Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka_Elephant_Cropped_2015-02-13

 

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2/2: Have not been in touch. Thinking of you in Sri Lanka. Writing this email from the hotel manager’s office.It is a beautiful country with friendly people, and wonderful archeological sites. But it is in the 90s in the middle of the day. It rained a bit today. Please keep in touch and let me know how things are at Flemington.

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2/2: I am sitting listening to all kinds of jungle sounds. Sri Lanka strikes me as being a more civilized, and more advanced society than India. And it is no surprise because the entire population of 21 million of the whole country is about the same as Greater Bombay. They have a barely functioning democracy. People are more literate and educated.
But anyway the main point I guess is that and I miss you and wish you were with me although you would have grumbled at the heat and humidity in the middle of the day. Right now and me night it is in the seventies and quite pleasant

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2/3: Another rather rainy and muggy day. But saw another bunch of 3rd Century BC to 4th Century AD Stupas, monuments and carving all in two World Heritage Sites== Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. I read that part of Rutgers was closed for a while? Tomorrow to the other old capital of Kandy where the Sacred Tooth Temple holds the Buddha’s relic.

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2/4: I cannot use my laptop because very foolishly I left the charger behind in Bombay. So I’m using voice recognition on my phone. Just arrived in Kandy the former capital of Sri Lanka and the religious center of Buddhism for this country. It is another beautiful place .. a city in the valley off the Mahaveli Valley River surrounded by hills and beautiful countryside. It is at an elevation of 1700 feet and so quite cool in the evening even without an air conditioner. By contrast this morning was absolutely horrible I got covered entirely with sweat. I climbed up a hill and really it was like a giant boulder six hundred and fifty feet high.

Imagine a stone or Boulder six hundred and fifty feet high with no way to access it except by ladders which is why it was used in the 13th century as a defensive fortification with a king’s palace on the top with its self contained water source and pools etc. Anyway the way to access the top now is true steel letter is fixed to be vertical side of the boulder. It was raining part of the time with hundred percent humidity and about 80 degree heat and I was completely drenched with sweat. Halfway up however there are really beautiful frescoes from the 3rd century in the same style as a janta in Maharashtra.The view from the top was spectacular

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2/4: Nina went shopping and had an Ayurvedic massage and spa treatment, which she did not like at all. . . . Although yesterday Nina managed to make her way up 200 feet to a set of Buddhist caves after several stops along the way to . . . . Well for the most part we’re sitting in the car and whizzing by beautiful country.

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2/6: I’m a bit concerned because I read that it’s only seven degrees in Flemington. Here I am in a hotel room sitting next to a fireplace. It is about 40 degrees outside because I am at six thousand one hundred and seventy feet above sea level in Srilanka’s Tea country. Quite a change from the lowland areas. This town was founded by the British and the tea planters who liked the conditions which are similar to England. But the topography is magnificent. Giant hills. Rivers. Waterfalls. Temperate zone vegetation. Tomorrow I descend back down near sea level to visit a nature preserve.

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2/7: This morning descended from 6200 feet down to sea level near the ocean and went to Yala National Park in a Jeep to see animals. Most of the sightings were unremarkable such as crocodiles, peacocks, mongooses, deer and so on. But the highlight was when two wild Tuskers approached our Jeep. He refused to give way and I would not say that he charged the jeep. However he came very close like two feet from my face. The park ranger accompany us tried to protect me by jumping up in front of me and waving his arms. I could have sworn that the tip of the elephant’s ear actually came inside the open jeep. Nina was so scared that she just hid her face. The Tusker then quickly backed off and went behind our Jeep and continued on his way. The other Tusker was more scared of the Jeep then vice-a-versa and would back away from our vehicle. In order to give us some excitement the driver kept backing up and following the second Tusker. Otherwise nothing remarkable happened. I wanted to get out of the Jeep and walk around by myself but they would not allow it. The parts of the park near the Indian ocean are a scrub forest Perhaps further inland there are taller trees

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2/8: Today nothing remarkable except that I had a lovely swim in the Indian Ocean with waves big enough to knock me over several times and also in the villa infinity pool overlooking the sea and sunset sky.  In the ocean I practiced body surfing and succeeded in catching three big waves which took me more than 50 feet to the shore. The rest of the time diving under the waves and listening to the millions of bubbles popping was quite a thrill.

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2/8: There are no adventures planned. Just looking at the historic town of Galle known from Roman times. The guide book says that while the town has grown modern, inside the fort many buildings remain from the 16th century Dutch and Portuguese in character. I hope to do some snorkeling in the afternoon.

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2/9: Yes I may be having a good time but it would be so much better if you were with me. To call it a Farok type of trip is really in accurate to say the least. I am on a fairly standard itinerary which most tourists with a car and driver follow. I suppose if there were more time available we could spend a few more days in each place but that would extend the whole trip to 3 weeks which is something a German couple this morning that we met in the tea shop we’re doing. Anyways Sri Lanka is a lovely country with very gentle and friendly people much better off than India. Very worth visiting with lots of ancient Buddhist sites, beautiful beaches, giant hills and verdant vales. A few places for the damage of excessive number of tourists but all in all the hand of terrorism is very light on the landscape and traditional ways of living are evident everywhere. The villa we were in yesterday was furnished in traditional Sri Lanka furniture styles and decor despite being said in a very architecture only pleasing modern set of villas

 

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