Getting Ready and Travel Sights

February 29, 2008

Helen – It’s a Leap Year!  And we are getting ready for another trip; we are going to Uda Walawe National Park for an elephant safari.  The park was opening again after being closed for over two months because of security.  There were two bombings in another national park.  We are only going to spend an overnight and probably be gone about 24 hours so you would think “not much to do”.

 We did not walk this morning because our guests left at 11pm and by the time we cleaned up the kitchen, we were ready for bed.  Good thing I had that long walk with my students.  I cooked lunch which was a mixture of cuisines…they gave me some leaves with stalks which they grow behind the PE building and I cooked these with garlic.  Then I cooked yellow dal (yellow lentils) which I added to the greens with some coconut milk and served it over rice.  It was really quite good and Tom said it was “a do again.”  Then I had to clean the kitchen (both outside and inside) so that the ants wouldn’t have a party while we were gone.  Counters had to be washed, all food put away in the refrigerator, floors swept.  It’s funny what you get used to like the gecko’s climbing the walls and ants everywhere (in the kitchen, the bathrooms, all the rooms).  You can’t leave anything out.  I hate the tiny, tiny ants in the kitchen that get into all food and when you try to clean them up they just continue to climb up your arms.  You can hardly see them but you can feel them!!

After throwing our clean up bags and a few other things into the back packs and stopping at the office to update the blog (and leave the computer locked in the office!) we were off.  The park is about 90 Km (54 m) away and it took about 3 hours travel time going 40-50 kph (25 mph) when possible and it felt like we were flying with the curving roads, construction, and general traffic as we mentioned before.  The first picture Tom took was of a boat that had been moved inland by the tsunami being finally returned to the water.


The second was an old man in a wagon pulled by a bull cow.  


In the first town, he took a picture of a man carrying a bed from a support over his shoulder.  It was flexible and rocked as he walked right down the middle of the street.  


We were hoping to reach our destination by 5:30 or before dark.  Roads are not marked too well for passing, but the general rule is not to pass a policeman on a motorcycle.  I guess Tom forgot this rule, as he passed two motorcycles (the lead having two policemen) going around a curve.  Of course, they pulled him over and in their limited English told him it was dangerous to pass on a curve.  One of them was ready to give him a ticket, but the other kept scolding Tom and stressing his point, and Tom was agreeing with him.  The driver finally called the other officer and they left.  Close call!!!

When we were getting close to our destination, I began reading the directions from the Lonely Planet travel book.  We had made a reservation for the night at the Walawa Safari Village Hotel.  The book only recommended two hotels and we found the first one which was supposed to be 8 km from the park entrance.  According to the book, our hotel was 10km from the entrance but we were on a different road.  We stopped at a police station to ask for directions and they sent us back the way we came saying we missed it.  We think they are wrong but turn around and stop at the first hotel to ask directions.  Looked like the jeep drivers were drunk and they kept asking us if we wanted rooms there…so we said “thank you” and left.  Now we tried to call our hotel and no one answered.  We were going back to the closest town rereading the directions and trying to make sense of them as we kept calling the hotel.  Finally, the hotel answers and tells us to turn around and to continue pass the police station, the other hotel and then make a left turn when we see the big sign.  Ok, he was close, we had to make a right turn, but we were there before dark and dinner was to be served in an hour.  This was a really elegant place.  It had five bungalows with 5 rooms each. Each room had its own front little sitting area separated by a gate and fence; 5 rooms (including ours) were air conditioned, large bathroom and clean linens and towels.  This was heaven after Ratnapura!!!  The bungalows were separated by stone walkways and lovely bushes and forest trees.  The reception area had great maps and info about the parks and the dining room was clean and lovely.  We were the ONLY guests on the first night before the opening of the park.  The cuisine was Chinese with corn egg drop soup; fried rice; and three main courses, fish (they say fis), vegetable, and chicken.  They were all delicious but the chicken was hot!!  Refreshing pineapple for dessert and we were off to bed by 8:45 having to be in the jeep at 6:15am. 

One comment

  1. Thanks for sharing,most pics on sri lanka on the web are some way related to tourism,and never really got any normal daily life depicting image ,Glad to see some on your site :).

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