Adventure Continues

July 21st, 2010

United StatesWe Said
Sri Lanka has really been full of adventures!
When we were in Sigiria at the Flower Inn, the owner said, ” Don’t wander far because of the wild elephants!” In all the countries and continents I have been to, this is the first time I have been told that…the elephants walk on the road and there have been several encounters that ended badly for the people!
In Nilaveli,the beach near Trinco in the North, we wandered at night past the barbed wire and soldiers but it was the scary dogs I got worried about, they growled at us and all I could think was PLEASE DONT BITE ME! I could not wait to get back near the friendly soldiers!
Although the people of Sri Lanka have been unbelieveable friendly, being on the beach walking through barbed wire was strange. We met large groups of travelers from Kandy and other parts of Sri Lanka, who were so happy to be able to be in the North now that the civil war is over and traveling is allowed. On the bus, I thought of the circus clown car but instead of all the people getting out, they all got in at every stop. When we joined the bus, we had two hours to stand and it seemed full to me but who knew that there was room for about 20 more people. You just have to SMOOSH as much as possible!
We joined another couple and spent a day on Pigeon Island. A local family took us there in their boat and we snorkeled several times. We did see neon yellow mushroom coral and two black tip reef sharks, however, much of the coral has been damaged by a combination of dynamite fishing, the navy and the 2004 tsunami. In the North, it is difficult to tell if the destruction of buildings is from the 25 year civil war or the tsunami. Our hotel, Shashira, had one side that was destroyed. They are working hard to rebuild and tourism is returning.
Passing back through Kandy, we had a chance to go to the Pinewalla Elephant Orphanage. I will have to post the photos…it did look like an African savannah. I am not sure it is the best place for the elephants but it is the top tourist attraction of Sri Lanka. 
Our next stop was the HILL COUNTRY: Nuwara Eliya and Ella for beautiful hikes in the tea plantations, after that ARUGAN BAY in the East, another area hit hard by the civil war and the tsunami but we saw them sealing the main road and painting new hotels. We did not surf but we saw many amazing surfers in the water. The Kataragama Pilgrimage festival was amazing. Can’t wait to tell you all about YMBA and the parade where elephants and dancers take “god to visit his girlfriend!” and our trip to Bundalla and Yala to see wild elephants….MORE SOON
I am writing to you from Columbo where we got our new visas so we can stay another two weeks. Just wanted to say HELLO! We will post more stories SOON.
Lisa and George

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