The big day had finally arrived – for our annual Company Trip. It was the morning of March 30th, a Saturday, and about 50 of us had gathered outside office. We were bubbling with excitement as we got into the bus. We had brought with us a few guitars, and even a bongo drum! Our due destination was Bentota Beach Hotel, where we planned to stay the night.
We set off around 8.00 AM, and started singing within a few minutes of settling in our seats. There were plenty of snacks, soft drinks and a few beers that were passed around to help us loosen our vocal chords. We sang mostly old Bila songs and played classical Sinhala tunes along the way, such as “Surangani” and “Udarata Kandukaraya”. We reached Bentota Beach just about noon.
After we settled into our rooms, we went straight for lunch, which was well prepared. Some of us hit the pool thereafter, while the rest of us including myself explored the hotel and its surroundings, which had a fabulous Spa, a Gym, and a Badminton court.
We all met up at 3.00 PM and hitched a boat ride on the Bentota Ganga (river), infamous for its scenery and its wildlife. We went among the mangrove trees and into the swamp, and observed many water birds. The highlight of this excursion was the sighting of a baby crocodile, which we were allowed to touch! It was one of those surreal moments in my life. After a couple of hours on the river, we returned to the Hotel.
Around 5.00 PM we all changed into sports attire and played games. Some of us teamed up for beach football, while others played badminton.
Bentota Beach Hotel is a spacious place, ideal for games and recreational activities. Their service throughout our stay was good. As the sun began to set, we stepped into the Indian Ocean and some of us even swam. The current was strong, but we stayed very close to the shore and enjoyed the feel of the waves on our feet.
We returned to the hotel around 6.45 PM and a small group including myself went to the Spa. This experience was truly relaxing…
Dinner was served around 8.00 PM and was a truly sumptuous affaire. There were many cooking stations with grilled fish, vegetables, meat items, pasta, noodles and a variety of seafood dishes. There were also Indian cooking stations, which served Chapati, Naan and suchlike.
Immediately after dinner we went to the hotel bar to try out the cocktails. There was a very nice dance group that was performing, which complemented the party atmosphere. The bar was entirely ours after 10.00 PM and we requested songs, and began to dance! We literally danced till we dropped, well passed midnight.
Most of us headed for bed around 1.00 PM, but a few of the guys stayed up till even later, playing poker and relating amusing stories.
The following morning we went for a swim in the sea before breakfast. Breakfast was again another gorgeous meal, where we had a variety of items to choose from, ranging from Sri Lankan foods like Halapa, Lavariya and so forth, to Waffles and Pancakes. After breakfast, we played one last round of badminton. We climbed into the bus around 11.00 AM and headed back home.
It was a truly fun filled trip, with many interesting and sometimes amusing incidents to fill our memories with, and talk about in office for months to come.