How to describe Sri Lanka… well it would have to be indescribable!
I guess we were fortunate that we arrived on a Saturday, so the traffic was less then during the week and so it took us only 2.5 hours to do 70 kms.
Of course describing traffic is another thing people who have never been just won’t believe it. So you are driving along hurtling at 70km on a 2 lane road (highway would be stretching the imagination) sharing the road with tuktuks, trucks, motorcycles and buses. Now buses are interesting, there is no dedicated bus companies as such, rather buses compete. Imagine buses trying to complete for the next lot of passengers…speed is the key and you want to get to the next stop before the next guy, oh, and of course there are people hanging out of them. We had several near misses. Buses coming straight for you with a motorcycle in between and a cow on the side walk, no where to go, just close your eyes and hope you don’t hit something. Needless to say we survived the bus ride!
The country side is beautiful, rugged and lush. Getting on the road early we saw flocks of bats settling for a days snooze. They are huge and very impressive. We stopped at the pineapple village where we tried pineapple sprinkled with chilli salt. Gives a nice twist to pineapple. We recommend you try it. We then stopped at the cashew village and tried the freshest and best cashews ever!
Our drive up to Pennawella following the windy and subtropical hills to the elephant sanctuary. Magical is the only way to describe it. As we arrived the elephants were having a play in the river, rolling in the mud, wallowing in the water, moving bits of logs from here and there, babies snuggling to mothers and mothers watching over the little ones. Magic! We had the most amazing lunch along the riverbank while the elephants continued to play.
Did you know you can make paper out of elephant dung? Yep, very nice too. Doesn’t smell at all. They told us because elephants are vegetarians there poo is all fibre so great for paper. Who ever knew.
The drive back was no less harrowing as the drive to the sanctuary.
On the way home we saw a water buffalo sitting by the side of the road, a monkey dressed in velvet, turkeys entering a shop, elephants in a truck, people drying their clothes on the mud banks as well as on barb wire and a dog stop traffic.
Entry back into the port was interesting too. Sri Lanka is still on high alert so our van was checked thoroughly, mirror under the bus and all!
With some last minute shopping we boarded the ship and headed off across the Indian Ocean.
So here is a quiz:
1. What country was formerly known as Ceylon?
2. Can you walk a porcupine on a lead?
3. Do elephants travel by truck?
4. How do you pass 2 on coming vehicles on a 2 lane road?
5. What can you make out of elephant poo?
6. How do you get an elephant to cross the road?
7. Why did the turkey cross the road?
8. How do people dry their clothes
9. Is orange a colour of a coconut?
10. What do elephants love to do?
1. Sri Lanka 2. Only in Sri Lanka 3. Only in Sri Lanka 4.Close your eyes and pray 5. paper, of course 6. Just call 7. To shop of course 8. On mud banks and barb wire 9. Yes, good for drinking and as IV fluid 10. rolling in the mud
I will try to upload some pictures when we reach Aqaba. Unfortunately, the ship’s internet just can’t handle pictures.