Tuesday, July 16, 2013

sri lanka: part two

We continued on to the more secluded coastal town of Tangalle.  Here we stayed in a little shack right on the ocean.  Many people wouldn't attempt to go in the water because the rip current was so strong, but having grown up in New England we were up for the challenge.  Swimming in a new ocean is exciting, and the Indian Ocean was a very salty and a welcome break from the heat.

The moon in Tangalle was the most amazing thing I have ever seen, bigger and brighter than I could have ever imagined.

I love the beach but can only relax for so long.  We took a day trip to the Mulkirigala rock temple by tuk tuk.

 We pressed on to the dusty town of Tissamahara, where touts were waiting in droves for any sign of a tourist.  Tissa is really the only option for semi-budget accommodation while visiting Yala national park for Safari.  We splurged again on a more upmarket place after being overwhelmed by a long, crowded and pressure filled bus ride.  Sri Lanka doesn't quite know yet what western tourists want.  Upmarket in Sri Lanka must be taken with a grain of salt.  There will be a bland buffet, there will not be good wifi, there will still be bugs/dirt/noise/smelly water & smelly towels, and service is awkward but genuine.

If you head out on Safari, be prepared to leave before sunrise to search for the elusive leopards.  We didn't spot any, but had a wonderful time bouncing around in the jeep through the coastal plains.

tsunami damage still remains

 this was definitely an "is the elephant suppose to get this close" moment as our jeep driver frantically put the car in reverse!

My favorite part of the journey thus far was visiting the sacred site of Kataragama.  The best time to visit is in the evening when throngs of Hindu,Buddhist and Muslim pilgrims descend on the small town to leave offerings.  The whole experience was magical and eerie.

We hired a car to take us North to hill country.  The first stop was the breathtaking tiny town of Ella.  The best way to spend a day here is wandering the train tracks.  They are very much active, however all you have to do is follow the lead of the villagers and move to the side when the (very slow) train comes through.  This felt like a dream in the early evening light.

1 comment:

Valerie @ LilyEmmeJewelry.com said...

Breathtaking pics! Man, I need to start traveling.

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