For most of this year we lived a stone’s throw from Dehiwela beach. It was my running track, a place to have a beer, a place to relax.
On weekends it’s the location for hundreds of games of cricket, touch rugby and beach soccer. The water is no barrier to the intrepid Sri Lankan sportsman with fielders standing in the waves ready for classic catches and trys being scored with a splash. Nor do the trains worry them, with bonus runs if you hit one as it races past.
It’s the place for young lovers to sneak away and steal kisses under umbrellas, sitting for hours cuddling each other away from the conservative eyes of society. A refuge for old lovers and forbidden lovers. A place to escape for a few hours.
It’s home to the fishing families who live on the beach side of the tracks. Doing it tough with no fresh water or toilets. What they lack in material wealth they make up for with the best beach-side views in Colombo.
It’s the place where every morning the coastguard fights a losing battle against beach litter. Their work gangs sweep up the rubbish and bury it in the sand, only to awake the next day to see it unearthed by the tide.
It’s the home of the beach side ‘Arrack Dens’ where you can bring your own booze whilst chowing down on a salmonella-chicken-special. Where the local guys get so drunk they face-plant straight into the sand, and their mates bury them up to their necks.
It’s the capital of underwear bathing and man love sand wrestling. Local guys strip down to their dacks, and roll around in the shallows together doing a man only version of From Here To Eternity. I often got an invite but had to decline.
Every now and then a tourist would stumble upon Dehiwela beach and be captured by its beauty. They would take one look at the crystal blue sea and the golden sand and run straight into the warm water to start their tropical adventure. I’m sure they all woke up the next day with all manner of water born infections and diseases.
I love its changing face, not knowing what I was going to find when I went for a run. Would the sand be eroded from last night’s tide blocking my path, would the storm water drains be over flowing turning the beach into a series of islands? Would the beach dogs chase me to try and bite me or would they lay in the sand trying to cool their mangy skin?
What crazy thing would I find washed up on the beach? I saw it all…dead dogs, a giant sea turtle, a car bumper and a toilet bowl! Who would come and talk to me and what would they want? A photo? Drugs? Money? A hand pulling their boat up the beach? Or just a wave as they did a poo in the middle of the sand.
I will miss it all, ok maybe not all of it, take away the public dumps and diseased water and it’s paradise.