The last batch of Sri Lanka photos (link is to the sixth and final Sri Lanka slide show)! Thank heavens. In the interest of completion, I can’t start on the Australia snaps until I’ve finished all the Sri Lanka photo tales.
On our way from the elephant orphanage we stopped for tea at a road house, where this adorable girl was lunching. We went on to the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, where we were descended upon by school groups who wanted to practice their English. We got stuck in a thunderstorm with school boys from an elite school in Colombo (all the above illustrated in the slide show), and chatted with a Muslim Sri Lankan selling ice creams at the refreshment stand who told us about the cruelty of the Buddhists (the majority religion in Sri Lanka). We heard this complaint from other Muslims and Hindus as well.
The next day we went north to Sigiriya, where a 5th century king had built a palace on top of a huge slab of granite. There was a big climb to see the remaining frescoes, more school children (right), and a great view. Andrea wasn’t terribly impressed by it all, but I was glad we climbed it.
We skipped some of the other sites and instead went for a swim in the river near Dambulla, which our driver recommended. There was a strong current on one side and we floated around in circles, battling out of the current back toward the rocks as not to be swept downstream. I swam in my pants and shirt as not to scandalize the locals who were there shaving, bathing, and laundering. The swim (pictured below) was the highlight of the excursion. Our driver (I’m blanking on his name) asked us not to tell the guesthouse owner he’d taken us swimming. Of course we wouldn’t.
We went back for our last night in Kandy, in our guesthouse with the great views. The next morning we took the train to Colombo and spent my last night in luxury at the Galle Face Hotel (Andrea stayed on in Sri Lanka for two more weeks, exploring the beaches between Colombo and Galle Fort. I went back to work.) The Galle Face Hotel was lovely.
My Colombo-Bangalore-London flight back was on Kingfisher. The flights were great, the food was great, the entertainment was great. I recommend them highly, though no one at JFK had heard of them or knew how to put our bags through when we left. And though the flight attendants were all stewardesses—old-fashioned, high-heeled, hyper-girly servants. On the Bangalore to London flight there were a number of bronzed, muscly, hippied-out ashtangis leaving Mysore. They made me smile. My London-NYC flight was on Virgin Atlantic, which was also quite good, though their customer service leaves something to be desired. Both airlines were light years better than my United flights from Sydney earlier this week.
That’s it! That’s the Sri Lanka saga. Did not finish it before Australia, but I finished it before launching into the Aussie photos. Coming soon.