Half way between Galle and Welligama along the southern coast of Sri Lanka lies a lake of islands.
On an afternoon of small swell and easterly winds sweet Kalana took a break from his Nokia and loaded us into his beloved tuk- tuk to brave the coastal highway traffic.
Passing colonial ruins, fishermen on poles, coconut groves and surf spots,
we arrive to a boatman waiting along the bank, in hope of trade. We provided him with his afternoon’s income and he provided us with a gentle ride across the expanse of water, past Temple Island, Spice Island and Bird Island,
to the docking point at Cinnamon Island.
If the mood takes, a fish pedicure is on offer at a makeshift cleaning station on a raft floating at the waters edge. Declining we head up a clove- tree lined path to the shelter at the top, where the Island Keeper and his family live.
The welcome is hospitable and seating provided under the shelter of the homestead stoep with Cinnamon tea served as we await the demonstration. The Cinnamon Man’s smile is shy but firmly consensual when I ask if I may take pictures.
With the confidence of a showman that contradicts his shy demeanor he assures me that this is no problem. His photo has traveled far and wide…
I have no doubt it has…. tourists flow steadily through this lovely space over the seasonal months.
It is easy to understand why. The tea is delicious and the atmosphere gently hypnotic.
Calmly we watch as The Cinnamon Man works his tools to remove one curled layer of cinnamon bark from a branch – to be dried in the sun.His wife smashes and sieves dried cinnamon out in front of us, leaving swirls of pungent and exotic aromas floating in the air, which we carry away with us as we head back down the path to the waters edge…….
First Quarter, 2016 – Celebrating the Spices of Life… Lanka Style!