A cup of tea, a splash of serendipity and a bucket load of kindness, this is Sri Lanka - part 1

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April 20th 2015
Published: April 20th 2015
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So I've been in Sri Lanka for 12 days and im 2 1/2 weeks into my round the world trip. Firstly, I can’t believe I've been travelling for such a short amount of time. I have done so much - more than any holiday that it feels like I left Scotland months ago. I write this drinking tea and allowing the cool of the room fan to try and calm my blazing sunburn. My friends said I’ll come back Skinny and brown. Well if the last few weeks are anything to go by I'll be coming back fatter and burnt! Now before I get lectures about making sure to apply plenty of sun cream I would like to add that I am trying. But the heat in Sri Lanka, coupled with the extreme humidity is ensuring that any lotion is quickly sweated off - often into my eye - Joy! It seems to be abnormally hot here with even the locals complaining. I’ve made it to the South coast so the occasional breeze coming in from the ocean is AMAZING.

So, following my last entry a lot has happened so I apologise for what will be a lot of rambling
The newbiesThe newbiesThe newbies

and our VIP seating area
in the latest edition of my blog! However I have decided to spilt my Sri Lanka story into parts to make it more manageable so this is part 1. Firstly, I spent 2 days in Colombo just getting my travelling groove on and quickly coming to realise that Sri Lanka is nothing like India and so my preconceptions where wrong. The pace of life, the tropical paradise I was to fall in love with and the kindness and gentleness of people was all a pleasant surprise (don't get me wrong - I loved India). I was quick to learn that I also was travelling during the New Year Celebrations of the Singhalese (Buddhist and Hindu) people. Exciting to be part of it but a nightmare of travelling. I had to rethink my route as I was hoping to be in Nuwara Eliya right when the party was in full swing and turns out to be the hub for all locals so accommodation was looking bleak. In the meantime I continued with my journey to the Cultural triangle to visit the Lions Rock in Sigiriya.

Cultural triangle & trains

First to get there I had to catch an 'express’ train from Colombo to Habarana which would take over 4 hours. I arrived at the station an hour early - picked up my 2nd class ticket for £2 and then headed to get some egg Roti's for the journey ahead. When I arrived at the platform I was shocked to see so many people - when the train pulled up, utter carnage ensued. People jumping onto the train while it was still coming into the station, grannies using their bags of rice as weapons to get people out of their way as they fought to get onto the train and get a precious seat. As a newbie I unfortunately failed in this situation. On a plus I met a lovely couple(Dominic and Alicia) on holiday as we crammed together by the train door. We used our bags as seats or just sat on the door steps taking in the breath-taking scenery. The locals around us where super friendly. We spent the hours tucking into the train food as men came round and helping others to get people on and off the train, passing bags, food and children onto the platform. More than half way into the journey we had an impromptu stop for 30 mins as the driver wanted a break. Standard Sri Lankan randomness.

As Dominic and Alicia didn't have digs they came with me to the homestay. We then set of in the afternoon sun to climb Lion's Rock. On top of this 660ft rock is the basic remains of King Kasyapa's palace (477 – 495 CE). The rock seemed to be guarded by Lizards and numerous monkey's and dogs. We stepped with trepidation past the giant Hornets nests hanging from the rock and made it to the top for breath-taking views that stretched for miles. The descent was made harder for Dominic as he hates heights but he nailed it and managed to keep going.As our Tuk Tuk pulled up at the homestay the heavens poured open. Timing was excellent but we took a moment to think of the unlucky tourists we passed on their way up as we headed down. We spent dinner on the porch in candlelight as we had a power cut and watched and listened to the thunder and lighting ripping through the sky whilst we tucked into Sri Lankan curries and the family dog took shelter and comfort by

This wee man wasn't feeling well but still managed a smile.
curling up at our feet.

Part two...

Additional photos below
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Grass hopper joined us for dinnerGrass hopper joined us for dinner
Grass hopper joined us for dinner

He's going to have a sore bum in the morning based on all that spice!

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