Our travel style,in case you are a new reader, is to hire a private guide with a comfortable car who is ours for they duration. We do not just show up and say “whatcha got.” We do our own research with every book we can find, and do not forget my wife is a university librarian. We also peruse all the social media sites, the usual suspects and a few that are truly suspect.
Then we start contacting guides using again every source we can find. If we send someone an email and get no response within 48 hours, that person goes on the dung heap never to be recycled.
That is pretty brutal, but pity the ones who get right back to us. We let them make a proposal in the form of an itinerary. Then we hack at it. They come back with changes. What we are really looking for is a bit of creativity and daring on their part. This consumes a lot of their time. Mary Ann leaves it up to me because I have nothing but time. This puts us in a distinct advantage. We may be playing on their field, but I’m Sandy Koufax and I don’t care where I am pitching.
The person who I ended up choosing was a guy named Johan at Noramix Travels available through www.Srilanka.com. I threw him a few curve balls, and he had a great turn at bat.
All that brings me around to this trip to Sri Lanka.
Sun rise over Sri lanka from our Air Arabia flight, taken with my new IPAD
Now that we were settled into a wonderful room our driver, Farzan, or as he put it “not Tarzan”, started taking us around Colombo. It is pretty port town dating back to the days of spice and tea trade. The Portuguese and English in turn ran the trading businesses through this town. Sri Lnka has been independent since shortly after WWII.
The country suffered through a civil war that just ended a few years ago. The tourism industry is recovering nicely in the south west quarter of the country and a bit slower elsewhere. Colombo shows no signs of the war.
Another thing we saw in Colombo, and everywhere else in Sri Lanka, is a comfortable co-existence of Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian religions. You see it in the temples, mosques and churches and the cultural dress. I wish that were worldwide, alas.
We drove around and saw the city. Nice, but not much to blog about. However we did find one thing I have always wanted to see, a snake charmer.
Then we went to a place that was a combination museum and temple. This museum is more like a warehouse, but it’s full of valuable and beautiful treasures. Some of the shrines and buddhas were actually made of gold or completely covered in diamonds. I was busy taking photos of this cute little Buddhist monk…
…when my wife called out, “You gotta see this”. On my bucket list is the worlds largest Buddha statue, which I quess I will need to go to China to see. I had never considered the worlds smallest Buddha but here he was right in front of me .
We had been travelling across the coconut all night and day, so we went back to the hotel, had our first of many wonderful Sri Lankan meals. We had to get up early in the morning for the trin to Kandeeland!
Next post, Kandee! A wonderful city in the hill country, gateway to the tea plantations of old Ceylon!
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