|The ruins of a beach-front house at Kalkudah Beach|
Kalkudah Beach itself is quiet stretch of beach which has since been flattened by the tsunami. You can’t help but notice that the shore and the beach are nearly completely flat as is the adjacent beach front land. Large waves are known to go almost to the grassy edge. Not many tourists frequent this beach for some reason unknown to us—we found it to be very peaceful as a result, although the waves there could be too strong to comfortably swim in.
Around the point from Kalkudah Beach was the more popular Pasicudah Beach. Before the war, this beach was a real popular spot with the Sri Lankans and many hotels could be found here. Tourism was very strong. During the war, this area was pretty much ‘off limits’, being right in the middle of Tamil country. Foreigners were not allowed into the area, and even the Sri Lankans stopped coming. The hotel business dried up; the tsunami wiped out what was left. The giant waves (a series of 7) also broke up a lot of the reef which lies at the mouth of the bay and the beach is still littered with broken coral along with rubble from destroyed buildings. But the water is warm and relatively clean and still, so our girls enjoyed swimming in it along with the locals who are now once again flocking here especially on weekends. Many foreigners are also catching on to this place already; in our time here, we saw about 6 couples and a family of 5 from Belgium.
While at Pasicudah Beach one morning, Jim happened to speak with a security guard who was working at the soon-to-be opened ‘change room facility’ at the beach. He spoke of his life before the tsunami: he had a beach front property over at Kalkudah Beach and also had a few huts on it which he rented out. On the morning of the tsunami, he was inland taking one of his 3 children to school. His wife and 4yr old son were swept away; luckily they found his 7yr old clinging to a coconut tree. He lost his family and his livelihood in the tsunami and now makes $3 USD/Rs300 per day (12hr day). He also has this beach-front property for sale as he says that residential homes are not allowed to be constructed there anymore although commercial properties are exempt. In fact, there are currently 14 hotel projects underway in Pasicudah Beach alone at the moment. The Maaluu Maaluu Resort, which was just opened at the beginning of the month is currently the only waterfront property here. Its 40 double-occupancy rooms, which range in price from $350 USD to $450 USD each per night, were completed in just 11 months. It’s scary to see what the beach front will look like this time next year.
|Maaluu Maaluu Resort|
|Locals heading home and inland at the end of the day.|