Jaffna Peninsula

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Sadly my plan to stay camped on the beach ran aground. During my enjoyable afternoon on the beach I met two friendly local Tamil people. One was collecting washed up rope to sell. This proves the saying that there is money in old rope. Later in the afternoon a man cycled by but only stopped briefly to spy my tent in the old military compound. Within the hour I was being interrogated by a Sri Lankan army midget dressed in tennis clothing. He had turned up with half a dozen young off duty soldiers to assert themselves at my expense. I was told by the gang leader that it was a dangerous area and that thieves operate there. I insinuated that the most dangerous people likely to steal from me were the kind of people taking an interest in me at that moment. They were acting like adolescent squaddies looking for fun and I was on their ‘turf’. One unzipped my tent so they could all look in. Surrounded by this circle of young men the alarm bells began to ring for me. I wondered if they were going to give me a kicking for fun. I have no doubt that if I had been a local Tamil that I would have been a more suitable target for their entertainment. So I packed up my stuff pretty quickly and hot footed it away from the scene. It was a little frustrating as I was a long way from my next stop in Jaffna and the light was starting to fade. I returned to the main road and thankfully found half decent hotel (JJs) with friendly staff.  I chose to head, once again, to the Northern coast. My ride took me past long minefields marked with red flags either side of the road. Many buildings were in a bad state from war damage.  I visited a busy covered market to buy supplies including a fish for dinner.

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From the A9 I cycled North towards the fishing town of Point Pedro and stopped at a temple and then a local cafe for afternoon tea with some local guys.

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Point Pedro has some significance for Sri Lankans as it is the most Northern point of the island. The jetty is as far as you can go. It is a busy fishing town and like everywhere in the North undergoing some rehabilitation. The coast road is littered with fish drying in the sun. Many are contained within nets to keep insects away. I met a group of fishermen and had a good natured chat.IMG_1427 IMG_1433 IMG_1440 IMG_1441

I was unable to follow the coast road as it was under military control and off limits. Every time I dropped down to another road heading West towards the airport on the North Western peninsular I was turned back at checkpoints. Eventual I had to use a main road to Jaffna. I found another great looking temple which I believe was devoted to the Hindu elephant god Ganesh.

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IMG_1448 IMG_1447With the light fading and a fish to cook I pulled in to the ruins of a house to use the kitchen. Back on the road I made one last dash for the city of Jaffna.

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