Monday, May 28, 2012

Sri Lanka Day 4: Damballa and Kandy

Mood: Mellow yet motivated
Listening to: Carousel - Buckcherry

We woke up early again (notice a pattern here?) and had breakfast. The buffet was standard, but really nice. Back into the car and on the road to Kandy with a stop in Damballa.

This has got to be one of the coolest places I have ever been in my life. I know my inner nerd is showing, but still. We parked at the Damballa temple. After some quick bathroom breaks and more money hemorrhage for tickets, we wandered into the Buddhist museum. It was amazing. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Sri Lanka, you just can’t miss this. It was a great museum. I’m only posting some of the pics I took – otherwise this would take way, way too long.

Wall Paintings

For some reason this Buddha cracked me up. Look at that Goatee and pencil stache. That there is Buddha Bro.

I'm not going to drive you nuts by posting all of the Buddhas in here (and there were TONS), but it was fun to see how different countries reincarnated the image to fit their needs.

Buddha's on every flat surface. Oh my.

My kids swore these statues were going to come alive at any moment. My husband, being the gem he is told them they only come alive at night and eat naughty little girls.

We then hiked up to the temple in the mountain. Harry took us half way in consideration of the smallest child. It was still a little hike, but nothing like Sigriya. Lots and lots o monkeys here. Silence is required, as is leaving your shoes outside.

The outsides of the caves

Even the frogs are Zen. We were super close to this one.

The caves were absolutely breathtaking. So very serene and spiritual. Trust me – that’s quite a statement coming from me.

When we were finished, Harry took off for Kandy like it was running away. We eventually wove our way up into the mountains. Harry stopped at a spice garden so we could take a tour. The guide talked us into eating lunch there. We were hungry, so it seemed to be a good idea. Again with the fried noodles and Sri Lanka curry. There was absolutely WAY too much pepper in the food. We dropped so much money just on water to wash it all down! It was a tourist place too, so way overpriced.

The “kerosene” lamps cracked me up.

The guide took us around the spice garden and showed us some of the plants and pontificating on their Ayurvedic properties and uses (another word for plant based medicine).  He said “Excuse me Sir and Madam,” Every 3 minutes, even though he had our full attention the entire time. I felt like flicking him in the head by the end of the tour, even thought it was short.

Pepper Tree

He offered to give us short Ayurvedic facials and massages at the end. After the way my skin reacted to the facial I had in Bangalore, I wasn’t up for putting anything else on it right now. As to the massage, well, I’m not a big fan of touching people or being touched by random people, especially guys. After moving to India and having guys trip over themselves on the street to not accidentally run into me, I’m quite cool with that. Even disrespectful guys never get close enough to touch. No touch-ee dude, no touch-ee.

We collected Harry and piled back in the van to finish our short trip to Kandy. As we arrived, I loved Kandy. It is an absolutely charming city. It’s set in a valley with a river running through the middle of it.
On the way, we stopped at a Batik shop. Batik is created by an artist using a special tool to drop wax on certain parts of a cloth (which also soaks through to the other side) and then the whole cloth is dipped in dye. The cloth is then boiled to remove the wax. Depending on the design, it is waxed again, either the same spots or different, dyed and boiled again, until the desired picture is achieved. It struck Daddy G and I as very tedious work for the artists and we bought some as a souvenir.  The shop lady even kindly showed me how to tie a Sri Lankan sari. I know it was a sales bit, but it was fun to learn, since I already can tie an Indian sari. Another wedding was going on right next door.

When we were done, Harry piled us I the van and went to park along the street across from the cultural center. WE walked down to the river and took a very much over priced boat ride. It was nice, but short. There were an absolute ton of birds everywhere, including cormorants, which I like.

When we were done, we went back to the cultural center to take in a traditional Kandyan dance performance. Again, this is one of the best experiences I have ever had. If you want to see an example, I suggest you check out Kandyan dance on Youtube. Blogger is very unhappy with me today due to all the pics I am uploading. Every one of us enjoyed the show immensely and especially enjoyed the fire dance show that happened afterwards.

When we were done, we asked Harry to go somewhere to eat, but he told us no can do. Apparently, a General who had gone against the President was let out of jail and was visiting the temple of the tooth. Bad place for foreigners to be in general. We quickly agreed with him and went to the Kandy Topaz hotel to check in. Quick check in and fresh juice. The hotel lobby was quietly fancy and had a gemstone store. We went to our room and chilled out for a while. There are some rumors about bedbugs floating around on the internet for the Topaz, and I think they are correct. The room looked spotless, but we still came away with multiple bites, even though the room didn’t have any mosquitoes. Our room had a small porch and the view was beautiful.

Again, we headed down to the pool. There wasn’t really a shallow section of the pool here, so the kids swam with us. It was on a hill ledge and it was dark by the time we got to swimming. It was still very nice.
Again, a dinner ordered for the kids – which they were almost too tired to eat any of – and then back for bed.

This hotel charged for internet access. While it was expensive (350 rupees for 2 hours!), I had work I needed to do. When my computer died because it didn’t have batteries, things got ugly. There were absolutely no plugins in our room. I got really pissed that I had just bought 2 hours of internet I could not use. The lobby didn’t have any plug ins either.  What gives Hotel Topaz??

I pouted, stomped (quietly) around for a while and then just went to bed. I decided to embrace Sri Lankan Buddhism and just accept the situation.



  1. I feel like the pictures are becoming more and more incredible as we go along! The beauty of the caves really comes through - both through the pictures and your words.

    What a bummer about not having an electrical outlet in your room though! It's such a standard thing to provide that I'm really surprised.

    You are such a nice looking family :)

  2. Lol, thank you. The pictures taper off as we get to Colombo. Our driver wasn't too hot on taking us around the city. This was by far my favorite day.

    I know, right? I've been in SO MANY HOTELS and I don't think I've ever found one before where they hid the outlets or just didn't have them.