Had breakfast and toast with tea for breakfast at the homestay this morning before heading off to the rest of our Sri Lankan adventure. Some driving to do this morning, so we wanted a relatively early start.
On the way to Sigiriya, we stopped at several places, the first of which being a stop at a Buddhist temple. It was beautiful! We just took pictures from the outside, because we had other plans for the day, and couldn’t really take the time to climb up to it though. We also stopped at a Hindu temple that was a little ways past the Buddhist one. After we had already taken our shoes off,
and were walking in, a man comes running up to us and tells us we have topay, pretty much because we are white and therefore obviously not Hindu. We told him that we were living in India, knew the customs and had been in many temples previously, and even offered to show him our student ID cards. He still refused to grant us access, even as many other people walked past us to get inside. It was a weird feeling, being discriminated against for skin color. Kaylee and I made the choice to not go inside. Decided I did not want to propagate and appease the discrimination.
We continued on our drive, and made a spice plantation! It was a wonderful
experience. We got to take a tour through all of the different types of spices, and we saw many plants such as vanilla, cocoa, cardamom, turmeric, red banana (it does exist!) sandalwood and ginger. We even saw a cocaine plant (used for medicinal purposes!) Once we finished the tour, we got to purchase some of the spices and aruvedic medicines
(traditional medicines). Of course, I could only buy what I could take on a plane and through customs, but I bought plenty anyway. As we were leaving the spice plantation, we passed a fruit stand and Shan, our driver, asked if we had ever tried Jack fruit, to which our response was obvious. He pulled the car over, and introduced us to the best fruit in the entire world! It is very odd, actually, probably not something I would have eaten without his suggestion. The fruit itself is like this big spikey green ball, and it is filled with yellow pod things. To eat it, you bite off on end of the yellow pod, get the big seed out of it, and then eat the rest of the pod. It is kind of an art But like I said, If you all get the chance to ever eat a jack fruit, don’t turn it down.
Our next stop was to The Dambulla Buddhist Cave Temples, and Golden Buddha. I know I keep saying it, but this one was of the best experiences we have had here so far. The Golden Buddha was at the base of a hill, and so Kaylee and I took many pictures of it before we decided to trek up the hill to see the actual cave temple. We took our shoes off at the very base of the hill (didn’t find out until later that we could have waited to take them off at the top) and proceeded to climb. Now, this normally would have been just a moderate hike, however today was exceptionally warm, and the stones beneath our feet were very hot! By the time we reached the top, after fending off all the venders, we were sweaty and dehydrated and our feet were on fire. But once we walked inside, it was all worth it. Pictures speak louder than words for this one:
We hopped our way back down and managed to get our shoes on and make it back to the car. We headed from there to our final destination of the
evening- Sigirya. We checked into our hostel, talked with the owners for a bit, and then headed out with Shan to go see his brother’s resort in the area. His brother offered to give us a discount on massages, and Kaylee and I couldn’t turn it down! There was already someone in there though, so we had some time to spare. Shan took us walking down this area called the Elephant Corridor, which apparently many wild elephant occupy around 7 PM. We were a little too early :/ We also saw this extremely fancy resort which was about $400 dollars a night, for its cheapest room. There was a lake nearby that Shan wanted to show us, so we walked in the other direction for a while before we came across it. Since it was the dry season in Sri Lanka, there wasn’t much of a lake left! There were still many beautiful animals, and we were even almost charged by a bull… Next to the lake there were rice patties, with funny looking tree-fort buildings sporadically placed. Turns out, the structures are for people to sit in, and act like scarecrows pretty much. There are up so high, because wild elephants can be nasty and they have to stay out of their way.
It was time to head back to Shan’s brother’s hotel for our massages! Our massage package included a head massage, a full body massage, a steam bath and a sauna sitting at the end. I was like dripping sweat by the end, but it was so totally worth it.
We headed back to the hostel, feeling about as relaxed as we have been since leaving home, and ended up eating dinner because it was ready for us. The man that owns this hostel is a very interesting person, and we ended up talking to him for a good amount that night. He had been some high up in the Sri Lankan air force, and he showed us pictures of him with the Sri Lankan president, and with the Pope. He had also traveled all over the world! We had some good conversation as we sat out on the porch, enjoying the tropical evening (I still believe Sri Lanka is one of my favorite places!). Headed to bed because we had to have an early morning! Climbing the Sigirya Rock!