Sri Lanka

I was there in the late nineties; we did all of those normal things people do there, and it makes me think that there is a bit of a formula thing to Sri Lanka tours… but on the stomach thing… my son was 3 years old, lived off poppadoms and profiteroles (he famously ate 11 for breakfast) and was never ill. We paddled in the sea and got swept off our feet from ankle deep in a couple of seconds by a big but apparently normal wave and I was lucky to catch him as we were swept out. The waiter in the hotel, of a certain age, reluctantly confessed to dying his hair because he would loose his job if he were ever to go grey. We broke the rules and brought a durian back into the hotel room. Some people love them, but for me it smelled and tasted like a sewer, or what a sewer would taste like – I have never tasted one … obviously. It was also a spiky devil that was nearly impossible to break into. Wish I had not have bothered really. My daughter at 4 had a massive fall out with our friends’ son of the same age over whether the sky was blue or grey and I loved the second hand book stalls in Colombo where the books were old and smelled of mildew. We ate vege curries and none of us were ill. On the drive up to Kandy our tame-adopted-taxi-driver told us on the way back that the road was very dangerous for walkers at night because many snakes came down to the warm tarmac. The elephant procession was impressive. We visited a Victorian machine-clanking tea factory and a herb garden on the way… saw toddy tappers climb coconut trees and walk along high suspended ropes and bring down the hooch and bought some gemstones. The elephant orphanage was cracking and Kandy was sublime. All in all I enjoyed it, although the tourist route did seem a bit formulaic. I’d like to go back again but this time travel independently.

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