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Published: February 22nd 2020
Tuesday 18 February, 2020, cont'd
We had a quiet afternoon and went outside at 6.50 pm for our dinner. Pat had steamed rice and I had a fried rice with chicken in a local style. After, we got to try buffalo curd, a local delicacy, with pineapple honey.
Lights out 9.40 pm.
Wednesday 19 February, 2020.
Visit to Yala National Park.
Pick up from the rooms was 4.20 am, so alarms were set for 4.00 am.
As always we were awake before the alarm!
Indika said he would come to unlock the gate to the property, prepare a boxed breakfast and see us off safely.
Our vehicle arrived on time. They use modified single cabs, which have six seats set in three pairs, tiered in a frame stuck up on the back. This gives additional height to be able to get a good view.
We were the second couple to be picked up and had the middle seats. We made a further two single male pick ups, at other locations then drove for about an hour, before we stopped outside the park. On the way we saw water buffalo, deer, wild boar and cattle by the roadside in the dark.
There was a further move along the road to the ticket office, which for us, was included in our ticket price, then on to the actual entrance to the park. The park opens at 6.00 am, so there was waiting involved.
We were towards the front of many vehicles. At 6.00 am, we all hared off into the park. The driver told us the plan was to head for where the leopards sometimes have a drink first thing in the morning. Then look for other animals later as they are easier to find and more abundant. We drove a long way into the park, the tracks are uneven and a lot of bouncing is involved. We didn't see a leopard.
After that we drove all over the place. At one stage, I saw in another vehicle the guy from Moody Moon, the dreadful rooms we had just left and who Pat had just given a dire review on booking.com. I have a very good memory for faces and was sure it was him.
The drivers talk to each other and when you come across stopped vehicles, you then join them and try to figure out what they are looking at.
At one stage after we had been stopped and looking at things, he had turned off the engine and the truck wouldn't start! Coincidently, the vehicle was over a large puddle, so we got out of the vehicle carefully and were put in another one. Which was the one with Moody Moon guy in, with his family! He recognised us as well. What a coincidence.
We were quite jammed in so it was with relief, that we spotted our first car, which he had sorted out, managed to start and we all transferred back to it.
We stopped for a break at 10.00 am near toilets and the beach. We ate our breakfast. Sandwiches, fruit and drinks, which went down a treat. Thank you Indika.
After we went out driving again and near the end of our time we managed to spot a leopard. It was simply ambling along through the brush. It was a great thing to see and is the number one animal to be seen in the park.
A list of the animals we saw today, that I can remember, leopard, elephants, water buffalo, cattle, monitor lizard, crocodile, deer, antelope, wild boar, warthog and Gray Langur monkey.
There were numerous birds, from eagles to water birds, loads of peacocks, pelicans, herons, doves, cormorants and many others.
It was a wonderful experience.
We were dropped off at 11.30 am, they were finishing cleaning the room, so we waited and also spoke to Indika about what we might have for our dinner.
During the afternoon I had a sleep. We went out to the verandah at 5.50 pm. as we had asked for dinner at 6.00 pm. Pat had freshly caught tuna and I had grilled chicken in a spicy sauce, with fruits to follow. Pat managed to get a Lion beer with her dinner as well.
Pat fell asleep early as she was now catching up. Lights out 10.00 pm.
Thursday 20 February, 2020
Transfer from Tissa to Ella, by car. A good nights sleep.
Woke early and stirred about 6.30 am. Did some packing, showered and went on to the verendah at 9.00 am for breakfast.
An egg hopper, an omelette, toast, sliced fruits, fresh pineapple juice and coffee, made for a wonderful breakfast. We paid our room and food bill, then finished our packing.
Minivan turned up at 11.25, loaded up and off we went. It was spacious with just the two of us and more comfortable than our recent car journey.
We watched the world go by and the mountains in the distance got closer and closer. The minivan dtruggled with the ascent and I noticed he switched off the air con.
The driver pointed out things as we went along and slowed when I wanted to take a picture of the mountains. He also stopped at Ravana falls. We tried to ring the number given on booking.com to confirm the location, but it didn't work. We had it on Maps.me and we got closer, then I spotted it.
Ella has tourists all over the place. We paid off our driver and checked into the rooms.
We had a few immediate objectives, one of them was to find a laundry. We are only here for two nights, so time is an issue. We dropped stuff in the room and went straight out. Within 20 meters we spotted a laundry. Checked with them, if they did by weight or by item. It was by weight, LKR 400 (GBP 1.71) per kilo. Bingo, we were in business and told her we would be back in a minute. Up to the room into the suitcases and pulled out everything that needed washing.
Five minutes later and we were back. 6.3 kilos. We said 6.5 kg's to round up and we paid LKR 2600 ( GBP 11.16). She asked if we wanted it back tonight and we said, tomorrow. Off we hopped like happy little bunnies.
The main road is heavily geared up for tourists. Next we wanted a chemists and that we also found. Then we spotted our favourite ATM, Bank of Ceylon. Then a sign for the railway station. We went to investigate and also found a Tourist information, got a photocopied town map. Then to the very smart painted white station, simply to familiarise as we leave from here in two days and already have our tickets.
Then back down the road the way we came. We stopped at the Pub Ceylon for a drink, a beer and a coke. The alcohol situation here seems much more relaxed. Then bought a few things in the supermarket and back in the room for 4.05 pm. Very successful outing for us.
We left the room at 5.40 pm and checked with the guy what time and where was breakfast. Then off to find something to eat.
Just down the road was Halpe Tea, Ceylon Tea Company, which was many things but also a restaurant. We went in and asked to look at a menu. Oddly it was quite a broad range of food styles. So we sat down. Pat ordered a burger and I had a stir fried noodles with chicken and prawn dish. We shared a profiteroles dessert and had some tea, Earl Grey and Moroccan mint. Bill was LKR 3600 (GBP 15.45).
Back to the room for 7.30 pm. We actually managed to be out after dark. Lights out 10.00 pm.
Friday 21 February, 2020
It rained overnight. That doesn't sound too bad except these are corrugated metal roofs, so it gets quite noisy when the rain hits.
Awake at 7.20, stirred and went down at 7.55 am for breakfast. An egg, toast and assortment of fruits, with tea. Simple but fine.
At 9.30 am, we went to the laundry to pick up the stuff from yesterday, also we dropped off a little more to try and make the most of it. Just under 2 kg's this time.
We popped the clean stuff back to the room and had a quick look at it, all was good. Then out to see if we could find the Nine Arches bridge, which is talked a lot about.
This is in a direction we hadn't been yet. So we wandered off, to cut a long story short there were loads of people and we didn't like the look of the track, so we didn't bother.
We headed back through the town and walked up the mountain to KitCapella, which took us quite some time as it was a lot of up. We saw toque monkeys by the side of the road.
We turned round when we had enough and headed back. Stopping at the Rawana Face Hotel for drink at 1.00 pm. The hotel was set into the hillside with stunning views.
The going down was easier and a lot faster than the up. We bumped into Moody moon guy again, who wasn't happy about the review we had given.
Back into town and another stop at the Ceylon Tea company for more drinks.
We waved hello to the guy in the laundry as we passed and he indicated to come over. Our stuff was ready, so we paid and collected it.
Back in the room for 2.45 pm.
Out again at 5.45 pm. Initially headed to the BOC ATM, to have a top up of cash. Then a drink in cafe UFO with some food. Pat had pumpkin soup and I had butter chicken masala with roti. Both were good. Our seat was by the road, so plenty of people watching.
Back to Ceylon Tea and a Moroccan mint tea and a blueberry tea. I managed to squeeze in a profiteroles dessert.
In the room 7.45 pm. Taking the wife out on a Friday night again. Lights out 9.15 pm.
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