A weekly ode to the joys of moaning about your holiday.
My holiday photos tell a lie. Not because I've airbrushed my teeth whiter, my belly smaller or my skin more golden (though all three are tempting), but because I'm an award-winner at making one day look like a week. This isn't the kind of deception of the vanity variety as just described, nor of someone who's inherently miserable but always pretends to be on the verge of reaching nirvana in their Instagram posts. I am genuinely mostly happy, but wow, one day I would love to learn the art of doing less.
As in, there was a particular day my wife and I had in Sri Lanka last year where we awoke in one of the top suites of the grand old Mount Lavinia Hotel just south of Colombo. Sitting on a cliff and overlooking the beach and the palm trees and pounding waves that separate Sri Lanka from India, we left one slice of paradise in search of — true to form — a week's worth of others.
Starting early, we battled through traffic to drop off a bag of laundry before finally leaving the outer urban clutches of Colombo. Minus the laundry, our first proper stop was at a pleasant little beach to walk its length and have a nosey at some resorts. Second stop was another beach where I played cricket by the sea with some locals for about 20 minutes. Just 20 minutes, but for the yarns I've since spun from my turn with bat and ball against a group of older chaps practising for an over-60s tournament, you'd swear I'd played for a couple of hours. That cut shot for four between two palm trees that my wife — national treasure that she is — managed to catch on camera remains a career highlight.
Then we had lunch at another seaside town where we ate while haggling the price down on a nicely patterned blanket that I now realise as I type we've never once used. After which it was back to the car en route to a turtle sanctuary for a quick squiz and donation before veering inland to find a jewellery museum that sits next to (and above) its own still-working mine. We were treated to a full tour of moderate interest value before returning to the car (wallets blessedly un-lightened) to make our way to the famed coastal city of Galle.
Well it might be "famed", but it's fair to say if we'd properly understood just how awesome Galle, with its narrow lanes of historic buildings, was going to be, not to mention all the delightful cafes, boutique hotels and galleries, we would've spent more than two hours there. You'd never know from the several dozen photos I took though. Looks like we must've hunkered down in Galle for at least three days.
But oh no, that wasn't enough because for some reason we were determined to sample one more Sri Lankan beach as we were clearly suffering from amnesia that our hotel — the same hotel with the magnificent suite we oddly were not making the most of — had its own perfectly good beach.
So we made our driver navigate the I-can't-believe-these-aren't-one-way-streets between Galle and Unawatuna Beach just so we could lie in the sun, have a quick swim, take some snaps and pretend we were there longer than, wait for it ... half an hour.
It wouldn't have been so brief but we had to get back to the laundromat on the outskirts of Colombo before closing time and we were a good two to three hours away.
Exhausted, we were unsure quite how we'd allowed a day of our holiday in this glorious little nation to be bookended by laundry, not to mention somewhat curtailed by the regathering of said laundry.
Oh why not go the whole hog, the day was defined by laundry. Not quite, but as we raced against the clock to retrieve our clothes, we vowed this would be the last time we'd ever try to cram so much into one 12-hour period. And the last time we'd let laundry cut short a tropical beach visit.
• Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's Weekend Collective and blogs at RoxboroghReport.com