Trip Start May 21, 2007
Trip End Aug 08, 2015

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Sunday, July 1, 2007

Today is "Poya" day (Full Moon). As Sri Lanka is around 80% Buddhist, it's quite a big deal. There was a constant stream of traffic through Hambantota today - horns were beeping, people were shouting, flags were flying and there were more stalls selling drinks and fruit. They were mostly heading to Tissa, which is an hour outside Hambantota. Today we hadn't planned on going anywhere, but ended up in a 3wheeler to Tissa to see what all the fuss was about!
We had a very good driver who spoke English so he was our tour guide for the day. Apparently there is a big procession that starts at 730 tonight with elephants, music, fireworks etc. We would have loved to have stayed and seen it, but had to be back for 7 as today is Smile's open day. It's a chance for anyone with links with Smile, or an interest in what to do to come along to a church service in London. I think there is usually a congregation of 500/600. Anyway Clive (the man behind Smile) wanted to have a live link up with us via skype so everyone could hear first hand the work the organization does. So we had to get back for that.
The first place we visited at Tissa was the main temple. There were so many people about. You can't actually go into the main temple as people are too "unclean", so people just go in to a reception area, lay flowers and come back out. Technical it's just a big empty dome.
On our way from the temple to the town, there were lakes on either side, filled with people bathing. Apparently the crocodiles don't come to close if there are masses of people, but I wasn't willing to take a chance! It was a surreal sight.
We took a slight diversion on the way back to Hambantota, and stopped in another town. Again we followed crowds of people up a 20/25 step climb. On one side you looked down to see the village, and then if you walked a few meters, on the other side you looked down on the ocean. It was a lovely view. There was also a temple as well which is what the people were more interested in.
So it was a very interesting day and you'll be pleased to know I have no interest in becoming a Buddhist! It was good to see another culture and part of Sri Lanka. Next weekend we are heading to the Rainforest, and the weekend after that, we are going on Safari at Yala - one of the biggest parks in Sri Lanka.
To finish, it wouldn't be a typical weekend without mentioning food....tonight I introduced Gordon to Champ! For a minute a thought I was sitting back in Costa Del Carrick!! It tasted good!
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