19-Nov-2002 -- The best maps I could find of the area was a 1:500,000 roadmap (quite useful) and a printout from expedia.com (less than helpful as place names and their location were a work of creative imagination)
After trying several jeep tracks and nearly getting the car bogged I found a ditch bank that went in approximately the right direction after about a kilometre my attempt was thwarted 250m from the confluence by a small river channel. After a lot of hunting I could find no bridges – the river looked to be normally fordable but as it was still monsoon time it was in flood and there were several channels for me to cross. There were no obvious signs of crocodiles but I decided that given the strength of the current swimming was too risky. On the way back to my car I met a farmer - communicating mostly by sign language and two of our few words in common (coconut and railway) I discovered that there was a way round if I walked back towards a coconut grove, followed the railway and then doubled back at the railway bridge...
The directions were accurate but, unfortunately, it turned out that the confluence was right on the far side of a flooded rice paddy field. There was a house next to the field: A somewhat bemused Mr Menaka, following translation provided by his grandaughter Sumedi, led me on a hazardous walk along wet and slippy mud banks to within a few metres of the confluence. I decided to leave getting closer than 14.4 metres to some future vistor – as it would have involved standing up to my waist in warm, fluidised mud.
Whilst taking my photographs I became concerned about the helicopter now hovering overhead – having previously passed the residence of the local air force commander 4km from the confluence and being only a few km further from a recent war zone I decided I had enough photos and waded my way back to the Mr Menaka's house. Fresh orange juice and cakes were offered and consumed whilst helping Sumedi with her English schoolwork and trying to convince everyone that I was not secretly surveying for a new airport (The confluence is a few minutes drive from Polonnaruwa – UNESCO world heritage site and a major tourist draw – current airport being in Columbo some 5 hours drive away).