"Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to Colombo airport,
thank you for flying Jet Airways. we hope that you had a pleasent flight.
The local time is 10pm and it is a cool 30 °C outside..." -What?
So country number three has begun and I believe that it is going to be a hot one. So I walk out of the airport to work out that I am a hours drive anyway from the city that the Airport is meant to be in. Lets just say the beginning of my trip wasn't as smooth as it should of been for someone that has been away for the past three months. So after the struggles of the night before with getting to the city and finding a room (thanks to the Barmy Army) and the lack of time I have in this country I decide that I will miss out this capital and go straight for the country. On the flight I started chatting to a guy called Ashraff a Sri Lankan nation who advised me to see Kandy. So first thing I boarded a bus and arrive fresh face and excited about a new adventure.
Kandy is a beautiful hill town in the centre of the country in The Hilly Country area. It has a beautiful lake in the centre and a temple containing a tooth of Buddha and nothing much else so I quickly run out of activities to entertain me. I remembered at this point that Ashraff had left me a number to call if I wanted to meet up, so bravely I called him and within 20 minutes he is taking me to a restaurant and before I know it I am at his house meeting his family and accepting a bed for the night and a free lift to the bus station in the morning.
The next morning I head for Adam's Peak believe to be the place where Adam stepped on the earth after being removed from The Garden of Eden -as there is a footprint in the rock on the peak- and also believe to be the place where butterflies go to death... aww! The reason I have come here is not cultural but to follow the Pilgrimage to the top at night to see the sun rise. At night for most of the year the path is illuminated and masses of people climb it every day. The climb is about 2½-4 hours and the other travellers in the hotel I was staying all agreed to meet and leave at 2am. So When I woke at 2.35am -as you can imagine- a lot of swearing fell out of my mouth and I leap out of bed. Not waiting to miss the sunrise which was meant to be about 6.15 I get out and off by 2.45. After about 45mins of walking I catch up with some of the other people I was meant to meet and I woke out that I have been pacing to much and decide to slow down the pace but still am pulling away from the others and before long I am off on my own. I eventual reach the top to see that I have arrived at 4.45 and am the first out of 6 of us to reach the top. I collapse and working out the I have climbed to hill in 2 hours. I wait for the others who all achieve it in 3 and work out that this new thin body is going to get some used to. I walk down with the others and eat breakfast.
The next day I wake up in Hikadawa on the beach and go to get up and my body does not work, Adam's peak as taken it's toll and I decide that for the next couple of days a beach holiday and a rest will do me good. The holiday was not a bad thing as the temperature soars to +40 °C and all my attempts to culture search and explore end up the same way with me laying on the bed under the fan after 2 showers and reading until it is cool enough to return to the outside world.
I decide that it is time to get moving, the cricket is over and the it is safe to move around again being an Englishman not being over changed because of my nationality. I head for Galle -a ex-dutch colony seaside town- and spend the day exploring and walking and refusing to go back to the room... which ends up with me laying on the bed and reading after 2 more showers.
I have to admit that I have rushed this blog entry and it is not because I am behind on my writing -which I am- and not because I was only in the country for 7 days but because after the magic and joys of the last to countries I was very unimpressed with Sri Lanka. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with the country or the people. The people I met and befriend are some of the warmest people I met and I don't have a bad word to say about them. The country is a beautiful picturesque country with amazing beaches and rolling hills full of tea plantation. But the country has sold some of it sole in the name of tourism I believe. I never headed up north and that maybe different and I hope no one changes their mind on what I say but compared to India and Nepal it did not jump out at me and I happily left in knowledge that I have Vietnam ahead of me.