Posted on by Opher
Sri Lanka – Ceylon, The pearl of the orient, the teardrop of India – probably a teardrop of joy as it was such a friendly exciting place.
We had quite a day – tearing round the streets in Tuk Tuks, interacting with elephants, king cobras, monkeys, weird ducks, pythons and egrets, visiting mosques, temples and shrines, lakes, palaces, parks and McDonalds, walking miles and being lurched around at great speed in a local bus.
We ate curry in a small café and drank glass after glass of coke, cream soda and iced chocolate shakes to combat the dehydration from the humid heat.
The bus ride on the local bus was an experience. You jumped on as it was moving and hung on for grim death as it hurtled through the streets wrenching you from side to side. Fortunately we were packed in so tight that you couldn’t fall over though getting off was extremely difficult – five miles for less than 15p
Colombo was a great city – not so crowded, chaotic or dirty as Chennai. The people were elegant and friendly but less colourful.
We saw snake charmers with king cobras and pythons, people with monkeys on lead and temples with elephants. I was extremely torn. I do not like the way animals are used to attract tourists and make money but at the same time they looked well and the animals were beautiful. To be d
The red mosque was extremely beautiful – what it must have looked like prior to the entire city being built around it. The Buddhist temple, on the festive day, was full of worshippers, offerings and incense and packed with an array of the most incredible assortment of things from stuffed elephants to vintage cars. It was more of a museum than a temple. I have rarely seen so many Buddhas but some of the engraved teak murals were spectacular as was the array of Buddhas and stupas and lavish ceiling paintings.
At the market there were guys mending your shoes while you wait, sitting there in the dirt with a box of needles, glue, thread, spare soles and bits and bobs – so resourceful.
Up in the Hindu temple near the port the breeze from the sea was cooling, the wonderful murals were illuminating, the acolytes, all dressed in white, friendly and smiley, the huge stupa splendid against the rouge of the setting sun. What a fitting end to a day of bustle, wonder, excitement and fun.
Ceylon it’s been good to know you.
Next stop Maldives!