. Test out the size. Plenty space and nice and long for tall people.  How cool is our new orange bathtub?!

img_8405

And yay, look at that ~ it works! We have a tub to soak in, outside AND it has hot water to boot. (After a few tweaks to the plumbing system…) Looking rather bare of course, but in due time, there will be some first plantings. The view while lying in the tub is rather incredible of course, looking up into the tall tree tops and at night, there is the added drama of the moon and the stars.

First walk on the straw flooring

The straw mat floor solution ~ worked out perfectly. The floor is soft to the touch and to the feet, just like a tatami mat floor. There is a layer of rubber between the cement and the straw mats. Totally comfy.

img_8505

First lanterns….. up!

img_8144

Inside those boxes are Ben’s (fragile) ceramic lanterns that he sculpted in Hoi An.  Did they survive the journey? (From Viet Nam to Kuala Lumpur to Dallawale).

img_8145

“Glass half full, half empty” scenario ~ half of the ceramic lanterns are fine, and half are broken. Pretty much the ratio we expected…. So we end up with 7 very unique lanterns for the house.

img_8146

The ones that DID make it though, look GREAT! We have two outside the front door, one in the living room and enough for the entire bathroom garden.

img_8497 img_8496

 

 

 

 

 

 

First fruit

After living for a month in Hoi An, Viet Nam with a world class fruit and veg market just minutes from our doorstep, we were a tad apprehensive about our adjustment to what the fruit and veg food source might be like in South Sri Lanka. We needn’t have worried…. all is well. Plenty of fresh fruit available everywhere.

img_8149

Mango and lemon bananas. Both super sweet. Score! The fruit stands are plentiful ~ papaya, pineapple, mangoes, passion fruit, watermelon, 2 types of bananas, coconuts……

First walk in the neighborhood

We wake up in our new nest and the view from our bedroom is really spectacular. Lush green jungle and palm tree trunks. The first thing we do, is go for a walk to explore a bit and get the feel of our new “neighborhood”.

What will we see? How does it feel? What is around us?

img_8432

The main bedroom (created out of 2 rooms by knocking out a wall), now has 2 French doors which open up to a rich eco system right outside our doors. This is the view from our bed.

img_8433

Take a few steps outside ….. I have dreamt of being surrounded by nature and now here it is. Fresh air, the sounds of life at night ( such as crickets and frogs) and the sounds of a variety of birds in the morning and towards end of day.

img_8273Right next to our house on one side is a mini jungle and then a clearing, shown here, where the little roadway is flanked by rice paddies on either side.

img_8247

The paddy fields are right at the start of a new rice planting cycle. A few farmers are just starting to plough them. We are pretty pleased with the fact that these fields are frequented by cattle egret and a few grey herons and we have our own bird park around the corner. The egrets flock in large numbers when the fields are wet and even more so when the ground gets tilled,  which reveals easy access to their food source.

220px-cattle_egret

A Sri Lankan white cattle egret, with its creamy chest and head plumage.

img_8299

A group of neighborhood teenage boys chilling on the side of the roadway with their bicycles.

First rains

It is monsoon season in Sri Lanka.

A few days after we arrive, the rain starts. There is a steady hard rain all night long, and then an on and off flow for days. It rains hard. The rain is warm and noisy.

Our roof leaks. A lot. Not “a lot” in anyone one place, but rather consistently all over. Drops into the bedrooms, the living room, the kitchen. It is like sleeping with someone spraying a light mist of fresh water, on and off. At some point we will have to do something about it, but for right now, it is not a priority (strangely enough.)

The rice fields that are around the corner from our house, turn into lakes overnight.

img_8362

Flooded rice paddy.

img_8363

Hard to believe this is a rice field and not a lake. After the rain ceases, it takes a day for the rice field to drain.

img_8374

A rainy sky of slate blue gray over the Indian Ocean ~ 10 minute motor bike ride away from our house. We sit at a cafe, with our feet up and enjoy the cloud formations, colors and sounds of the waves. Sri Lanka in the rainy season has its own beauty.

First animal sightings

If you know us or read us, you know how much animals are part of our lives and we really enjoy living in places where we can interact with animals on a regular basis.

img_8166

We are super surprised to see this guy crossing the pathway, just around the corner from our house. Monitor lizard is the common name of several large lizard species ~ a total of 79 species. They have long necks, powerful tails and claws and the species CAN be as long as ten feet (in the case of the Komodor dragon, in Indonesia.) This Sri Lankan lizard was about 3 feet long. Plenty long! (Peta). Ben however is quite the fan of this creature.

Over the first few days, we hear the unmistakable roar of monkeys nearby. It takes about a week before we actually see them ~ in the trees right outside our front door, checking us out as much as we are them! The group of Grey Langurs that visits has about 4 adults, and one baby clinging on for dear life as her mom swings from branch to branch. (They are definitely larger and noisier than Nicaraguan monkeys.)

Black faced and about 2 ft large, the Gray Langur species’ habitat stretches from the Himalayas in the North to Sri Lanka in the South and from Bangladesh in the East to Pakistan in the West.

Northern Plains Gray Langur, Semnopithecus entellus, Sri Lanka, Asia

Northern Plains Gray Langur, Semnopithecus entellus, Sri Lanka, Asia. (Photo credit unknown)

img_8503

We have also spotted a few wild peacocks, walking majestically with their bright blue chests through the rice paddy, taking flight onto the branches of nearby palm trees. We hear them every now and again, from our bedroom, in amongst the regular bird calls. (Photo credit unknown)

img_8169

There always seem to be at least a few cows either roaming around the rice paddy area or tied with a rope on the side of the street path.

img_8451

One morning this shiny black calf casually walked past our front door…. Here he is in the jungle area on the one side of our house. The neighboring area is a combination of patches of jungle and patches of agriculture, with houses along the side of the street way.

img_8289

Meeting a kitty and her owners along one of our walks.

img_8309

Goats roaming next to fishing boats, on the side of the main road that goes to Fort Galle, from our house. Of course, we have to stop to say hi. “Can we have a goat?”

First yoga class at yoga shala

We found the yoga shala before we found the house.

On our trip here in January we were on the lookout for what area we might enjoy living in. Colombo the capital city was not an option for us, even though that is where most of Ben’s business meetings take place. We decided to scout out the Southern coastal tip ~ close enough to Colombo to get there in a couple of hours but far enough to have tranquility and space.

img_8256

The setting of this 1 year old Sri Yoga Shala is so spectacular and the vibe so amazing, that we decided this would be the perfect area to find a house for us to rent for our move to Sri Lanka.

img_8254

Right next to the yoga space is a stunning infinity SALT water pool. Having a uniquely beautiful yoga space AND a pool, within minutes from our house, is quite the treat!

First markets

We both love the vibrancy of food markets. No matter where we are in the world, this is often the first place we go to. Asian markets have not only the buzz of markets, but as well, we usually encounter new fruits and new vegetables that we might not have seen or tried before.

Markets are also the center of commerce at its most authentic. They are great for people watching and for easy first interactions with locals, no matter where we are.

img_8162

Piles of vegetables, such as these baby aubergine, are stacked up at neighborhood markets.

img_8161

Bright lime green peppers, leafy leeks contrast against the earth colored sarong of the shop keeper. The colors of Sri Lanka permeate the market.

img_8160

A vegetable store window reflects a section of the street above the stored yellow gas tanks.

img_8158

Note the Sinhalese language, below the veggies, all curvy and rather unique looking. We have zero understanding of how this language works, as of right now.

img_8155

A man carrying his daughter in one arm and selecting vegetables for the family dinner.

img_8346

Galle has a covered central market for vegetables ~ often arranged in upward slopes of squares creating a patchwork effect of colors.

img_8355

Have no idea (yet) what those long thing green vegetables are. Anyone recognize them? Some kind of okra maybe?

img_8356

Banana flower, like in Viet Nam, is part of Sri Lankan cuisine. (On the left, those dark purple tear dropped thingies.)

img_8358

OK. We have a pot, a pan and now we have vegetables. We are on a roll…. we can have our first home cooked meal in our house.

Our first antique exploration 

The bathroom is nearing completion and we need a basin.

Hmmm, what can we find that is not conventional, yet aesthetic? We start a fun search each day en route to the beach or the market. There are a few interesting small shops and workshops lining the main road to Galle. At an antique store we find an old narrow door that we think will work perfectly as a counter top for a basin.

 

img_8238

The antique store is full of treasures, but the trick is to find the “undiscovered” ones that aren’t seen as treasures to the owner and are therefore less expensive.

img_8233

After we settle on the concept of an old door as a counter top for the basin, we head to the industrial sewer pipe place and there we find a concrete mould that we think will make a perfect basin!

img_8235

This is one of those times when a tuk tuk is definitely easier than a motorbike. Door strapped on the top, basin in hand, we are ready to head back to the house with our finds….

img_8241

Sanding down the old door to get rid of peeling paint and create a smoother surface before the door gets varnished (for protection from the rain.)

fullsizerender-88

Ta da.. .and here it is. The basin and counter top in the garden bathroom.

img_8514

 

First visit to a nursery

When we lived in Nicaragua, I (Peta) created two lovely gardens, one for our house and the other for our bamboo showcase house for our bamboo business. Both were created in areas where there really was nothing other than rubble. The process of creating a small garden is something I really enjoy and given that Sri Lanka has a tropical climate much like Nicaragua, it should not take too long before a garden gets “established”.

img_8176

We had this exact tree with huge fluffy white flowers, outside our bedroom in Granada, Nicaragua. It brings back good memories and we buy another to plant in this home too.

img_8186

We are looking for fruit trees, fragrant and flowering bushes and creepers. What fun! Ben fancies this orange hibiscus.

img_8181

img_8423

Creating brick pathways in the garden. Yellow brick road leads to … the yellow bath tub.

img_8428

First plants are in… will take a while for them to grow into their new home, but it’s a start. The bricks will be partially sunken in the ground.

img_8437

The bath is definitely big enough for two!

First motorbike ride to Galle

img_8300

This is the main road from the Dawalawe/Unuwatuna area where we live, towards the historic town of Fort Galle (15 minutes). The road hugs the Indian ocean almost the whole way.

img_8306

As we get closer to Fort Galle, we pass by the fishermen’s beach. At sundown one can watch as the fishermen pull the boats in after a day’s work in the ocean.

img_8342About 70% of Sri Lanka’s population is Buddhist. (The rest are 12% Hindus, 10% Muslim, 7% Christians and now, 2 Jews). Here a large Buddha sculpture outside a temple, is in the middle of the main shopping area in Galle.

img_0261-3

The UNESCO world heritage site of Fort Galle, is just a 15 minute motorbike ride from our house.

img_0272

The Portuguese-built ramparts are 500 years old. They served to protect the historic city very well during the devastating 2005 tsunami.

fullsizerender-89

This beautiful wooden Buddha made its way into our home, courtesy of the spice man at the market. A buddhist welcome to our new life in Sri Lanka.

82 thoughts on “First… everything… in our humble abode, in Dalawella, Sri Lanka

  1. Kim Sisto Robinson

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, a bathtub made for two.
    Exquisite.
    It’s all coming together beautifully.
    And the ANIMALS.
    The lizard! Oh, My!
    Kitty cats. ( never get tired of Kitty cats )
    Monkeys? You mean to tell me they are all wild?!
    Peacocks. WHAT?
    HEAVENLY.
    Your life is FABULOUS and Meaningful! xx

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thank you Kim for all the lovely compliments, you certainly made us both smile.

      Yes, wild monkeys. The best kind of course. (Monkeys in captivity are never a happy situation). Since we first saw them outside the front door we have now had sightings of them, and them of us, in the trees above the bathroom garden! We are enjoying watching them leap from tree to tree.

      Wild peacocks are the national bird of Sri Lanka. Of course it makes sense that peacocks are native to “somewhere” ~ we never realized that Sri Lanka is one of the places they originate from. The sound they make sounds like a high pitched loud cat meowing. Quite strange until you realize what it is.

      Ben & Peta

  2. lexklein

    I hope to be the first commenter on your first … week?? You did more in a week that some people do in a month!

    It is so much fun to follow your progress and to watch your life there take shape. It all looks fabulous, with one exception. I like animals, but I think I would die knowing those monitor lizards were anywhere nearby. They 100% completely freak me out – always have. Shudder!

    Your ingenuity, curiosity, and optimism know no bounds; you challenge me to think bigger and broader with each and every post.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Lex,it has definitely been a super busy first week, just trying to get the basics in place for comfort and a feeling of being at home. We are definitely the type that prefer to get things done and have a decent level of stamina. Ben has an exceptional level of stamina, which is very helpful in life in general and particularly when adjusting to a new country. What is funny is that while the house tasks are visible, we are tackling professional activities as we start up a few initiatives …. but not ready for sharing yet.

      I have to agree that when I saw that large dinosaur like looking reptile I definitely was freaked out. Luckily both Ben and our friend Brook seem to think he was rather endearing and were able to somewhat change my perception. They seem convinced that these lizards are harmless to humans and I certainly hope that they are correct. I guess I should research that!

      Love that we provide not only entertainment but also inspiration to think “bolder and broader”. We are both strategically optimistic and overall positive, which enables us to make big life moves without fretting too much.

      Peta

  3. Liesbet

    It looks like you won’t go hungry, Peta! What an abundance of vegetables. Awesome. The bath tub looks great and it is so nice to see the transformation in the yard/garden already taking place. You guys have been busy and creative that first week. Are you worried about the monkeys making it inside the house? How will you keep the mats clean-ish? With a straw broom, so common over there? Ben’s lamps look awesome. I can totally imagine soaking in your bath tub at night, with the atmospheric light, or just with the moon and the stars. Or, even in a monsoon rain?

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Lisbet, we are definitely happy with the bathtub results and are rewarded for having taken the risk with the industrial pipe solution.

      We are not worried about the monkeys coming into the house (yet), as they seem quite content to stay at a relative distance from us. That said, when we were in Ubud Bali, we quite enjoyed the contact with semi wild macaque monkeys at the monkey forest. They live in the wild but their food source is supplemented which makes them fairly human friendly.

      http://www.greenglobaltrek.com/2016/02/ubud-and-its-sacred-monkey-forest-bali.html

      So far with the straw mat flooring yes, we have been using a straw broom, but we will probably buy a small vacuum cleaner to lift the dirt. Not sure how long it will last (durability) but while it does we are definitely liking it.

      Today is full moon (super moon) and last night soaking in the tub under the moon was definitely a magical experience. Buddhists acknowledge full moons as an important event in the calendar, so we are sure to be come more sensitive to the lunar cycle. We are just at the end of the rain season, but apparently there are 2 monsoon seasons in Sri Lanka.

      Peta

      1. Liesbet

        I remember the monkey forest in Ubud. One of them had his hand in my backpack and when I tried to pull it out, he bit me. 🙂 I love wildlife encounters. Seriously, I really do.

        1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

          Cool place the monkey forest. Ooh no, a monkey bite must have hurt a lot. There were reports of people getting bitten, we assumed that it was due to the occasional taunting one sees unfortunately by some less than conscious travelers.

          P

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Anabel. We are glad too. It requires a bit of pre thought before bathing, as we have a hot water switch (pretty common in Asia) that needs to be pre turned on, in order to have sufficiently hot water. We do have a solar panel but that is not sufficient for those of us that love really hot water, and lots of it!

      Peta

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      That’s nice. Thanks. We hope so too. As we start to really settle in with a bit more time now that the main priorities have been taken care of it will no doubt get more and more comfy as we “tweak” our nest accordingly.

      Ben

  4. The Year I Touched My Toes

    The bathroom is looking fabulous. It’s been great watching it’s progress and your problem solving. I am wondering if you will have some monkeys watching your baths with interest?

    Aren’t those long thin green things beans? http://mypotsandfrills.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/string-beans-with-peanuts-something.html
    or
    http://www.nagaexports.co.in/fresh-drumstick-vegetable.html
    actually I think it’s the second one.

    Loving your adventure, Louise

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Louise. As of yet, no monkeys watching us bath, but we have seen them in the trees above the outdoor bathroom. So time will tell!

      Thanks so much for those links. As a result we have done some research and you are correct, those are called “drumstick vegetable” and as it turns out they are packed with nutritional benefits ~ quite amazing and are used quite frequently here in curries (which are a national cuisine). Apparently it has a flavor similar to an asparagus, we can hardly wait to try them… Ben is planning on rising to the challenge and making his first drumstick veggie curry!

      Ben & Peta

  5. carolinehelbig

    I am so thrilled to see that gorgeous outdoor bath area. And the tub…yippee, it worked and looks spectacular. You have created a dream space and I can’t believe how quickly it has come together. Congrats and enjoy!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Caroline for the encouragement. I look forward to when the garden has “grown in” a bit and flourishes. Am planning to plant basil and some other herbs there as well. Hopefully with this tropical climate things will grow relatively quickly.

      Peta

  6. Sharon Bonin-Pratt

    How to make a house a home? Do like Peta and Ben – fit right in!

    Everything is gorgeous, from that beautiful yellow spa of a bathtub to the markets, farmers, yoga shala, tuk tuk, animals, and neighbors. Such an incredible experience you are living.

    Thank you for taking us along on this grand venture. I enjoy every post of your new life.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Sharon… It is interesting, as we were just discussing last night the fact that no matter what country we go to, we do feel comfortable and fit in wherever we are. (Exception perhaps might be in the U.S. and especially more so now of course.)

      Given you are fairly new to Green Global Trek, if you are enjoying this adventure, you might enjoy our posts from our life in Nicaragua, Central America where we lived for about six years. In Nicaragua, we built two houses “from the bottom up” and created a climate change focused business to introduce bamboo housing in Nicaragua. Now talk about adventure, that was an adventure! Including dealing with Myagna Indian communities.

      Ben

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks! It is rustic and modest. We do like the idea that we took an empty shell and are making it “lovely”. A nice sense of accomplishment and we enjoy the creative process.

      Ben

  7. Nomads By Nature

    Where to start!!!? Loving seeing how your home is shaping into your dream sanctuary! The tub, bathroom counter and sink are fabulous – I think you will enjoy this room a whole lot, even in the rainy season 🙂

    Your photos of your town have brought back so many wonderful memories. Unawatuna is a gem. Arthur C Clark I believe spoke of a magnetic anomaly about the area that adds to its wonder. Maybe this is part of its relaxed charm and yoga vibe?

    Speaking of wonders, Sinhalese script is a lot of fun and quite easy to read because is it written phonetically. For each consonant there is a vowel marker attached which makes that letter into a syllable. There is even an ‘ending’ marker to attach if no vowel follows the letter. There are also vowel letters too. So you live in : උණවටුන (the letter U (short sound, beginning a word)/ the letter ‘n’ with long ‘a’ attached/ ‘w’ with a short ‘a’/ ‘t’ (one of two options) with a long ‘u’/ and ‘n’ again with short ‘a’ marker. Once you have your alphabet down then ekka dekka tuna (1,2,3) you’ll be reading Sinhalese script super fast and then it’s just learning what it is you are saying! It’s been super long so I go verrrrrrrry slow dusting it all off, but I still think it is a fun language! My favorite exchange was in saying “Are you hungry? Yes, I am hungry.” (oyatta bada guinnyde? O! Mata bada gunny!) It was just super fun to say.

    And Sri Lankan curries? Y.U.M.! I still make them in my house today 🙂 So, this is long, but before I go – your mystery beans are drumsticks. I wish you all the very best in your new and lovely home!!!!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Rob for your lovely and very substantive response to our blog post.

      Thanks too for our first basic lesson in Sinhalese. We are excited to start taking lessons and learning the language. The fact that it is phonetic is good to know as we both want to be able to read it and as well to speak it, in due time.

      The curries are definitely yummy and especially as they so often include veggies and fish. Drumstick beans, that apparently have a taste similar to asparagus and have many healthy benefits. On the menu coming up soon….

      Peta & Ben

  8. Alison and Don

    I am loving your bathroom! And your ingenuity. What a grand adventure you’re having.

    I look forward to more posts about your house – interior shots and the development of the garden. What a sweet space you’re creating.

    Alison

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thank you Alison. Yes, now that we have the basic infrastructure in place we are going to relax a bit and enjoy and then we can work on the interior. We look forward to incorporating a lot of the colorful textiles that are so prevalent here and finding or creating a few select furniture pieces

      Sweet space indeed.

      Peta

  9. Sue Slaght

    Oh Peta it is spectacular! How fabulous to see your move, home and new chapter all coming together. The bath tub worked out beautifully. As always I am impressed with your ingenuity and the basin and table look perfect. So happy for both of you.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Sue! It has been quite a week, for sure. It feels nice to have a home base once again, from which we can travel in the region.

      We just had our first bath in the rain this evening…. big, cold raindrops on our heads and hot water to soak in. Good combo. We are super happy with the basin on top of the old door, it really worked out well.

      Peta

  10. CompassAndCamera

    Congrats to you both for creating such a lovely home and life for yourselves! The bathroom is growing into a fantastic oasis. So fun to watch it develop.

    And I completely agree with Lex — you are inspiring us readers to dream bigger and more boldly. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks! We were nomadic for two years traveling through and living in various parts of Asia ~ exploring and determining where we might want to create a home base.

      After that we were in Chicago, to be near family, for 6 months, which became a year and a half. We were right in the center of the urban jungle!

      So it is really nice to be in a place we can call home ~ for some time ~ and even though in total we have in the past only spent about 5 weeks in Sri Lanka, we feel very comfortable here.

      Great that we are providing inspiration, we do enjoy that we are role modeling “a less conventional life style.”

      P

  11. Joanne Sisco

    This list of “firsts” was so much fun to read. I love your ingenuity in finding practical solutions … especially repurposing that door into a bathroom counter.

    I am surprised that a watertight roof isn’t a priority. Doesn’t everything get wet inside? … I’m thinking primarily your bed!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Glad you are enjoying the process. Yes ~ the antique door = bathroom counter is a great success. It is nice to repurpose or reuse objects than creating demand for more raw material.

      It is only during an intense rain (of which we did have one throughout the night) that the leaks are an issue. And yes, we had a bit of a dash to protect certain spots of the bed and the floor, with yoga mats and various bowls and containers. But there are two realities. The first is that the rainy season is over in about a week, so we can delay dealing with this issue. The second reality is our budget which at this point in time cannot cover the cost of readjusting the roof ~ more timber, more tiles. As long as we get to it before the second monsoon season, which is around May, we will be fine.

      It is interesting how priorities can shift. As initially, the roof was my number one concern…it was the firs thing we had asked about when we found this house. But other than that one night, we have just had a few drops of water here and there, nothing that can’t wait till before the next rainy season.

      Peta

  12. Johnny Oh

    How lovely! Bless you for your good energy. I hope the peacocks come and visit you. Are you planting those flowers to sprinkle in the bath-water?

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Johnny. We hope the peacocks visit too. So far we have only seen them in the rice paddies nearby. Flowers for butterflies, flowers for smell and flowers for beauty and yes, in the bath water too ~ why not?

      Peta

  13. gallivance.net

    Peta, your progress and ingenuity on the new house is impressive. And the location is lovely and interesting. We spent a couple of weeks in Sri Lanka and absolutely loved it. It’s a beautiful place, but one of the things we liked most were the friendly, helpful people. We had nothing but pleasant encounters, and in fact, a couple were downright charming. I’m sure that it will be a wonderful place to park the suitcases and enjoy a bit of al fresco bathing, monitor lizards and all. All the best. ~James

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks James for your encouraging and positive comments.

      Completely agree that the warmth and friendliness of the people is a key feature and we have experienced it too. We have also found that people are extremely helpful and will go out of their way to be so.

      I am actually a bit attached to my backpack and small suitcase. After all, they served as roaming closets for two years! But it sure is nice to have space.

      Peta

  14. restlessjo

    You really couldn’t get any closer to nature, could you? I love the fact that a light drizzle of water throughout the night doesn’t bother you 🙂 🙂

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      We made a conscious choice not to be right on the beach, even though initially of course that does have appeal. But the concern for sea level rise and hurricanes contributed to our selecting something a bit set back from the coast line but within easy access of it. Loving being in amongst the green and the sounds of nature. It is fabulous to wake up to the sounds of birds greeting the day.

      Ha ha, correct that the light drizzle of rain during the night does not bother Ben.I should add that in his enthusiasm and desire to convince me it was fine, Ben argued that the sprinkle was like a high priced Avian spray one might get at a high end spa, and we were getting it gratis. I would say it was first priority for repair, until we found out the rains should be over any day now…. famous last words. Anyway, if not, we can always throw a few tarps over a few sections.

      Peta

  15. Eileen

    Marvelous traveling virtually with you. Great photos and fun accounts of starting to make a home. I’m excited to have found you. Thanks for coming by my blog. My niece teaches in Saudi Arabia, My son teaches in Cambodia, and my grandson teaches in Bolivia. We traveled quite a bit with another son, who worked for an airline, but just in Europe. I will enjoy keeping up with your adventures.

  16. adventuresoffiveblog

    Your new home is lovely–congratulations!

    I especially love your outdoor tub; what a tranquil and inviting place to draw a bath.

    The fruit and markets in your photos remind me very much of those here in Hawaii. We have a varietal of banana called apple banana that looks a lot like the lemon banana in your photo–pleasantly tart and firm even when brown.

    Your beautiful photos capture the flavor and verve of Sri Lanka.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Chris for stopping by and commenting.

      I suppose that Hawaii and Sri Lanka both having tropical climates have some of the same fruit. Apparently Sri Lanka has about nineteen different varieties of bananas including one type that is called a red banana. We have a lot more types to try out.

      Thanks for the compliments on the photos.

      Peta

  17. Mabel Kwong

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post from start to finish, both the text and photos, Peta. It is so heartwarming to see you and Ben build up your home in Dalawella. It really is the simple life the two of you are living, being at one with nature and building the entire abode from scratch with simple pieces and with your own hands. That orange bathtub looks like such a delight, and I bet by now you have had more than a few times lying around in it 🙂

    So sorry to hear about some of the crushed ceramic lamps. Sometimes travel can be rough but I like your glass half full, half empty analogy. At the end of the day, use what you have and the pieces that you have certainly shone brightly.

    I love Asian markets despite the lack of space, crowds and sometimes the smell of so many foods and veggies mixed together. It never surprises me how much there is in offer, items from big to small, food to little things like candles and medicines that actually can have a place in your home. I really like it how these markets lay out their goods for you to choose – you can pick anything you want 🙂

    You look very happy and cute in the tuk tuk. It is a great shot <3

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Mabel for your thoughtful comments on this post. We did not build this house, but rather, took an existing “shell” and are renovating and augmenting it. We have had builders and carpenters do the heavy work and we are just enjoying doing smaller accent type things, like the sanding of the bathroom counter top. (Ie, the easy stuff!) We are very much enjoying the bathtub already.

      It is very hard to adjust to Western markets after the chaos and hustle bustle of Asian markets. It IS fun to see the different formats for display of good for sale. (Check out our Viet Nam entries, if you have not seen them, for some really good posts on markets.)

      Peta

      1. Mabel Kwong

        Still, augmenting the “shell” of the house is a means of building a home that you want 🙂 You get to shape it with furniture, plants, lights…building up its core and heart with your very own minds and hands. Hat’s off to you and Ben for that and looking forward to seeing more 🙂

  18. Danny

    Congratulations on your new home – it looks amazing (despite the leaky roof and the monsoon rains)! Your bathroom looks wonderful, too. I’d love to have a place that’s so close to nature. Hope you enjoy all the other firsts in the coming weeks!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Danny. It is quite a change living here after living for 1.5 years right in the center of the urban jungle smack in the middle of one of the busiest corners in a hip n happening neighborhood in Chicago. I do like the sounds of birds over that of traffic, for sure.
      Peta

  19. Dahlia

    Great visuals! Looks like a whole lot of fun (and hard work!). I am amazed and impressed at your spirit of adventure, zest for life’s challenges and eye for beauty. Many of the pictures (esp of the vegetable market) seem like home (I am from India) and from what i can make out, the green long veggies are drumsticks. A favorite and quite indispensable for the locals and a bit tricky to eat because of the tough out covering – would love to know more about your first drumstick experience 😀

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Dahlia. Definitely a lot of fun and definitely a lot of hard work. So glad you have enjoyed the visuals… coming from India, that is a good compliment for us to get. We spent several weeks living in Pushkar and seriously considered making this a home base. The visuals!! (Especially during the camel fair in November.)

      The drumstick veggies are now purchased and waiting to be cooked by Ben….

      Peta

  20. lisadorenfest

    I can’t wait to visit!

    I love what you are doing with the place – the sink, the tub, the lanterns, the walls, the floors all exude a sense of peace for me.

    The market looks bountiful and colorful and I love the wildlife – Monkeys, Lizards, and Peacocks Oh My 😍😍😍!. And lastly, I’ll comment on that road along the Indian Ocean. My view of the sea right now is blocked by marina gates and I long for the open ocean. You are very lucky!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Lisa! Such nice compliments. Yes, do come and visit. That would be great fun! We definitely strive for a peaceful and colorful environment.

      A little further away from us the coast continues and is a bit more “rugged” – less restaurants, hotels, which is definitely my preferred type of beach.

  21. Lois

    Well done my dear friends!!

    There you 2 go again, exploring, finding, creating and sharing fresh magic from the beauty surrounding you.

    Thank you for introducing me to the colorful fruits of your exquisite environment! I look forward to the textures and shapes to come. <3

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Kirt ~ we definitely “hit the ground running” to get the house ready. The rest will follow…slowly but surely. Importantly we have our outdoor tub to soak in!

      Peta

  22. Ezra

    Wow, fruits look so fresh! Not sure how I feel about the monitor lizard…

    Who’s that in the tub with peta?

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Tons of fresh fruits for sale on the sides of the street and at the big markets.

      The monitor lizard is a sweet lil baby compared with the monster water lizard we encountered…but thats another story!

      That is our friend Brook. We spent about a month in Hoi An together and then she made the momentus decision to live in Sri Lanka too…so we travelled here together. Her bf will be joining her in a couple weeks.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      hugs,
      P

  23. twobrownfeet

    What a week of firsts it has been, Peta! Wow! I couldn’t get so much done in a month.

    I think it must be fantastic to live this back-to-nature, rustic life. I love the smell of the first rain as it hits the parched earth.

    Here’s to a new life for the both of you and hope it adds to the many wonderful travel memories — you’ve had so far!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks!

      Ben definitely has more stamina to get things done than 2-3 people put together. He encourages me aling and I try to keep up! 🙂

      The smell of rain on dry parched earth is one of my favorite smells ~ growing up in South Africa I experienced it often and loved it! By the time we arrived here in Sri Lanka the rains had been going strong off and on for about two weeks ( rainy season ) so no parched earth smells this time.

      Peta

  24. Nikki

    Looks like quite the set up. Your adventure is fun and inspiring. Love the outdoor garden bath can’t wait to see it in full bloom. Sri Lanka is one of my favorite places. Can’t wait to see the rest of your adventures there unfold.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Nikki. I am excited for the outdoor garden to be in “full bloom”… it hopefully eon’t take too long in this tropical climate. Come back and visit us!

      Peta

  25. Laurel

    Blessings on your new home!

    It’s fun to see the details – you both are so artistic and creative. Your adaptable and flexible approach serves you well. A few lanterns broken? No worries, there are still plenty. Rain leaking through the roof? Not enough to dampen your spirits.

    Wild peacocks, an outdoor garden bath, gorgeous exotic produce (banana flowers!)—just wonderful. And that yoga shala in the neighborhood! Keep enjoying and thanks for sharing your exotic lives.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks so much Laurel. We do try to not “sweat the small stuff”, if possible and keep focused on the bigger picture.

      I like that combo: “wild peacocks, an outdoor garden, gorgeous exotic produce (banana flowers). The yoga shala is the most beautiful one we have ever done yoga in. The jungke setting is just gorgeous.

      Peta

  26. badfish

    So, you’re saying they don’t have bubble wrap in Vietnam, eh? And who runs that yoga shala? That place is exquisite!

    And man, your house is truly a piece of art, eh? Love the door as a counter. The tub turned out well, I think! Is Delawella a town…what is it near? If you travel and need a house sitter…I’m the guy you want to call first, please!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      As a matter of fact, it IS very hard to find bubblewrap in Viet Nam! Luckily we found an expat who was moving and offered us some. Alas, it was not sufficient to protect the lanterns completely.

      The yoga shala was built a year ago by Eva…a German woman of Sri Lankan descent. It is absolutely stunning and has a great vibe too. Heading there shortly in fact…

      The antique door made a perfect counter! I love the textured layers of old paint on it and the feeling of history it evokes.

      Tub = great. Check!

      Ok I am sure we will be adopted by a cat soon and then when we travel we will need a house sitter … we will probably also use the house for home exchanges (as we did in Nicaragua) and Air B&B rentals.

      Peta

  27. Anita and Richard @ No Particular Place To Go

    Looks like a beautiful piece of paradise and there you are, right in the middle of it! I felt your delight, wonder and enthusiasm as I read your post with the beauty, the peace, the people and animals and all the lovely things coming together as you make this place your home. Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous setting! Anita

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Haha thanks Julie. It is rather “spartan” right now but once we get our couch and fabrics made we hope to maintain a minimalist look combined with color and cosy… We are definitely of the mindset that we do not want to accumulate “stuff”, as it is so easy to succumb to. But “elegant”, yes, elegant is always nice.

      Peta