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Published: August 23rd 2018
Today we learnt that our Mr Fixer had not managed to fix us some reserved train tickets to Elle. Mr Fixer is just like the fella in the Grand Marigold Hotel! Instead of the train, he suggested a taxi all the way to Uduwalawale - but the train still could be an option if we wanted to go to the station an hour before the train leaves tomorrow and get unreserved second or third class tickets (gulp). At this point, as you can imagine, I was less than convinced but a) dad needed to be certain that there were no seats left and b) that we could just rock up and get on - so we hopped on a tuktuk and off we went to the station.
What d'you know ? No tickets but yes we could arrive at the station and get unreserved tickets (standing???) an hour before departure. After much debate, mainly me thinking this could be worse than root canal treatment, we decided to go for it - so camera at the ready, we will be on the train tomorrow at 12-30.
Complete with all the knowledge required we headed back into town on the tuktuk,
and then headed out again to Pedro tea factory and lovers leap waterfall
Quick negotiation with the tuktuk driver for the fee to Pedro and we were off, and the sun was shining! Half way through he asked if we wanted to go to a different factory but we stood our ground! No, Pedro please. And we're glad we stuck to our guns, it was a big factory, trying to be ethical and responsible to workers and environment but still using 40 year old machinery and very labour intensive. We now know how that morning cuppa starts its life ! We had a quick wander through the plantation and the tea bushes, all the bushes are broadly in rows ( not quite terraces) across the hillsides, and could see many ladies out picking (8 hour day and min of 18kg of tea picked per day)
We then walked to the main road and across the road to walk to Lovers Leap waterfall. A good track led up the hillside to the fringe of the cloud forest and to a lookout point for the waterfall. It was lovely.
We got back into town ( cheaper tuktuk - clearly
pricing is random) and had a quick bite to eat in the modern shopping mall from yesterday. Then back to our hotel - still no power but the generators were blasting out and there was hot water - so long hot shower!
Tonight the Grand hotel again - its the best value for the nicest food and a great bar - like a traditional pub. We went with traditional Sri Lankan dishes - really yummy and then a date and cinnamon frammerie, with caramel sauce - what's that you may ask? It's only sticky toffee pudding!!
So we're back now, power has returned but sadly no wifi yet. No fire tonight but the telly works in our room and we're watching the end of the test match. Tomorrow awaits....
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