Monday March 11 2013 – Colombo.
OMG – Not a saying I use often, if ever but, OMG – I slept fairly solidly for almost fifteen hours. OK, I will admit to some light dozing towards the end, but fifteen hours !!! I don’t normally sleep that much in three days, let alone one night. I was obviously really tired when I went to bed.
My plan to get up at 6:15 and get outside before the heat of the day was well and truly scuppered by my waking up at 12:30 in the afternoon!
I was really groggy for a while but once I had downed a litre of pure caffeine I was only feeling mildly groggy, but with a caffeine rush going on as well – confusing 🙂
Trudy has a housekeeper, Irene, who comes in most week days to do stuff in the apartment and it took me a while to relax into letting her make me lunch and get coffee, I am not used to having help and mildly uncomfortable with it. Given unemployment, low pay and poverty in Sri Lanka I can see the benefits for this sort of work to Irene and her family. We are all considered wealthy compared to most of the Sri Lankan population, so an opportunity to feed back into the community should be taken, but it doesn’t mean I felt OK with it, different strokes and all that. It is a conversation I can see both sides of I guess, and not a topic for a lightweight travel blog!
After lunch I spent a few hours trying to put together a cohesive plan for the next couple of days. Similar to Laos, I found it hard to get useful and current information from the internet, information that was applicable to me as a traveller spending a month here rather than a week or ten days. My next goal is the ancient cities or ancient triangle and it seems a lot of the folk who have blogged their experience have hired cars for a couple of days and whipped around whole thing. I was sort of thinking of spending a couple of days in each place, maybe I am just fooling myself on how interesting they really are. I am also just starting to get to grips with the cost of entry fees which are frankly, outrageous – though I had been warned !!
After much faffing about I have booked myself a first class train seat to Anuradhapura, about four hours from Colombo. The first class seat plus a meal came to a whopping $14 NZD. I could have gone 2nd class for cheaper, but meh – I want to enjoy it ! It cost me more to go to Dartford from London – a thirty minute ride through the less scenic parts of east London, so this is really worth it. I will have to do one 2nd class journey for the experience though. Once I get there I will work out where to go and what to do next.
With that and some reasonably priced accommodation booked in Anuradhapura for three nights sorted it was time to go outside. I went out to visit the nearby Gangaramaya Temple. The temple is the biggest Buddhist site in Colombo and sprawls all over the place including over the road where I found these relics from a former building.
Next to the temple entrance is a small elephant enclosure with a chained up temple elephant, that looks like it has gone as nutty as the polar bears used to be in Auckland Zoo, rocking back and forth. I really felt for the poor beast.
The temple was interesting though not informative, it had a vast collection of historical items from Colombo’s as well as its own past, but no information on them. However, I really enjoyed walking around the temple site, I really do like the Buddhist imagery and idealism. Though I do need to get back into the temple viewing groove, it always takes a few days to relax back into visiting Buddhist and Hindu temples and the freedoms we tourists have to look and photograph things without restriction. They are often quite serene.
I liked these trucks on a side street outside.
I feel like I have taken the first baby steps back in to traveller mode today – and though it was a rocky start, it felt good at the end !
Bring on the adventures !