Monday, May 28, 2012

Sri Lanka Day 5: Kandy Part 2

Mood: Mellow yet motivated
Listening to: Another Like You - Mishka

We got a treat by being able to sleep in. Mainly because we didn’t have anywhere to drive this day. We got up slowly, had a wonderful breakfast (that buffet was huge!) and found Harry.

We went to the Botanical garden. I was very, very impressed. The grounds are beautiful. I’m not going to bore you with the 20 bajillion plant and flower pictures I took, but it was very well done. Kandy is up in the mountains and the temperature is a bit cooler than other places further down with a bit less humidity. Mind you I didn’t say it was cool nor there wasn't any humidity. By this time the heat and humidity was really getting to us and there wasn’t much enthusiasm. Harry walked with us and gave all of his tour guide spiel, which was nice. We weren’t there very long at all – just no interest.

When we were done, Harry took us to a gem factory and we were shown how they polished. We were also shown a movie on how the gems were mined that smacked of exploitation. I’m still not sure why they showed that because I never want to buy any gems from Sri Lanka. Ever. We admired all the dingchak (shiney thins) politely and asked Harry to eat lunch. We stopped at a place that had a beautiful view of the river. This was the only good thing about this place. We opted for sandwiches to keep it cheap and light. We got small shreds of spicy carrots on bread loaded with mayo from a waiter who for some reason thought we had ALL day to linger.

After lunch, we were taken to a wood carving shot. At this point, Daddy G and I were thoroughly tired of being steered towards buying things.  We looked politely and the work and watched as they explained the different types of wood. We wandered throught the ginormous warehouse with everything you could ever imagine. Seriously – I saw wooden dildos inlaid with moth of pearl. Not even kidding. Tables, beautiful chess sets on coffee tables. We wanted to buy a traditional wood mask. We chose a design and spent a few minutes digging for a brightly colored one. The salesman who was supposed to give us a “great price” absolutely did not and Daddy G just didn’t have enough energy to bargain. After that we were steered into a clothing boutique loaded with overpriced stuff. We half heartedly looked around while I whispered to Daddy G that if we were taken to one more shopping spot, I was going to disabuse Harry of the notion that we wanted to shop anymore. We’re not big into shopping anyways. The sales girl was quite offended that I wouldn’t even look at the 600 rupee tee shirts for the kids with elephants. Erm what? Not only do we not need shirts for the kids, I am not paying 600 rupees for them just because you silk screened some elephants on them.  We headed back to the hotel to relax a bit and asked Harry to pick us up in the evening to visit the Temple of the Tooth.

After we woke up, we took a brief swim and then got dressed. Harry picked us up and we headed out to visit the Temple of the tooth, where one of Buddha’s teeth is. The temple was beautiful. Very colorful and ornate.  We spent a while in there wandering around.
When we were done, we stopped to get some fresh juice with Harry.

After that we were hoping to wander around a market type area, but Harry told us there wasn’t much open after dark. We asked to eat something simple and cheap and he suggested KFC. We enthusiastically agreed. KFC was about the same price as it is in India.  After buying some water from the grocery next door for the next day, we headed back for our final night in Kandy. We all fell asleep rather quickly this night.



  1. Most likely Harry was getting a cut from all the stores he was taking you too ;-)...

    The Temple of the Tooth looks magnificent!

    And I've been meaning to tell you - my brother visited Sri Lanka a few years ago - and he came back livid at the price difference for tourists and locals. I mean, in regard to museums and such.

  2. Oh I'm definitely sure he was getting a cut. He never pressured us to buy anything from any particular store, but he pressured us to only shop at certain stores. After his being a tour guide for 15 years, I'm absolutely certain this was happening.

    The temple of the tooth was very fun to see. Very bright colored and festive. It's a bit on the smaller side compared with the others we saw, so it didn't take too long.

    The price of an attraction (meaning anything you need a ticket to get into) is close to US $30 per ticket. Even in the US, in Manhattan no less, you never pay so much to get into places. We told them my husband forgot his passport (he's a new US citizen) so he used his Indian driver's license to get the reduced fee that they use for Indians the and surrounding countries. The hotels were pretty much the same story - 300 rupees for a 60 rupee bottle of water! That's 150 rupees for a 30 rupee bottle in India, which is still way overpriced!

    1. I noticed the same thing with the water in some of the airports here. I always argue with them about it but with no luck ;-)

    2. Lol. In Chennai, I asked for a bottle of water and he gave it at MSRP. He fought me about not having change for a 100 rupee note, but that's a whole other subject. My husband just about fell over when he heard they gave it at cost, especially after having paid 150 rupees earlier that day.