Sunday, November 16, 2014

A CAPricious Tour of Sri Lanka

Yes, I know it is spelled"Ayubowan".

Because I like to greet everyone with a fairly embarrassing sign, I rushed out to get this old photo from Kuantan printed.  I got home only to realize that I spelled it wrong!  Fortunately my kindergarten skills came in handy, I repaired it and I went forth proudly with a proper sign.  
C landed and I threw her right into the action.  She was an awfully good sport about it.  The first day I got her out and about to BreadTalk, Victoria Park, Laksala, and the Sunday Art Walk, where she bargained like a demon for an elephant painting!

The next couple of days were spent in Colombo doing Barefoot (natch!) and Crescat.  Not too exciting but definitely a nice intro to life here. I planned things out almost to the minute and it was lovely to have someone so pliant and agreeable (unlike the rest of the characters in my life!). Thursday morning we headed out to Kandy by train. (Yes, I know "liquor is quicker"*)

Visiting Kandy on a Poya Day.
It was an amazing time to be visiting Kandy.  They take Poya very seriously here and there was definitely a festival atmosphere in the air. There were tonnes of families out and about enjoying the relatively cooler air.  I didn't go into the temple but I did get to see the temple elephant go by.  I just about missed him as they almost seem to glide by, these, noiseless giants.  So whilst Cathy went in, I wandered around the grounds playing with my camera and trying to get some photos.

Who doesn't like popsicles?
 I saw this lady and practically fell over myself trying to be unobstrusive.  I loved the contrast of the colour of her skin, the ice lolly, her hair....sigh, she was gorgeous.
Some pink floss stuff!?

I also saw a vendor selling something I hadn't seen before.  I know that these peddlars are vanishing and I was keen to try and get some shots.  This was the second man I saw selling this pink floss out of rolled newspaper cones.  Being too much of a chickenshit, I didn't buy any but I was really intrigued by it.  It seemed like some "olde timey candy" that held lots of memories for the adults and just a sugar rush for the kids.

Gorgeous school girls Kandy.
A view of the Queen's bath house

The next day was our drive up to Sigiriya.  We passed through Matale and of course had to stop at the Hindu Temple there.  Even though I had seen it only ~2 months ago, the intense sun had faded the colours.  However there was still this lovely Ganesh to ponder.

I loved the vibrancy of the life around the temple as well.  Laundry day always intrigues me and I love the way this was backlit. Trying to be arty-farty and get a decent shot is hard!

Eventually, we made it to Sigiriya just in time to climb it during the force of the mid-day sun.  How is that for planning?  It was amazing!  I am so glad I did it.  It wasn't a hard climb and the vistas were stunning.  I was a little concerned about the possibility of a wasp attack but fortunately C didn't tell me about the swarm she saw until we were on top.  Lemme tellya my descent was rapid and gingerly done after hearing that!.  There were 2 of the sweetest girls skipping up the mountain who wanted to chat, so I engaged them and got this great photo.  

Could they be any cuter??!!

These girls are cute too but might appeal to a different demographic!

Afterwards, we drove up to Dambulla where the Golden Buddha is.  I've seen him before and frankly he's not my favorite image but I hadn't been to the Temple Caves, so being the good hostess, I tried not to roll my eyes and go on.  OMG I am so glad I did!  It was fantastic!  They are these caves on a hill above the Golden Buddha (yes, MORE stairs).  They are loaded with various types of Buddha images and patterned walls.  They aren't well lit because they are not a museum, but that just gives it some more meaning.  It is truly a living, breathing place of contemplation.

The next day we went out to the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage/Concentration Camp (depending on your view of course!).  There were tonnes of Chinese tourists who were so excited to see the elephants that they were jumping over barriers and getting up close and personal with the Dumbos!  

Coming through town to the river.
Tried to capture what they may have looked like in the wild.

Bath  time!

However I think my inner old lady took over for our next stop.  We went to the Botanic Garden at Peridenya and I loved it!! Argh!  I am so my father's daughter!

Gratuitous art shot!
We then caught the train back to Colombo the next day, after a fairly lazy morning and lunch at the Olde Empire Hotel.  Their watermelon, lime and mint juices are too die for! C then left the next morning on her own for some beach time in Unawatuna.  Plan was for me to join her on Wed aft in Galle and then drive back to Colombo Thursday evening. C very graciously treated us to a lovely night at the Fort Printers Hotel.  Pretty chi-chi!  So now I think that I have stayed in a whole range of accommodation in the Fort.  Plus I have just about worked my way through all the ice cream flavours at Diary King!  Yes, a dirty job...!
Anticipating breaky!
Encapsulates how I feel about the south coast.

Galle is always so welcoming!

No, that's not a worm but a window hook in front of his head.

We left early afternoon after gorging on curry and coconut flan.  We decided to drive up the old coast highway to Hikkaduwa.  I am so glad we did!  We stopped in Hikka and went to the beach.  Of course neither of us had thought to put our bathing suits on in Galle so the locals were entertained/horrified by 2 women trying to struggle into bathing suits in a car.  My big concern was not that I'd flash the locals but that I'd leave an indelible bum print on the driver's seat!  

The ocean was magnificent!  There were gentle waves and nary a rock on the bottom.  For so long, I have needed the ocean to cleanse my spirit and this went a looong way!  Our drive back was pretty mellow and uneventful (thank goodness!).  So we spent the last day being ladies who lunched and then went for foot rubs and then, just like that, she was gone! 

Ogden Nash

* “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”

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