SRI LANKAN FRENCH FRIES, SUNSETS AND ELEPHANTS
Updated: Aug 3, 2018
We made a quick trip to Bangkok-with the BEST cab ride ever. Our driver from the airport to the hotel was the nicest person…we learned so much from him…just not anything about what we asked. He spoke a LITTLE english and he just started talking and when he ran out of english, he kept going in Thai and was trying to make us fluent by the time we reached our hotel I think. It was just comical! We left the next morning for our flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka where the time difference is 11.5 hours different from home. I didn’t even know that was possible. I got to play doctor on board for a little lady who drank too much and then poof we were in the land of gems. We drove about three hours south through Galle to our hotel in Weligama. The driving here is TERRIFYING. Mostly they just drive in the middle of the road. And there are these huge buses that just go wherever, whenever they want. We call them terminators. Seriously crazy.
The beaches along the south of the island are beautiful with the most amazing large waves crashing constantly. We took a tuk tuk into town to grab some water and snacks and it is obvious they don’t get many people who look like us in town. We drove around to a couple of temples and then settled in on the beach for the first night. They have the most spectacular crabs to watch…they came out in hoards that night and continued to chase each other around the beach.
The next morning we were off to Mirissa to go whale watching. Long story short…I got roofied, we didn’t get sold into human trafficking, 96% of the boat was throwing up (thankfully that didn’t include us) and we saw no whales. Soooo, after a “lovely” six hour outing we were back on dry land and had some lunch in a beautiful little cove where there were very few people and delicious curry. The next day we decided to explore. We went to a turtle hatchery with the most unenthusiastic turtle tour guide ever, I think we were really interrupting his texting and phone calls, then we went on a boat tour of Koggala lake. We saw a Buddhist temple and went to a little island named cinnamon Island and learned how it is made from the cutest little old couple. Then our guide, Jimmy, shimmied up a tree and got us some fresh coconuts! We grabbed some lunch in Unawatunda-fresh grilled fish! And then we were off to the Fort in Galle.
We have definitely run into more language barriers here than anywhere else and so charades it is! Anytime we ask what a food item is on a menu…like for example they have deviled chicken or pork, etc. And we weren’t sure what it was so we asked and ended up with blank stares and pointing at the deviled food object on the menu and then they think we are ordering it. So it’s mostly just funny and it means we get to try some random new foods I guess!
I must say that his country is definitely different than anywhere else we have been. The scenery is breathtaking. The people in Weligama have been a little offputting and not quite what we have come to expect. It feels like you have to be careful here not to get sucked into some scam and just constantly aware of your surroundings. When we were at the Fort some teenager came up to me and really creeped me out. Deeter had gone to the bathroom and I was glad when he returned-I swear I was waiting for the hex he put on us to take hold. It is definitely a different place and the first couple of days were a little disappointing in that we have had such an amazing time interacting with the people everywhere we go and learning from them about their culture.
The next day we were off to Uda Walawe National Park. It was a terrifying three hour drive and then we pulled into the most remote safari hotel.
We had a little hut with an open air shower and we were the only ones in the hotel. We went for a walk around and discovered that peacocks can fly as we got scared to death by one as it flew out of a tree and then sprinted away from us. Apparently, they are allllll over this country. We also went to visit the Elephant Transit Center where they rehabilitate baby elephants that have been orphaned and then release them into the park. We went to a feeding and watched these uncoordinated little buggers just bulldoze through their milk and then their leafy greens. They are so uncoordinated and just so amusing to watch.
That night we had some furry visitors in our hut and Deeter is the best and put up with all my raging fear and I didn’t really let us sleep that night! Thankfully they moved us the next day to a hut without any mice! But at six am we were off to Uda Walawe National park to see what all the fuss was about. Our driver T-money(since we can’t actually pronounce his name) is my favorite Sri Lankan we have met. He speaks very little English basically other than animal names and saying, “Madame happy? Sir Happy?” He was so nice and so funny and we are much better at charades because of him and I have never given as many thumbs ups as I did in those two days. But he took us all over that park and we saw some of the most amazing things.
There were tons of wild elephants…some within reach. We kept asking if it was safe for them to be that close and the driver would just look at us and laugh and say no. We were hoping it was a language barrier thing:) We came around a corner and there were five huge elephants and a baby just chilling eating and we stop and our driver got just to let us know there was an elephant family nearby…incase we had missed the multiton beasts a stones throw in front of us! We saw peacocks galore-we watched multiple males do their mating dance which I’m pretty sure is where the basis for shake your tail feather came from. We saw water buffalo, deer, horn bills, monkeys, crocodiles, penny storks, king fishers, monitor lizards and so many elephants. We ended the first day at a watering hole with so many baby elephants and families of water buffalo, deer and monkey-it was mesmerizing and amazing watching the sunset with this right in front of us. Our second day highlight was sitting on top of a damn watching a family of elephants with two of the older males just play fighting for like an hour while the ladies and babies just grazed on the greenery nearby. I think they all thought we were crazy for spending so much time in the park but each trip in was just so crazy amazing!
The food at the hotel was also incredible…they kept asking if we like spicy stuff and finally they got us on the last day with their curry spiciness! Man we were both sweating buckets!!! And I have to confess that this country makes the best french fries either of us have ever had…MSILMF if you ever decide to eat fries you gotta do it here!
Also the sunsets are the most incredible I have ever seen…and apparently they get better next month when this alleged rainy season is over. I think we may only travel in the rainy season from now on…cheaper prices, less crowded and not so much of the rain thus far…we will keep our fingers crossed! Today we put our lives at risk again by getting in a dang car and very sadly we left Uda Walawe and Elephant Safari Hotel. The experiences we had with the people near Uda Walawe really helped pick up our spirits in regards to the culture and people in Sri Lanka. However, we were told we have to be careful in the city because everyone is just looking our for themselves. We arrived today in Hikkaduwa and went and got some delicious curry and soup…why I continue to order soup when I am sweating profusely I don’t know but it was great! Then some time on the beach and in our hotel pool. We aren’t certain where or what the next couple of days will bring…we haven’t quite figured that all out yet, but we are very excited for it whatever it may be!