Heck if I don't write about the rest of my Sri Lanka trip soon I will have forgotten most of it, and I don't want to do that as this here blog is my online "diary". So here we go. After leaving Ngombo we headed up to Nuwarawewa where the hotel was sooooo
much better than the first night. In fact, I had three double beds in my room but Miserable Pete managed to do one better and have five in his room! I told him the party was at his place that night - and everyone laughed except for Miserable Pete - aka - "He Who Should Never Bother Travelling"!
|Our hotel - The Lakeside Nuwarawewa!|
A strange thing happened when we went down to dinner that evening though as while we were sitting there chatting a group of about 20 older Indian women in saris came over and sat down next to us and just started taking pictures of us at our table. No chatting, no "do you mind" - they just sat there, took their pictures and then got up and left. I tell you it was like being prize exhibits in the zoo - but everyone seemed to want to get their pictures taken with us. The little kids did this too - not that they wanted money or anything. They would just come over and mime "can we have our picture taken with you" and off they ran giggling. But they, at least, were sweet. Katie, one of our group who was employed by the tour operator to take pictures, had come along with her boyfriend, Luke. Luke was a rather handsome, well built and extremely sociable young man. Problem was, that evening Katie decided to have an early night and all of a sudden Luke was "swarmed" by a group of older (maybe 60-something) Indian women all wanting to have their picture taken with him! But he took it in good sport and was laughing about it. (The next morning when we got on the bus I told him that 20 Indian grandmas had been looking for him to say goodbye and he burst out laughing)!
What was interesting too was that our guide told us to watch the two other foreign groups at the buffet, saying that it was lucky we got there early but "just watch this". He said "group 1" would take their food and then stand at the buffet rather than sit down so that they could just keep "shovelling it in". And "group 2" would pile their plates so high that the food would be falling off their plates before they could get back to their tables! And he was right! Now I would have said, given his description, that he would have been talking about European groups because sometimes I am just so ashamed at how they behave at the buffet. But not a bit of it. These were two, different nationality, Asian tour groups and he was bang on! I suppose we all have our "foibles" but it was interesting to hear him describe the behaviours in groups of people who I would never have expected to behave like that. I noticed afterwards that the hotel staff would ask us if we wanted a meat dish and if we said yes they would put it on our table rather than put it out at the buffet, because if you didn't get there before these two groups you wouldn't get any! And sadly that held true throughout the trip! Oh well!
But moving seamlessly on, after breakfast we headed out to Mihintale which is where, it is believed, the monk Mahinda met King Devanampiyatissa, thus introducing Bhuddism to Sri Lanka. This involved climbing 1,840 steps! Yes, you read that right! 1,840!!!! which actually wouldn't have been so bad because there were flat areas in between. The killer, however, was the heat, and I was puce in the face by the time I arrived (barefoot) at the top! To add to my embarrassment, though, there was a group of (Cambodian, I think) tourists also visiting the shrine and I would guess their average age was 70! All dressed up in traditional dress, barefoot, and slogging up but not even breaking a sweat! Hats off to them, is all I can say!
|Call me a pleb but I couldn't resist this picture of one monkey checking the other's butt for bugs!|
After that it was on to Lake Hiriwaduna. We took a bullock cart for the short ride to the lake and then on to canoes over to the village where we were served local food in a hut with elephant wires around it! Fascinating. We ate with our hands so it was a bit strange to us but everyone got stuck in, except He Who Should Never Travel, aka Miserable Pete!
That's not my picture - I couldn't get a decent one because I was trying to stop "Miserable Pete"
from falling in! Sorry, I couldn't find where to attribute it!
|Invasive Japanese "???" on Lake Hiriwadunna!|
An interesting point our guide made was that the Sri Lankans had deliberately introduced this plant to the lake in order to prevent the Japanese from crossing the lake in the event of an invasion during WWII! They called it "Japanese …." - and I can't for the life of me remember what he called it - but it was introduced because it was so invasive that it would (hopefully) prevent the Japanese from crossing the lake. I don't think it was put to the test but we had problems getting ashore trying to navigate these plants!
After that it was on to the World Heritage Site of the Dambulla Caves. I didn't try to get photos inside the caves because they just wouldn't have come out but they were impressive! Sorry, I don't always seem able to attribute these photos - I found them on google!
Our guide told us that they think
that when the sleeping buddha has his feet one on top of the other it was because he was dead, but if his feet were slightly misaligned it would be because he was sleeping!
Like I say, fascinating stuff!
Another useless bit of information was that it was so hot
and we had to take our shoes off before entering the site (and cover our arms and knees of course). Well I had left my socks in the bus like most of the others and so I was trekking barefoot to these caves and it almost burned the soles of your feet off! Okay, they had placed small amounts of fabric on the floor where possible so that people could try to hop from one bit to the next but where oh where was Dudley Moore's "manservant" in "10" when you needed him to carry you over hot sands!