“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sri Lanka plans

Rachi recommends:

Kandy/Dalada Maligawa
Pinnawala elephant orphanage
sandy beaches

Colm recommends:
Kandy by overnight moonlit train
Shopping in Colombo--Barefoot, Paradise Rd, Odel

Making plans for Sri Lanka was something that I put off and when I had barely 20 minutes left of my flight, I realized that I just wouldn't get there. Anyway, it didn't matter because I knew where I was sleeping that night. Thank you Liz Dent!! An old colleague/friend from Kuwait had wonderfully offered me her home and hospitality. Wasn't it funny for her in the staff room that morning to discover that a colleague of hers also had an old student coming in that night! Wait: it was the same person: me! What a small world we live in!

The Burt-Mahons and Liz toured me around Colombo to all the spots--Galle Face Road, Gallery Cafe, and Odel (many other choices were shut for the new year), and I was surprised by the security everywhere. This time, what with the corniche and the road blocks, I felt like I was in Beirut!

On Sunday, I joined the Burts on their family vacation to Mirissa in the south--lovely beaches, and amazing to see all the developments since the Tsunami (honestly, if it had been Burma, it would truly have been a tragedy because they'd never have recovered... idly, I wonder how Banda Aceh's doing?). It was a pretty hair-raising drive. Small roads do have their drawbacks no matter how good they are!

I want a house in Galle old city! The fort town was just lovely--similar to Morocco's Essaouira but more gently and less pedestrian based. Once in Mirissa, had a seafood BBQ and a lovely swim, I was set!! The sand was very pervasive--every crevice filled, eyes included! Amazing to see tankers passing in front (did you know they used to WALK elephants across from India, because it's that shallow?) and even more so to know that they are frolicking with the whales there (or the whales with them).

Next step: rent a driver for the ancient cities!

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