Sri Lanka

I got my bag!! …and about 12783 mossie bites…

Good news !! I finally got my rucksack and ALL MY CLOTHES AND TOILETRIES from Colombo airport. After 4 days without any of my own stuff I decide to bite the bullet and make the 8 hour round trip back down to the capital from Anuradhapura and then head east to Kandy which is where I am now.

I feel a lot more settled now I have everything I need, especially my mosquito spray. My legs and ankles have been absolutely chewed by the wee buggers so I’ve had to source out a Sri Lankan equivalent of tiger balm to try and calm the swelling and redness. Oh the joys.

Kandy is amazing and the journey from Colombo airport to here was what an experience. My friend Emily came with me to collect my bag and then we decided to take a PUBLIC bus for the subsequent 3 hour leg to the next destination. After waiting at the side of the road on the bus, we lost patience and decided to flag a tuk-tuk to take us to Negombo bus station where we’d then take the bus to Kandy. But about 500m into the ride, the driver points to an oncoming bus and shouts ‘KANDY BUS 400 rupees to chase’ so we threw the 2 quid at him and proceeded to weave in and out of motorbikes and cars trying to flag down the bus to take us to Kandy with GREAT success. The driver welcomed us with a massive smile and pointed to one singular seat that was left on the whole bus, agreeing we’d take turns standing and sitting.

We were crammed in amongst the locals and paid only 159 rupees (or 75p!) and settled in for the ride as much as we could. The way Sri Lankan’s drive is enough to make anyone a little bit queasy and just as you were starting to relax the brakes would slam on again and you’d be thrown into the passenger next to you.

On arrival we got some directions to our hotel and made our way there, getting lost, giving in and eventually hailing a tuktuk to get us moving in the right direction.

Kandy really is lovely. Its the second biggest city in Sri Lanka full of cultural sites and rammed with things to see and do. Our first port of call was to climb the massive hill to see the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue and get a glimpse of the views it has over the entire city (see below).

Tonight we’re heading to a cultural dance show, followed by dinner and no doubt drinks as well. It’s so cheap here its insane, but this gal is on a budget for the next year so it’s important I don’t go mental. I’ve not got much room to be stocking up on Sri Lankan tea, much to my grans dismay, and plus I’ll have to lug it all around the world with me so I’m not so keen on that.

The only negative about Sri Lanka in my opinion is the tourist sites really try their best to extort backpackers out of as much money as possible. It’s the same everywhere but more so in Sri Lanka. There’s separate entrances for locals and for ‘foreigners’ for example the elephant sanctuary entrance fee for locals is a mere 100 rupees whereas if I were to go it would be 2000 for the same experience.

Another thing that’s a must see is the markets under the subway rail flyover. Here is where the locals buy their food and you can find it all about 10x cheaper than in supermarkets and in street shops. We made like the locals and bought our breakfast here, avoiding the meat sections like the plague with raw chickens laying around with price tags on them. No wonder we’re all so quick to get Delhi Belly when we come to these places, our stomachs are so used to the sanitary conditions back home we forget how other people in the world live and eat on a day to day basis.

I’ll finish this post with some photos from the past couple of days. I’m excited to see the rest, and soon I’ll be heading down to the coast for some surfing, beach days and to hike up Adams Peak, the highest peak in Sri Lanka known as the ‘edge of the world’.

Stay tuned for more!

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