Edit Blog Post
Published: August 18th 2018
Hurrah for a free day to explore, and not having to be at breakfast at 7am, I had a plan today to walk around the lake at the back of the hotel, visit the Gangaramaya Temple and go to the Independence Square Mall. It was surprising on a number of fronts, but was a lovely day.
The road at the side of the Crescat Mall leads down to a big lake with a temple on a tiny island. There’s a path around the edge, a few men hanging around or working cleaning and sweeping. Perfectly OK for walking around in the daytime. There was a scratchy noise which turned out to be a 3 foot monitor lizard, and a few birds. At the entrance to the temple on the island a man was sitting on the floor with a basket and wanted me to pay money to look at a snake. I said no, very bad, it should be in the jungle. Later he tipped a huge python out of a bag and draped it around his neck. This unfortunately attracted a crowd. the price to go into the temple was 300r, apparently the ticket would also let me into
the big temple. I was sceptical, but it turned out to be true. What wasn’t true was the story about the free temple tuktuk which would also take me to a museum. Not that I fell for that one.
So having walked the paltry distance to the Gangaramaya Temple, depositing shoes in the baskets for only tourists and using the loos for only tourists, it was a beautiful place to visit. There were a lot of locals praying, small children, teenagers, old people, all ages and very quiet, murmuring prayers read from books they brought with them. There are lots of sections to see, including a holy tree where people touched the branches and then their foreheads, walked around pouring water into the roots from silver bowls and wrapped garlands of jasmine flowers around the trunk. I sat and watched for ages, it was so peaceful, until a few ignorant tourists decided to video and photo the people praying. Find out what is allowed or don’t bloody come, idiots! There’s a lot to see and I’d go there again for the peaceful atmosphere. There is a hair fragment (fragment being the word) from Lord Buddha himself, delicately balanced on
a cotton wool ball. People were praying in front of it. The only negative was the number of ornamental animal body parts, tusks and thigh bones from elephants.
After exiting the temple I walked through a few backstreets to the Viharamahadevi Park which was really good fun to walk through, not a tourist in sight. Lots of plastic toy stalls, families having picnics, children screaming with delight at having pony rides (and the horse looked well cared for with grass to eat and water). Everyone was smiley with me. I liked it. Then on the other side was a huge Arts Theatre built with Chinese money. I walked round it and found Independence Avenue with the shopping mall at the end. Don’t go there. The building is beautifully restored but the shops are a waste of time. There is a Crocs shop but the prices were ridiculous, far more then even Singapore. I had a mango lassi in a cafe and was halfway through it when I realised the bottom of the sundae glass was filthy with mould and gunge. Yowzers! Hopefully they washed the middle bit out OK! A groups of schoolgirls in their white uniforms waved to
me. I asked if I could take a photo of them and they shrieked in unison, then lined up.
Consulting my phone, it was a fair old trek back to the Galle Road where I could catch the trusty old 100 bus. The area was quite posh with residences behind high walls, and not as many tuktuks. All the metered ones which passed had (sensible) people in them, so I walked for a bit. It wasn’t unpleasant except for being engagaged in conversation by a Type 3 male, aged about 30, who after the where are you from thing wanted me to go for a nice lunch with him. Jeeeeeez! What is wrong with you! And did I drink? No, I lied. He gave up with a parting shot about it being a no strings invite, or something to that effect, whatever that was supposed to mean! I’m a grandmother, get over yourself! Then a meter taxi stopped, phew!
At the Crescat Mall I hunted out the nail bar and had a pedicure and my toes done. Horrified to remember when I’d sat down that my feet were filthy after being shoeless in the temples. By the end
they were baby soft and clean, newly painted, £12 for 45 minutes. Not quite Vietnam prices but then it was in a nice salon. In the hotel the siren call of coffee finally got me, but I’d no sooner sat down at a table for 4 when a Sri Lankan guy sat right next to me uninvited. By this time I‘d given up a bit. I don’t really know what he wanted. His teenage daughter joined us. He works for a magazine publisher, of course I’d never heard of any of them but he wanted to give me free copies and would drop them at my place of work. No you won’t, mate. He will leave them at reception, hopefully. Did I have a business card? No, I said, truthfully this time. He kept moving my coffee cup out of the way. It was bizarre! I finally said (another lie) that I had to go and work. The coffee was GREAT though.
There‘s a beautiful wedding in the hotel tonight and most of the family members come from Watford, They let me take a photo. Then later there was some truly terrible Dad Dancing to what sounded like It’ll
be lonely this Christmas. Lovely sitting outside by the pool, although yet again it took my colleague and I ten minutes to work out the bill, and we’d only had a beer each. What are we like? 😕
Up early tomorrow for the city sightseeing bus pickup at 07.40am, even earlier than when we go to work!
Tot: 2.368s; Tpl: 0.066s; cc: 9; qc: 32; dbt: 0.0334s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.3mb