Suitcase and World: August 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Afternoon in Hikkaduwa

After we finished our tour of Galle, we continued on our trip towards Colombo. We would be spending night in the popular oceanside town of Hikkaduwa. Of course, by now it was mid morning and we weren't hungry but this has been as much a trip to taste local foods as much as it has been as sightseeing trip. I have to admit, tried a few things that I still don't know the name for.....including this strange looking fruit that Chandana said grows in the backwaters (i.e. swamps) in this part of the country. The water is brackish and you can taste the saltiness in the juice. It's definitely an acquired taste and I have to give credit to my brother for acquiring the taste. Me? I took a sip to see what it was like but that was enough for me.

Morning in Galle.

t was an early rise this morning.  We had to pack our bags as we would be staying at another hotel tonight.  As always, we made it downstairs in plenty of time and waited out front for Chandana and Chami to arrive.  For some reason, the front porch was filled with flies. Luckily, it was a short wait as I was starting to lose my patience with having to swat away flies every few seconds.  So annoying.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Lazy Day.

After our visit to the Mirissa fish market, we stopped at a local restaurant for breakfast. By now I had lost track of how many meals of string hoppers, lentil curry and fish curry we had had. Still tasty but I have admit, getting a bit tiresome. The one unusual thing about this morning's meal was the hard boiled egg. It had a white yolk - yes, a white yolk!

I had never seen anything like that before but according to Chandana, it has something to do with the salt water here. Hmmm....don't know about that. I've been to many beach towns and have never seen an egg with a white yolk. Taste wise, it was no different from the regular yellow yolk.

Mirissa Fish Market.

We woke up before the crack of dawn this morning. It was still dark when we made our way to the front entrance of the hotel at 5:30am. Chami sooned joined us to wait for Chandana to arrive with the van. We were headed for the fish market at Mirissa. 

Flash forward about half hour and we're stepping out of the van. Dozens of men....I think I was the only woman in sight, were milling about the area alongside the boat dock.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pooja Festival. Dondra.

When Chandana left us behind with the stilt fishermen, I thought he was taking his family home. Instead, they met back up with us at the hotel a short while later. Crammed into the last two rows of seats in the van were Chandana's wife, his three kids and his mother in-law and behind them, a bunch of his neighbors! I don't even know how many neighbors were back there. I felt bad that my brother and I had the entire first row to ourselves and I offered for his family to move up, especially his mother in-law, but they all wanted to be together.

Stilt Fishermen.

Earlier this morning, I had spotted the stilts, sticking out of the water at Polhena Beach and I made Chandana promise to bring us back tonight to see if the fishermen would be here. After all, they don't publish a schedule of fishing times so it would either be lucky and see fisherman or unlucky and just see poles.

Relaxing. Beach and Village.

Today, we spent the morning at the beach and the afternoon in the village.  It was a nice lazy which was good because the night would be packed with activity.

Our "doorman" at the hotel, a very handsome and friendly Dalmatian
When Chandana dropped us off last night, we had agreed to meet up with Chami at 8:30a this morning. The guy was keen and eager to get going because at 8:15a, he was knocking on our door to see if we were ready.

We were ready at 8:30a and headed out to the front of the hotel. Surprisingly, Chami was nowhere to be seen. I was guessing he had gone back to his room and lost track of time. No matter, we're not in rush.

Soon enough he appeared and we followed out to the road - which was pretty much just one lane.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Road trip to the beach.

I heard our house hostess rustling about outside our room. Once I'm awake, I'm awake so I quietly got out of bed, washed up and took a walk around the garden.  We're high up in the tropical highland and the air was crisp and cool.  We arrived in the dark last night so I had no idea what the landscape, around us, looked like.  We were in the middle of the jungle....literally.  There was lush, tropical vegetation all around us.

The house itself is a very simple structure.  The one unusual thing is that the roof actually stands above the house itself so there is a gap, under the eaves, to let air in. 

Inside, the house was immaculate - all the furniture was covered with slipcovers and the glossy marble floor was spotlessly clean.  It's obvious our hostess takes a lot effort to keep her house clean.  With it being so open to the outdoors, it must be quite a chore to just dust.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Burning off some calories. Horton Plains.

From Nuwara Eliya, we continued our way towards Horton Plains National Park. Earlier in our trip, Chandana had mentioned that if wanted to, he could arrange for us to climb up Adam's Peak which is located inside the park.  It would mean getting up at some ungodly hour, like 1am and hiking through the night to get to the top in time to see the sunrise. "No, thank you" was my reply. For a few minutes, my brother was interested and I didn't want to hold him back so I told him to go ahead. Either Chandana or Chami or both guys would go along with him so he should be okay and he had the proper shoes with him as well.

But, after more thought, he opted out as well so we're coming to Horton Plains just to hike some trails but not climb a peak. I was perfectly happy with that....I can burn off some calories without having to kill myself :-)

By late morning, we had left the tea plantations behind but the hills were still green and rolling and the weather still cool. I felt like I was back home on a cloudy spring day.

Ah....finally a bit of cool weather. Nuwara Eliya.

Yesterday's final destination was the hill station of Nuwara Eliya which is pronounced "New-rail-ia". Yes, I completely mispronounced it until Neil corrected me but you have to admit, it's not spelled anything like the way it's pronounced :-)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic.

Poor guy, he got tired of me asking him to pose and smile for photos.

Today we're leaving Kandy and we've yet to visit the Temple of the Tooth (formally known as the Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple). It's not only the temple that hosts the Esala Perahera but more importantly, it's where the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha is (supposedly) housed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Esala Perahera. The 5th Randoli.

Oh, I was so excited for tonight to roll around. We spent the day sightseeing and it was fun and all but I couldn't wait to return to the viewing stand at the Queen's Hotel to see the final night time parade of the Esala Perahera. More performers! More elephants!

Where the natives live.

After our morning walk at Perediniya, Chandana asked if we would be interested in seeing how native i.e., aboriginal Sri Lankans live. We didn't have anything better to do so what the heck, we said, "Yes". I had absolutely no idea what we were in for but I'm always up for a bit of adventure.