|Bas Relief of Charging Elephant, Polonuwarra|
I started to organise my pictures for draft posts on my recent 'round-the-world trip and realised I had not finished my reports of my 2015 visit to Sri Lanka. As time has passed and the memories fade this will be a pictorial report with a few brief notes to explain some of the pictures and localities.
After we left Kandy my driver took me to a spice plantation and factory. It was one of those obligatory stops, like the tea plantation, where the driver hopes for a commission from purchases; sadly for the drivers I rarely buy. I visited a similar establishment in Munnar where similar marvellous claims were made for the products. The tour was mildly interesting and the sales pitch at the end was not too pushy this time. But I still did not buy. These two appeared to be their big sellers; Stula Mardani for "Sliming Magic" (I'm not real keen on being slimed) and Suwa Sampatha (which is also the name of a Sri Lankan Health Insurance company) which claims miraculous improvements in whatever ails you.
Later I read some Tripadvisor reports; it seems I got off light and the pushy 'doctor' was off duty when I visited.
I stopped for lunch as we approached Dambulla at a roadside restaurant. The soup looked a bit strange but tasted delicious.
Dambulla is an odd mix of new and old. The massive golden seated Buddha looked very new.
Monkeys were everywhere and very cheeky as I climbed the combination of steps and rocky slopes to the ancient caves.
The climb in 35C (98F) heat was tiring but worth it. I could see why he lay down when he reached the summit.
Buddhists apparently believe it is impossible to have too much of a good thing.
And even more...
Sigiriya in the distance from Dambulla.
My driver, Nirmal.
My waitress at lunch on the way to Polonuwarra after a night in Sigiriya.
Click for a larger picture showing the story of Polonuwarra. I am always annoyed when I have paid to see a site and find pictures are forbidden. These were taken sneakily in the Polonuwarra museum.
Wandering the ruins at Polonuwarra, being watched by more monkeys.
On the way back to Sigiriya for the night I noticed a group watching TV in this open bar outside a hotel. Australia were playing Sri Lanka in the One-Day Cricket. I spent a pleasant couple of hours enjoying a beer or two and chatting to the other Aussies who had also stopped to watch. We won :)
This solitary elephant was thoroughly enjoying a cool paddle in the shallows.
Some day I will probably regret declining the hazardous 1200 steps to see the top of the Lion Rock. But, although my mind still thinks I am 25 my body reminded me I was 68 at the time. It is still pretty impressive from below.
I like to stop occasionally just to enjoy the serendipitous occasions when I am reminded of the beauty of nature. These Lotus pads and blossoms were by the road-side en-route to Anuradhapura.