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Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Matara
February 29th 2020
Published: February 28th 2020
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Dammit I just lost a post ...I forgot you have to hit save periodically to protect against quirks in the WiFi. It has been quite a good so far but at times it waivers . Like now ..

I was describing Ella . A backpackers haven . I seem to discover one in every country I travel . This one had the usual assortment of small restaurants , hostels , homestay and coffee shops . SRI Lankan coffee is terrible . It is in powder form and I think it is boiled as it is quite thick when poured . The sludge on the bottom of the cup is awful . I bought a small bottle of Nescafe shortly after I arrived . Nothing I would drink at home but definately preferable here.The backpackers are the usual bunch of adventurous Caucasians, more women than men and basically a happy lot .

The tea plantations are quite beautiful . The slopes of the mountains (big hills really) are terraced and filled with tea plants . Sometimes they are planted with vegetables . I took several photos from the train I'll have to show you . It really is pretty .

Our hotel was not one for the backpackers. We have been staying in very nice places. Resorts actually with swiming pools , restaurants and bars .Three have been owned by a SriLankan businessman who has a lot of them . Udi speaks very highly of him as a devout Budhist and a man who has invested in Sri Lanka and the people as well as being ecologically progressive. Solar panels are used are fair amount . On the way to Mirissa we passed several fields of them . It was good to see

Our next stop after Ella was the Yala National Park . We stayed at a camp that began 20 years ago . We see in jeeps to get there as the roads are pretty basic and were in rough shape given the rains of the last while . It is supposed to be the dry season with the monsoons coming in April but the weather patterns here have become unpredictable in the last few years. There HAS been a very noticeable climate change .

The camp itself can accommodate 60 people mostly in 2 person tents equipped with very narrow twin beds , an attached toilet , shower and sink . They also have an electric light .and plugins for mosquito deterents. We dined with cloth napkins in a long open ended tent on bbq chicken and or fish . All quite civilized. There is no plastic anything in the camp . Everything is ecologically focused. Before supper we had a big campfire and it was all quite pleasant .

The safari itself lasted nearly four hours . I did see a leopard , first his face then a quai k glimpse of his body before he was gone . I was impressed by both . There are @150 leopards in the park and they are shy..

E same w many other animals, birds and reptiles almost constantly . Mind you the most thrilling event happened outside the park when we were in Our bus . Two different bull elephants , who are huge , wandered onto to the road and approached us . One fellow walked right up to the windshield ,trunk caressing it hen gradually walked beside us almost rubbing on the side looking in the windows. On of our travellers opened the window to get a better photo and in came the trunk !,, What an ass! It could have been a disaster but Udi quickly opened the door an threw out a bunch of bananas. At first the elephant did not respond but then Udi threw a second bunch further away and the trunk went out and the elephant moved away . It was scary ! Fortunitly the second elephant was less aggressive and this time when our guy tried to open the window we all yelled at him before he could do it . What a jerk .

Anyway all was well and the Park and camp were good experiences .

And now we are at the beach and today the tour ended . It has been good . A lot of great experiences and by and large a good group of people .I am not sure about going solo again . Travelling with Brenda in Morocco , and spending a lot of time with Richard last tour made being solo on this one a bit hard . The group was good , don't get me wrong but it was not as much fun somehow . Oh well ...

I still have a few days here in Sri Lanka . One day here then I head to Galle which is a UNESCO heritage site . The oldest Dutch fort still in existence. We spent a bit of time there yesterday and I think it will be a Good transition for me from Sri Lanka to Europe.

Enough for now . Hope all is well with you and yours .

March 2

Last night in Sri Lanka ...The adventure takes a new turn .

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28th February 2020

Wow
Pam your entries are awesome...…….you need to seriously think about writing a book about your global travels. The elephant stories are great, have had the experience myself but your story on the leopard is even better. You are in a unique company...….one rarely see's the leopard.
6th March 2020

Great write up, agree with Lionel but I think you need to write a few travel adventure books.
Glad no mention of the virous, scary. Hope all goes well in Europe.

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