Monday, September 10, 2012

The Adventure Continued: Colombo, Baby Elephants and Kandy

Traffic speeding by below the apartment
After the beach we headed to Colombo for a day or so. The heat there was astonishing as the sun beat down and reflected off the buildings. It is not a beautiful city but it was still interesting to wander round. We visited a fascinating Buddhist temple that seemed almost like a museum, with shelves filled with jewellery or watches or coins or some other valuable that had been donated over the years. We were staying in an apartment block in what seemed to be the city's equivalent of South Kensington, sandwiched between the presidents house and expensive hotels. One of my favourite places was the Galle Face Hotel, which exuded old-world, colonial charm and is a perfect spot for a couple of (very reasonable) cocktails with the sea lapping at your side. It is one of the oldest hotels of its kind, predating Raffles in Singapore and has hosted many famous people over the years such as the writer Chekhov.

Bath time for the young elephant at the temple

View across the lake
Looking out over the terrace of the Galle Face Hotel

Raise the flag. TROUSERS Zara - BAG Mulberry

Reflected in a Tuk Tuk wing mirror. These three-wheelers are the primary mode of transport in the country and are everywhere in the city offering their taxi services.
DRESS - Monsoon
Driving most places in Sri Lanka takes an age. There is only a few highway routes such as the one between Colombo and Galle. The rest are narrow, winding stretches where two lanes turn to four as cars, tuk tuks, trucks and buses jostle for position as they head through small villages with shop after shop selling a specific good such as car seats (a phenomenon I have yet to fathom). In order to break up the journey up to Kandy we stopped at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage which was quite magical. The animals seemed to be well cared for and I got right up close to them, feeding one and saving another come up and touch my hand with its trunk which was wonderfully unexpected.

In the evening we finally arrived at the bungalow near to Kandy that we would be staying at. The main road was closed for resurfacing so we had a nail-biting drive up the security back road which was almost too narrow for the Jeep and had sheer drops at one side. However the journey was worth it as we came to our next abode: colonial building which was being renovated so that half of it could not be used, but this became irrelevant when we took in the view the next morning. In the early hours when the sun was still coming up I went out onto the roof to take in the view before going out into the gardens.
TROUSERS & SCARF Zara - TOP Peacock - BRACELET Vintage
Darling little bird that kindly posed on the roof

The main attraction in Kandy is the Temple of The Sacred Tooth which is believed to hold one of the Buddha's teeth.
View across the lake in Kandy
Flower offerings at the Temple of the Tooth

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