Our train to Colombo is at 3 pm, so we have breakfast before visiting the Temple of the Tooth. Breakfast is in fact a source of great excitement; there is cheese on the buffet. I have been craving cheese for some considerable time.
We walk into town round Lake Kandy. It is the home of a huge amount of wildlife; so far we’ve seen birds, fish, turtles, monkeys, bats, chipmunks, even a huge monitor lizard.
We reach the Temple where one of Buddha’s teeth is housed in a series of 6 gold caskets. The queue to view it is enormous, plus it’s full of devotees dressed in white. It feels wrong to impose on their pilgrimage to gawk, so we just wander round the edges.
We enter a shrine which is rectangular and has Buddhas on all four sides, which throws me into a cultural panic. I have been told it’s rude to turn your back on Buddha, so how to act when they’re all around you?
We leave the temple and have a difference of opinion on how return to the hotel. The old man wants to continue round the lake so we have completed a
full circuit. It’s 32 degrees and going back the way we came is 20 minutes shorter. It sounds like a no brainer to me so we part company and I walk the short way while he goes the long way round.
Just time for a swim and a beer to cool us down before braving the scrum and heat of Sri Lankan rail travel one last time. First, a Tuk Tuk to the station; this involves an interesting manoeuvre where we drive the wrong way round a roundabout, almost running over a policeman.
We are in Observation Class again but this time it’s a modern, comfortable, air conditioned carriage. It’s actually quite pleasant, there’s no need to try to keep cool by sticking your head out of the window and hoping you don’t get decapitated in the process.
It’s only a 2 ½ hour journey but it feels much longer. Primarily because I’m sitting next to two small children whose parents feed them some hideously fluorescent fizzy drink which makes them so hyperactive they spend the entire journey shrieking and throwing nuts at each other.
Once back in Colombo we go for dinner, followed by drinks.
The old man has a pint of lager and two pints of Lion Stout at 8.8% alcohol. To be honest, he becomes a bit of a mess, but he makes it back upstairs to bed where he hiccups himself to sleep.
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