Sunday, January 1, 2012

Heading to Kandy

Guest house painting
Decisions, decisions...we can get to Colombo in 3.5, maybe 4 hours or we can get there in 1 hour...and 400 rupees (roughly $4.00). Hmmmm...big decisions here. The new freeway is something most Sri Lankans are quite proud of....and don't use a lot because of the fee. (to be fair, it has only been open for 2 days.) We had a road just about to ourselves, all the way up to the end of the road. One day, within 2 years our driver said, the road will go all the way to the airport. What a benefit that will be! An hour later we were leaving Colombo, heading for Kandy - the center of Sri Lanka and home of any number of places to visit.,

We have avoided most of the mandatory visits to ceramic shops, silk shops, fabric shops, tea shops, but we did stop at an Ayervedic herb garden. We had a chance to see many of the spices we take for granted (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg) as well as some that I had never heard of before - and will have to look up to remember what they are. Did have a knowledgable student, studying to be an Ayervedic doctor, give us a tour, talk about the plants, different medicines they get from them, and how some are used. It really was interesting. Jeff got a back massage - he really enjoyed it. At least if we're going to be in one of those places, this was a good one to check out. Think I'd like a tea plantation also, although I won't mention in - they would undoubtedly find 10 or more to take us to...

Getting to Kandy was no problem; the driver has a sister living here so he's been many times. He did stop at his family's favorite sweet shop - and shared the story of his family stopping here every trip out. There were the normal road issues and it took 4 hours from that nice shortcut we had earlier but it was still pretty straightforward. That's where it ended. We needed to find "Nature Walk Guesthouse" somewhere in Kandy.  Seemed like it should have been easy to find to us but...the first tuktuk driver had no idea, pointed us in a vague direction. Next tuktuk driver wasn't much better, but we did get to the lake. To be fair, the road around the lake used to be two ways and our map seemed to be straightforward...but the road was no longer open. The next driver and the next got us progressively closer but still, no one really had any idea. Finally, using the map and the rough ideas, we got up on a road, near the Kandy Lake Club where, when we asked the final tuktuk driver he said yes, just up there, around the corner. We no longer mention our place, we just mention the club and everyone knows where to go. The things you learn on these trips....

The guesthouse is...interesting. It is very outdoors and low key. Has lots of outside seating areas - wonderful in tropical climates because the rooms are hot, lousy in a tropical climate because the bugs are out, wonderful here because the rooms are tiny. Unless you sit on the bed, you have to sit on the floor. Fortunately, we stayed in that room only one night. We moved up to a slightly larger room – though we still enjoyed the outside seating areas and the company of the interesting people who stayed at the guesthouse.

He never dropped them!
Fire Dancers

Kandy has a number of groups that put on a nightly performance of traditional dances. Luckily, one of the performances was right next door to our guest house so the people walked us over to the area. It was interesting to see the different costumes, learn a bit of the stories behind the various dances, and hear the music, primarily drums, a flute, and a curved horn instrument. Both men and women danced, though the men definitely had the most energetic dances. Many of the dances were part of a story, primarily that of Ramayama as he searched for his wife, Sita. One of the most interesting was the one with the men holding spinning plates – 5, 6 or more at a time! There was also a fire dance as well as the men who walked across burning coals.

No comments:

Post a Comment