Ever had a panic attack in a Buddhist temple? Me neither, but boy, I was pretty close.
We visited the sacred ‘Temple of the Tooth’ in Kandy. The temple protects Buddah’s tooth in a phenomenal golden casket. The crowds cluster and swarm to see such a spectacle. Adam encouraged us to push and shove. “Push past, stay with me, otherwise we will never see it!” I did my best to obey and queue jumped like I’ve never queue jumped before. I actually quite enjoyed being rude. It felt very unnatural but reminded me of my theatre days. It’s just being another character. Yes Mum, that’s the spirit! Elbows out! No sorrys here! We’re here for the tooth!
I only saw it for a second and then the crowds got so bad out of no where I suddenly found myself in what can only be described as a mosh pit at a rowdy music festival. A large boob hit me right in the face. I got stuck under someone’s armpit. Still giving it my best efforts to get a photo of the tooth casket, someone fell into me and I lost my balance, accidentally hitting some poor woman really hard on the head with my phone.
I got the photo. Just. Blurred though.
Then the heart palpitations started. I needed to get out. And fast.
We arrived safely in Nuwara Eliya. A beautiful town, up in the Sri Lankan hills, 6,000ft above sea level.
Sri Lanka is such a luscious green country, and here in particular, the greenery really glows.
We left the hotel at 6am to take on a hike in Horton Plains. The route was about 9k and allowed us to see an amazing view called ‘World’s End’ and a waterfall called ‘Bakers Falls.’ The whole way around it sounded like a wooden xylophone remix… Frogs.
The climate is more like Britain here. Fresh. And of course, rain. Luckily the sun shone for our hike, but in the afternoon back in Nuwara Eliya, the heavens opened.
Speaking of British, are we Brits comfortable making complaints? Goodness no. Well actually, we moan all the time, but just to ourselves, or just to our friends or partner. But making a formal complaint? That would be far too uncomfortable. We’d rather just act polite and continue to be miserable.
Must say, much to my Mum’s (and my boyfriends!) disappointment, I buck the trend here. I really don’t mind complaining. Of course, I would never complain for ‘complainings sake,’ but if I strongly believe something is not right, or something is unfair, well then, that ought to be put right. Now I don’t generally expect luxury (unless I’m promised it), and my standards are actually generally pretty low as I enjoy ‘roughing it.’ But my standards are extremely high in how people should be treated – manners, respecting others, keeping promises etc.
Mum and I specifically requested a vegetarian breakfast picnic to take on our hike. I didn’t request it as a joke. I requested it because we are vegetarian. So when we were promised cheese sandwiches but served salami, I believe we had every right to complain. Mum cringed and creased. “No it’s fine! We’ll just buy something else! Don’t create a scene.”
Didn’t listen. I sought out the hotel food manager. I politely told him I was very disappointed in the service provided when we had made a specific request, having to go on hungry on our hike. (Ok, I exaggerated here: we were also given croissants, muffin, yogurt, cereal bar, banana, orange and an apple so we weren’t exactly going to starve). But anyway, he was very kind and apologetic (he probably sniffed the risk of a bad trip advisor review!) We had only paid for Bed & Breakfast, but he made it his priority that we were treated like queens for the rest of our stay, and were offered an excellent vegetarian dinner which happened to include, quote Mum, ‘one of the best desserts’ she’s ever had. All complimentary.
“You’re welcome Mum…”
Why don’t we have hoppers in the UK? They’re so yummy! Super thin pancake cups made of rice flour. Either with an egg in the middle or just plain, dipped in spicy chilli. Salty, zingy, delicious! The Sri Lankan’s sometimes have it with their breakfast, or as a mid morning snack. Or an afternoon snack. Or maybe as a snack before dinner on their way back from work. We also tried a savoury jackfruit snack. YUM again. All yum. Always yum. Maybe if I lived here I would start to crave one of our classics: choccie digestives dunked in a cuppa. But not yet. Sri Lanka is too great.
Spent 7 and a half hours in a car today. That was shite. But all part of travel.
Nothing else to report.
Last day spent on Beruwala beach. It’s been a quiet one. I’ve felt a little under the weather, perhaps prematurely feeling the end of holiday blues. Swollen glands too. Goodness knows why.
It’ll be a full day of travel tomorrow. More than a full day in fact. Probably consisting of worrying about the work inbox, reflecting on the cultural whirlwind we have experienced and also giggling at some of the classic moments we have had. A couple which I missed in the blog and just must share;
Before climbing Sigiriya, when at the entrance and getting our tickets, a loudspeaker announcement startled us. Then loud music began to play. It was upbeat. Jolly. We joked and laughed and bobbed up and down doing silly dance moves. Then to our shock horror, we see 100s of others around us, respectfully stood tall, silent, hands behind their backs. It was the Sri Lankan national anthem!!! We must have looked so disrespectful! (lol though).
Another moment of hilarity was trying some of the traditional Sri Lankan foods. One caught my eye. Didn’t know what it was but it was wrapped up in a leaf and looked exotic.
“Vegetarian?” I asked.
The lady nodded her head. I gestured to buy one.
I assumed it would be salty and spicy. Wrong. It was sweet as sweet can be, like treacle, but grainy and coconutty. I bit straight in. Chew chew chew.
Our new Sri Lankan friend, Adam, burst out laughing when he saw me. “You don’t eat the leaf!!!!’
So lessons learned:
Sri Lanka is beautiful. Genuinely beautiful. The scenery, the food, the sweet smell of cinnamon.
The people are warm, kind, and many are blessed with gorgeous smiles.
I would love to return one day. I encourage you to visit if ever you get the chance. But remember, don’t eat the leaf.