So here it is, our 16 days in Sri Lanka crunched into a few paragraphs… Firstly we landed at Colombo international airport, as soon as we land a backpacker in front of us turns around and asks us ‘you guys know where you’re staying tonight?’ Sara and I had nothing planned, we knew we didn’t want to stay in the capital so we told him we are hopping on a bus right away and heading to Kandy, Sri Lanka’s central city. He also didn’t have a place booked and ended up joining us on our journey to Kandy. On the many different buses we took we talked about our recent travels, the usual questions… Where are you from? Where have you been? Where do you go next? Our new friend was named Matt and he was from Chicago. He had such a interesting back story I was so fascinated by everything from him not owning a pair of pants (that’s why he had to leave north India cause it was getting too cold for him at night) to him buying a bar in an upcoming backpacker town in Cambodia. He has been on the road for the last 2 years or so and when I asked him if he would go back to Chicago his answer ‘…we’ll see’. We killed a lot of the bus travel time by chatting about our India experiences and our likes and dislikes of all the different places. After a few hours in the bus we arrived in Kandy with nowhere to stay, it was dark at this point and we scrambled to find a place that would accompany 3 people. We went to a hostel by bus and they only had enough room for Sara and I so Matt agreed to trek to another hostel that had a dorm bed for him. The next morning we wanted to stay at another place that was cheaper and nicer, Sara and I along with 3 brits and a dutchy all found a place where we spent the next few days. We ended up tagging along with Adam, Lucy, Danny and Lieve for basically our whole holiday; they left for Ella a day before us which gave me and Sara a chance to check out Sigiria. We took a bus a few hours north to Sigiria and when we realized it was 4200 LKR (42 CAD) to climb we opted for the next rock a few kms away that was only 500 LKR (5 CAD) this worked good with us as we aren’t the hiking type and we had a chance to look at Sigiria instead of climb it, win win.
Everyone you talk to will tell you to take the train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya or Ella because of the amazing landscape you will go through so when we were told it was full we were disappointed. What we didn’t know was that the ticket guy at the train station was telling me 1st class was full and failed to inform me that 2nd or 3rd class is available. (Typical Sri Lankan/Indian way) They will tell you everything is full but won’t tell you there is a cheaper option available. We ended up figuring out we could get a 2nd class ticket for 60 LKR and (60 cents) and hop right on. This is and will probably be the cheapest travel I’ve done, we missed our stop at Nuwara Eliya because the train station isn’t actually in the town it’s in a surrounding town but it wasn’t a big deal. We ended up taking the train right on through to Ella (where our friends were anyway) Ella was a nice change in temperature, chilly at night and sometimes some spits of rain here and there. We hiked to a nice view point (little Adams peak) and enjoyed some yummy tea in the tea country.
While in Ella Sara and I wanted to get some laundry done, we took it to the only laundry place in the small town and proceeded to get a quote on how much our laundry would be. The price was 400 LKR per KG which is a little pricey but when you literally are only doing laundry once a month it’s not too bad. I guessed that we had around 2 KG on us and when the lady took our bags to go weigh it the actual weight was 5 KG I was shocked and thought no way we have 5 kg with us. I was not going to pay 2000LKR (20 CAD) for laundry. I started taking a few things out and go her to weigh it again, this time it came to 4 kg… I felt something wasn’t right when I took out more clothes again and literally had only underwear and a few shirts and it still came to 3 kg. The lady was weighing our clothes with one of those hook weigh scales and so I was puzzled when I kept being so heavy. I asked if I could weigh it myself and she immediately said no, I asked why not and went to grab the weigh scale and went from a nice lady to one of the meanest ladies, she started telling me to take my clothes back I don’t want your business and all this jazz. So it turns out she was tilting her wrist a certain way to make the laundry heavier than it actually was. I knew something was up but didn’t notice till about the 3rd time she weighed something in front of me. She was probably adding 2-3 kg every time she did her little trick. For the normal person they probably would’ve just let it go and pay the extra 8 or 12 bucks but when people do that stuff to me I make it clear that I know you are scamming me and I am not going to support those kind of things. I really hope that people who are travelling for the first time or even the well travelled person looks for those kinds of scams and doesn’t support that and supports the honest business owner.
We met up with Adam, Lucy, Danny and Lieve for drinks and planned to meet up with them once we hit the south coast, they were going to Yala National park to go on a safari and we were heading straight south to a beach town called Mirissa! Marissa was great, we settled down and got a nice hotel room for a week, Danny and Lieve joined us and were our neighbors for the week and a few days later Adam and Lucy occupied the room beside ours. The owner of this hotel was an amazing guy, cooking us breakfast every morning and helping us out with anything we needed. He threw a BBQ for us on the night before we were leaving and we really got lucky with an amazing hotel and great friends to spend the week with. During the week we went exploring on our motorbikes and also went whale watching which was cool, I’ve been whale watching in Mexico and have never seen anything ever so when I was told that we would see blue whales I was stoked, we ended up seeing 3 or 4 blue whales and one came up super close to our boat, we got to see spinner dolphins and some sea turtles, it was a great tour but the sea sick pills left everyone feeling sleepy. We spent the rest of the week seeing new beaches and surfing, Sri Lanka is the place to go for beach bums.
After the week together it was finally time for Lieve and Danny to fly to Australia to continue their travels and for Sara and I to continue back to India, Adam and Lucy were continuing on with Sri Lanka for a few more weeks then making their way to India.
All in all Sri Lanka was a great country, It’s beaches are great and you can find many deserted beautiful beaches if that’s what you want, also the tea country is very nice and is great for anyone who enjoys hiking. Whale watching off the coast is the best I’ve seen and the surf isn’t crowded because of the endless coastline. The accommodations were the expensive part, but everything else is reasonably price. The only thing that is cheaper then India is the transportation, we took a 6 hour train for 60 cents and a few long buses for a dollar or two.
When we arrived in Auroville, India my good buddy, Jeff from my first year of fire fighting was there so it was great to catch up with him. Plus my friend, Ravi I met in Vietnam four years ago was kind enough to let us into his house for a few weeks!