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Sri Lanka

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We visited Sri Lanka a few weeks ago. I have not written about it because it was both a nice trip and a disappointing one all at the same time.  It was nice because we were on a tea plantation, way up in the hills, with great weather, AMAZING food, and  enjoyed a very peaceful, relaxing time. Disappointing because it was in the middle of NOWHERE, there was not anything to do or see, and as it was our first exploration of Sri Lanka, we did not learn that much about the country. It’s a tough call. Paul enjoyed it, I think it could have been better.

We were in Elkaduwa, which is about an hour from Kandy, which is in turn about 4 hours from the airport, which is after a 4 hr flight from Singapore. Flights into and out of Sri Lanka involve a lot of 1 am arrivals and 1 am departures.  Rather that risk a night drive thru the backwoods, we opted to stay for a few hours at a rest house near the airport, then depart around 8AM to Elkaduwa. Things got off to a bumpy start when, upon arrival, we asked for lunch and were shown a menu that had Hamburgers, Lasagna, and Fish and Chips. Paul almost grabbed out bags and left, but we asked gently, where’s the Sri Lankan food? The response was Oh? you want Curry and Rice? Well, that did not sound great, but it was something local at least, which when we travel is what we want. Curry and rice turned out to be a rather poor translation for a WONDERFUL meal of one protein curry, with 4 veggie curries and a big bowl of rice. Each dish a wonderful combinations of flavours. A tuna curry unlike any I have had, eggplant and onions slowed cooked until they are sweet and smokey, potatoes, okra, the list goes on. This was our meal for the 3 days we were there. Each time  was a different meat/chicken curry with different veggies. The vacation was saved.

Placated by the food, we set off to see what there was to do. Turns out, lots of hikes. Fair enough, the weather was lovely. There was a waterfall on property so we changed into some shorts and set off. One minor thing to keep an eye out for…leeches! oh my. Paul picked up two, I picked up one. Snarky little critters. A few sprays with some DEET and they dropped off but still, yuck! right?

But, the countryside was beautiful, and the waterfall was nice. The other fun thing was that we had escorts in the form of 2-3 dogs on our walks. Cute little guys, they had free range on the property and the moment we started out for a walk, they seemed to know and would come with us. You may know, we love animals, so it was great to have these guys with us, they were fun to watch. We also encountered a troop of monkeys near the plantation jumping from treetop to treetop.

Later as we were relaxing one of the dogs was laying at my feet under the table. Paul came to join me, and I said Oh watch out for the puppy under the table, we both looked and there was the dog laying down, but between his paws on the pavement was a leech making his way to my bare feet! I could not tell you the front from the back of a leech, but it would reach way up, wave a little bit and then arc down in the direction it seemed to want to go. Then repeat. Yikes! Paul grabbed a stick to flick it away, but this got the dogs attention and so it looked to see what we were doing and upon seeing the leech, casually bent down, licked it up and swallowed it.  Oh dear.  The dog, happy with itself, did a little turn to lie back down, which caused another leech that had been hanging to it to fall off, which in turns brought squeals from me to “get it, get it!”. Paul, trusty stick in hand attempted the flick maneuver again, which in turn got the dogs attention who once again, seeing the leech, casually had himself another snack. whew. You think that would be the end of it, but no, there was a THIRD leech to be had as well, and the process repeated itself all over again. Finally, leech free for the time being, the dog wandered off to lie down in the grass and after multiple cautious searching we determined there were no more leeches under the table and we could resume our laze about in peace and quiet.

So that was pretty much it. We ate, we walked, we played scrabble on the iPad, and we read some books. Could be worse I guess, I just wish I had not travelled so far to do it, I could have done the same thing in Bali. I would have liked to learn more about Sri Lanka. Next time we’ll see what we can do about that.


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