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Published: December 16th 2006
My last few days in Sri Lanka ended with and ‘up-and-down’ five day tour. The high point was (literally) climbing Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak), a major pilgrim destination for Sri Lankans of all beliefs. It was at the top while watching the sunrise that I finally used the jacket that I packed for this trip! I have had an insight into Buddhism during my time in Sri Lanka and found it very interesting.
The Hill Country was disappointing because the famous colourful tea-pluckers were on strike, but the cave temple at Dambulla, rock settlement at Sygiria and Buddhist ruins at Anuradhapura were all very impressive. Only my feet suffered on the hot stones around all the stupas.
Unfortunately a month of good health came to an end with stomach problems as I left Sri Lanka and now in India, incredibly in this heat, I have a runny nose! Trivandrum was just a polluted, noisy city and I had to get out of there. I think the translation of Ashok Leyland is ‘noisy and dirty’ (Lanka Ashok Leyland’ means very noisy and dirty’). Varkala is a beautiful cliff-edged beach but overrun with tourists and restaurants playing repetitive chill-out music, so again I had to escape. Locals are discouraged from mixing with the tourists on the beach and the only contact I had was when I strolled up to the pilgrim’s temple. The questions are still as direct now I am in India (‘your good name?’ to ‘you married?’ in three moves) and I just torment them with the truth.
I am now in Kollam enjoying the breezes across the lagoon and exploring the backwaters. Tomorrow I will take the ferry up to Allapuzha, then spend a few days heading for the high country before I settle in Cochin for X-mas.
Photos will have to follow in my next blog.
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