Updated 11 years, 9 months ago
Well once again a journey is drawing to a close- and what a journey it's been!
First of all I have to tell you that it is by no means an overexagertion to say that Sri Lanka is by far one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen!!! For such a small island nation it does just have everything to offer- from bright green hills, over blue mountains and waterfalls, a mass of tea plantations and palm trees, turquoise clear waters and white sandy beaches, to the friendliest, most beautiful and happiest people I have ever met, and as if all that wasn't enough, it also boasts one of the oldest Buddhist cultures in the world with matching ruins to fit!!
Sorry if that sounded rather like an advert out of a travel magazine, but really it is- I would recommend Sri Lanka as a holiday destination to anyone and everyone without batting an eyelid- and besides all that, it also happens to be dead cheap=)!!
I've spent the last 9 days here, travelling around the country with a driver and then by train, I've visited tea factories, partaken in a VERY exhausting pilgirmage up THOUSANDS of steps to the top of a mountain and back again, finally fullfilled my dream of riding an elephant, watched wild elephants at the side of road, and tame ones being bathed, seen LOTS of ruins, many of which also find themselves on top of huge hills!!, had an ayruvedic massage, which actually turned out to be more stressful than relaxing, considering the amount of energy I had to invest in keeping the masseurs hands in decent places!!, drunk lots of coconuts, eaten many different curries- and then some=), spent a gorgeous couple of days snorkelling at the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen, taken some rather life threatening but fun none the less tuck tuck rides (three wheeler taxis!) and had a really sweet tuck tuck driver take me all round the city of Colombo...virtually for free, cause he said I reminded him of princess diana=), went out with some lovely english volunteers, and taken a 3 hour, 25cents train ride along the south coast, during which a man, who unfortunately couldn't sing to save his life and matched this with a painfully apparant lack of rythmn, "entertained" us with both his voice AND a pair of drums in the hope of money! I think somehwere along the line someone must finally have paid him to shut up, cause, thankfully, he entually did!
From the train you now have a beautiful clear view of the most amazingly coloured water all the way along- because the houses that once stood there are now mostly nothing more but a pile of bricks on the sand- or, if the owners were lucky, three walls and half a staircase!!! It really is quite a sight to see...and to take in just how much of the coast the tsunami has destroyed- and in how short a time!! Puts you back in your place that's for sure!
I was going to stay to help, but since I have no building/medical/plumbing skills to offer and now have heard quite a few appaling stories, of people sitting on their ruins waiting for money, and then using it elsewhere and seating themselves back on the bricks to see if they can get some more, and others, capable of cleaning up themselves also sitting around, till some volunteers come to do it for them....I've decided to move on as planned and maybe do some good in India instead. Oh, well, guess there's bad people everywhere...
They've even printed Tsunami t-shirts to sell, and I've been told there's a DVD to buy!! Bit sick really!
Have met lots of interesting people, many of whom have shared their tales of the flight from the giant wave...but still can't imagine what it must have been like!
The driver I had for the first days was nice enough...APART from telling me for hours about his needing a european wife for business reasons...and trying to kiss me...and attempting to take me to expensive places his friends owned...AND (and this I really couldn't take anymore after a while!) spent the ENTIRE 4 hour car journey along the coast repeating the following sentence in about 2 minute intervals: " This, is hiiiiighest water level, come, and whooosh (with matching gesticulations) take back to the sea"- and each time with as much excitement and long expecting grinning glance at me, as if he had just found something unbelievably new and interesting to say!! ARGH!!!! Thought I would have to jump out of the car if he said it one more time!!!
Also, I've found travelling here alone, is not quite as much fun as the other countries have been. There's not as many tourists, and the ones that are here are generally on package tours+the question "are you travelling alone" , should you be honest (and silly=)!) enough to answer with yes once in while, you may as well immediately follow up with " but I'm not interested in sex all the same thank you!"- it really is true that most men here think all western women, especially those travelling alone...how shall I put it?- well, are well up for it!!
Anyway, enough for now, off to India tonight- that is, if i survive the 1 hour rickshaw ride to the airport=)!!
Hope you're all well and happy,]
lots of love,Olivia***
Ahhhhh!!! Oh my God!!! Just went to get my pictures put on CD and found out that the card with ALL my Sri Lanka photos on isn't working!!!!! I alomost burst into tears I swear, I can't believe it....so been postcard shopping now=((((( Very saaaaad ending to an amazing week....
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