Sunday, January 1, 2012

Kottowa Rainforest

Jungle stream

Resident critter

Headed up to the Kottowa rainforest preserve. It's a small preserve that's being held as a protected area. We hired a driver and headed up - about 20k from Galle. Upon arrival we discovered that it is closed on Sundays...a fact that the hotel either didn't know or failed to mention. Notwithstanding the locked gate, several enterprising young men were standing at the entrance, willing to take us through reserve for a fee - less than the normal entry price. We were able to walk around the gate and head off into the jungle. I was a little dubious but I will admit it was nice to have them along. They were excellent observers and obviously knew the jungle, showing us various dens for different animals, the lair of a trap-door spider and a tiny little lizard that, for all the world, looked almost like a walking stick insect at first. The only thing that I was worried about were the leaches...apparently they were everywhere...and we, being used to manicured reserves, were in Tevas (sandals). Sadly, I had had boots on when Jeff convinced me that sandals would be fine...they weren't. Serendipitously, I have discovered that while mosquitos think I am the source of all meals, leaches like Jeff. He had any number of them crawl on him - the guide was fast to notice them - but a number of them latched on and had to be informed that they needed to get off, now. Turns out mosquito repellant convinces them quite quickly that they want to leave. He did come home and soak his foot, putting on antibiotic ointment immediately.

We also got a chance to see rubber trees with the bark scored for collection. Down the way we could see the workers pouring the collected sap into their larger jugs. There were also pineapple plants – somehow I always pictured them on more tree like plants rather than shrubs…don’t know why…

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