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Trip to Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak)

March 29, 2008

Tom – We left after breakfast and headed for Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak).  The only stop of note along the way was in Kitulgala where we took a short hike to the Kelaniya Ganga (river) and the location for filming the movie the “Bridge on the River Kwai.” 

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A woman followed us and gave us a little history on the film and mentioned that her husband had a small role in the film when he was nine years old. His mother was also in the film, in fact, they were the only Sri Lankans.  All that remains are the holes for the bridge supports (see picture). 

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The movie was released in 1957 and won seven Oscars including best picture.  It is about the British blowing up a bridge in Indochina during World War II.  We’ll have to see it again when we get back to the U.S.  Parts were also filmed at the Mt Lavina Hotel outside Colombo (we had dinner there) and the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, which are across the road from the university.

We also looked at an 85 year old tea estate bungalow in Kitugala/

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We had lunch at the Plantation Hotel.  It was a five star accommodation, very nice, but seemed totally out of place for the poverty that surrounds it.  As we continued on A7 we somehow missed the turn off to our destination.  Try as we might, driving back and forth, we could not find it – not too surprising given that signs in general are lacking and many signs are only in Singhalese.  I did take a picture of a billboard advertising the mountain along the way.

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We decided to drive to Hatton, another access point, and approach the mountain from a different direction. 

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When we arrived the sky opened up with a huge downpour.  It did not look good for a climb but we decided to go to Dalhousie at the foot of the mountain where we had a reservation in the Green House guesthouse and just hope for the best.  After some phone calls Brenda (a worker) met us at the bus station and had us drive to a little parking area among all the stalls catering to the pilgrims that come to climb the mountain.  Brenda is 80 and has climbed the peak 72 times!  She is planning on another trip up in May.  I paid my dollar parking (security) fee and we carried our luggage about a quarter mile across the river and up some steep stairs to the Green House. 

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The traditional pot of tea was waiting for us when we arrived at the Green House.  There were six rooms and we had #1, there was no one else there.  The owner’s wife and servants prepared an excellent Sri Lankan dinner with mild curries for our western palate. 

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Afterward, we walked down to the start of the trail where there is one of many Buddhist shrines/statues.  The weather was still cloudy and threatening rain.

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