And then there were two....
Trip Start Sep 02, 2010
45Trip End Jun 14, 2011
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Where I stayed
Beach Villa Guest House, Negombo
Lakshmi Guesthouse, Kandy
Seena Inn, Dambulla
Anyway, I thought you might like to know I'm still alive; and now I have company in the form of Miss Charlotte Davies!!
My arrival in Sri Lanka was fine; I took myself up to Negombo beach and settled in a guesthouse there. Though the beach seemed quiet, I soon had the locals 'offering' conversation... mostly in the form of 'you like me for f^*king?'. Exactly; I almost choked too... at first I thought they were asking 'you like me for funny?'. No... they mean business here! Anyway, I got rid of them in the politest way I could and ended up bumping into a brit guy named Lee at the shops. We ended up having sundowners on the beach (me deciding to drink Gin and Tonics... served in 100ml measures, I'll have you know), then dinner at my hotel. Don't get too excited - he looked like Timmy Mallett, but still, he was good company, until I made a swift exit at 10pm to go and puke up my twelfth gin
Next day I took a walk up the beach - with more offers from the men. At least they were a bit more romantic up the north end, claiming 'I love you' before adding 'you come see me tomorrow for sex?'. Ha! On the plus side, I met a young Sri Lankan girl who walked me back along the beach asking questions about England, and even holding my hand and pulling me away from the men, bless her!
Charlotte arrived in the afternoon; how weird was that. Her first comment was 'oh my god, you actually look like a traveller'. Well, yes, I suppose my wardrobe has changed considerably from the original contents! It was a bit intense at first; I had so much to tell her, so we caught up most of the afternoon, then headed to Colombo for a massive festival including 50 elephants all lit up, stilt walkers, flame throwers, dancers and a LOT of drums. Out of all that I think Charlotte and I most enjoyed watching the baby elephant retaliating against the procession, instead deciding to try and kick the shit out of it's owner, ha! It wasn't so nice when they chained him up though, he was obviously distressed. As were Charlotte and I, incidently, when we found ourselves walking in the middle of the procession trying to find our way out!! I think more Sri Lankans were watching us than the artists
So, next day we headed north to Kandy. Against her prostests, I wanted Charlotte and I to go visit some temples and ruins... Charlotte seemed to be under the impression that we'd be sleeping in til 10 and lying on the beach all day. Well, no, that's not how I roll... it's up at 7.30am and on to the next adventure! She enjoyed it though. We settled in Kandy (hill country and very very hot), and went to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (basically, Buddha's tooth). It was ok, but considering you paid 20quid to get in and you couldn't see the tooth, for it being in a caged casket, it was a bit of a let down. Charlotte getting attacked by a monkey on the way in, on the other hand.... :)
We grabbed some lunch in town (Charlotte was very impressed by my eating with the right hand technique - oh yes, India's made me a pro), before heading back to the hotel for some drinks on the balcony where we met two Sri Lankan guys who insisted on us eating chicken and chillis with them. They were a laugh, though it didn't go down too well when I asked them if Buddha drank beer as well. Open mouth, insert foot.
They offered to organise a tuk tuk to take us to the Elephant Orphanage the next morning, which we agreed to - why not? - though as the hotel manager was friends with them, it all had to be hush hush so he wouldn't find out they'd screwed him over; he wanted to organise the transport for us and make a mark up. So, next morning, Charlotte and I go down the road, as instructed, only to find no tuk tuk. Great. We were about to give up and start flagging some down, when suddenly, the curly haired guy from last night (I can't spell or pronounce his name, so lets call him Curly for now), turned up with a tuk tuk; he'd got up early before work to make sure we got in one
So, off we went to the Elephant Orphanage, which I have to say was absolutely incredible. I never thought I'd enjoy seeing Elephants anywhere but in the wild after Kenya, but these youngsters were so happy and entertaining, I could have sat there all day watching them. You got to stand right by them (well, with a row of 3 inch high rocks inbetween you as 'protection'), and plenty of them were friendly enough - coming over to inspect us. At one point the Matriarch trumpetted though, and suddenly they all got a bit aggressive. Needless to say, I moved quite quickly, however was left stood 7metres away looking helplessly at my bag - that I'd left behind in panic - on the ground about 10inches from an elephants foot! 'Please don't squish my camera!, I was thinking, but risked a 'calm walk' up to the elephants to retrieve it - and escaped unharmed, whoo!
After that it was time to watch the elephants take their bath at the nearby river. We were all hoarded across the road and down to the river bank, where we stood - waiting, waiting - with guys trying to sell us bananas to feed the elephants, but waiting. Then, all of a sudden, about 80+ elephants came marching down towards us! It was the most amazing sight, they were literally inches away as they passed us
We sat there for a good 2 hours watching the elephants in the river... it was so entertaining; there were babies, youngsters wrestling, adults - ahem - enjoying themselves (!). We ended up buying some bananas from Mr.Stupidface and fed the elepahnts on their way out of the river. Again, Charlotte got a bit flustered when they all came running at her - but I enjoyed it as usual. Unless I know they're upset, I feel perfectly calm around them. God, I sound like I'm the frigging Elephant Whisperer, don't I?
Charlotte hadn't experienced elephant riding or bathing, so we found a place nearby that did that for a decent price (after a heavy negotiating session on my part). Charlotte loved it - though the bathing was a bit weird; the guy who was taking photos of us kept telling us to lie in these strange positions on the elephant
That night I suggested to Charlotte that we should go for a drink; she agreed. So, we went on the hunt for a place names in Lonely Planet as 'Pub'. This was an uphill mission in ridiculous heat; our make up had melted off by the time we got there. Oh, and when we did get there, it was closed!! Stupid Lonely Planet - they've got so much wrong information on this place; I could write a better guide.
So, after some wandering around sweating in the darkness, we finally hailed a tuk tuk and told him to take us to a bar. Now, bars are hard things to find unless your'e in a tourist area, so we thought we might end up dropped at some shack, but to our surprise, he took us to a beautiful bar set on a balcony with fairylights, looking out over the city ...AND they had Chilean Sauvignon Blanc! Ahhh - heaven. Well, it was, until the guys from the night before 'happened' to turn up. Charlotte and I were having a great catch up - discussing boys, life - my business ideas for Kenya (oh yeah,I'm still on that, by the way), when they're like 'HELLO!'
I managed to get them to leave us for a bit, but as they'd helped us out that morning, I felt bad and we invited them to join us. Again, their company was good - but got a LOT better when Curly whacked out a packet of Gems (turns out he's a gem dealer here - Charlotte was finally interested). They even let us pick one each (woop!), before offering to take us to a nearby hotel for a karaoke night - sorry, did someone say 'karaoke'?! Count. Me. In.
Charlotte thought we were crazy going with these two, but I felt ok around them - I'm using my instincts a lot more now I'm travelling, and they're usually right
The next day, Charlotte and I headed to Dambulla (I was stupidly hungover) - in the Ancient Cities region. By jove it was hot. I don't think my clothes have ever been that soaked through with sweat before. We visited the Cave Temples in the afternoon - though we assumed a 'cave' would involve going down stairs, not up 400 of them!! That was not fun. There was also an amazing giant Buddha there, and a hell of a lot of beggars. It was pretty though, and Charlotte and I had fun trying to take 'artistic' photos on the way round.
Next day (after trying to catch our little friend Colin the Cockroach in our room) was another 'up and out' - we headed to Pollonawura, an old capital city that now lies in ruins amongst palm trees. At first we thought it was going to be a let down (more so Charlotte who wasn't enjoying my cultural trips - missy wants a tan), but the different sites just got better - and Charlotte even said she'd had a good time, though I kind of think she more enjoyed leaving me to chat to the seller men and watching me try to escape!
So yes, that was my Tuesday - Sunday in Sri Lanka; I'll write up the rest next time. All is well and I'm enjoying Charlotte's company. It's nice to be able to let my guard down a bit for once - I love travelling on my own, but it does get exhausting fending for yourself all the time
I really like Sri Lanka, though I am missing India. This place is like India toned down 5 notches - in regards to noise, colour, smells, sights and cultural identity. Here it's a lot cleaner, relaxed, developed and more western influenced - which is great, though I did find India more of a 'feast for the senses' - everywhere you looked you'd see something that shocked or amused you.
Ok, I'm going to shut up now - you'll be hearing more from me in a few days anyway.
Love to all of you - hope England/Australia/Scotland/Asia etc is treating you well xxx