S: Sri Lanka
BC: SRI LANKA | APRIL 23 - MAY 4, 2012
FC: SRI LANKA
1: Moving on... | april 22, 2012 14 hours flying. 21 hours total LLW - ADD - DEL - CMB arrived to monsoon season Colombo Sri Lanka
2: Hello Sri Lanka. On our way to Sri Lanka we had a layover in Ethiopia and then in New Delhi for 3.5 hours. Again in India - the one place we said we wouldn't go again! It was better this time since we didn't have to leave the airport. We did have some issues though with Budd's bag. We finally got to Colombo after some issues with landing because of the rain. Monsoon season came early. We had an airport pick up which was great. It took us 2 hours to get from the airport to our hostel. Colombo is HUGE! And of course its all 2 lanes through the city to get everywhere. We had a really good room and the staff at the Tropic Inn were super nice and accommodating! We booked ourselves a personal driver that would take us to Kandy (Paul's highly recommended town), the elephant orphanage, the botanical gardens, and Sigiriya - the ancient rock ruins. It was a lot to take do in two days but we got it all done.
10: We stopped at a tea plantation and got a tour of the plant. Here we tried fresh green tea.
19: Our next stop was at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Its Sri Lanka's royal palace. This was the elephant that carried the tooth relic int he parade, so he was deemed sacred. When he died, they stuffed him and put him on display. We were so tired from the day's events that we were not interested in the tour and rushed through the building.
20: I'm not sure if we were just tired from the day's activities or what, but these Sri Lankan were horrible. They were out of sync and most of them seemed bored. The drummers also sounded off beat the whole performance. "VES" is the traditional attire of the Kandyn dancer. It takes years of rigorous training before a dancer can attain the status of a VES dancer. That being said, I think they need a new instructor.. I've seen 10 year olds more coordinated.
21: FINALLY the day was done and we made our way to our hotel. Actually, our driver just drove to a random hotel and booked our rooms right then. So we could have been stranded had they been full. Just something else to spike our anxiety. Our room was nice, except for the cockroach hiding out in our sink, and then one in our garbage in the room. We didn't see it but we heard it move a bunch of times. That aside - we woke up to a gorgeous view!! | A view of downtown Kandy
22: Sigiriya (Lion's rock, Sinhalese) a large stone and ancient rock fortress and palace ruin. It stands at about 200m tall with hundreds of steep steps to get up to the top.
26: Ancient paintings | Mirror Wall. Originally this wall was so well polished that the king could see himself whilst he walked alongside it.
27: These monkeys must be used to people - they'd come pretty close to us. We took a break about halfway up. We still had a LONG way to go - lots more stairs to climb. The picture on the right shows the original stairs from way back when this was a city.
31: After Sigiriya, we made our way back to Colombo. It was only 160kms away but it was a 5 hour drive! The highway back Colombo is a not-so-generous two lanes, and there are shops and houses and people all along the streets so you have to drive slow. When we got back to the hotel, we ate supper and then passed out. It was a very busy two days and I was happy to be back in our hotel room with the friendly staff and Rickardo (A guy at our hotel visiting family) and a couple from Toronto who are originally from Sri Lanka, and were back visiting family. We stayed in Colombo for three more nights and just ventured streets around our hotel. We looked at some clothing shops and checked out the beach just down the street. Since monsoon season came early, there weren't too many people on the beach so it was nice to have some space to ourselves. On April 29 we left Colombo and went to the beach town of Hikkaduwa. Since it was monsoon season, it wasn't too busy and a lot of shops were closed, but that didn't bother us because it was quiet and not crowded. We had much of the beach to ourselves.
32: On April 29 we left Colombo and went to the beach town of Hikkaduwa. Since it was monsoon season, it wasn't too busy and a lot of shops were closed, but that didn't bother us because it was quiet and not crowded. We had much of the beach to ourselves. It was great to lay on the beach in the sun with a bathing suit on. There were a few guys who I would catch staring at us, but I didn't let it bother me. | Its said that Hikkaduwa had great snorkeling right of the shore so we went one afternoon. Most of the coral was destroyed and covered with sand from the glass bottom boats, so it was disappointing, but there were some really pretty fish. Being on the beach we also saw some of the most amazing sunsets, so of course I had to take pictures of most of them!
37: Top: Creepers in action. Bottom: This dog was cute but annoying. Couldn't get it to leave us alone so I went for a run with him hoping it would burn his energy. It didn't.
38: Budd always insisted on wearing his shoes to the beach. 1. Our favorite spot on the beach was in front of this old restaurant. I love the look of it even with all the damage. 2. This was a neat palm tree out of our hotel. 3. More pretty flowers. 4. Goodbye beach mat. We bought this in Thailand and carried it with us through four countries. A lack of backpack space didn't allow us to bring it with us to China so we left it for future beach goers.
39: Aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami 7.5 years later.