The view from the top is always the same

Trip Start Oct 13, 2013
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Trip End Apr 13, 2014


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Where I stayed
Relax Inn

Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Sunday, March 30, 2014

I arrived in the market town of Dambulla after a long bus ride where I met several interesting locals. I arrived in the town, tired and overwhelmed and was at once surrounded by a pack of touts.trying to get me to go to their guest houses (sigiriya is close by and is the number on tourist attraction in Sri Lanka). I met an interesting character named "bob Marley" (he thinks hes black. All his clothes are Marley inspired, his tuk tuk blasts some "pumpin jams") and stayed in his house with his brother, sister, sister in law and nephew. There is really not much going on in the city so,Mr. Marley and I went out for dinner, picked up some arrak and went to a hostel to meet some French people and locals. On our way back to his hostel we heard a terribly loud noise that scared the crap outta me. We later found out that someone had set off a landmine. The next day bob Marley took me to see all the sights. He told me that he knew the area so well and that of I could ask him to take me to a place he's never brought a tourist before he'd take me around free (he had already agreed to take,me just for the cost of petrol as it was) so I told him I wanted to go go the dump! He laughed.... But I was serious. so my free day started with a trip to the world famous rock temple. As per usual it was a long climb barefoot on hot rocks. There are 5 caves dating from almost 2000 years ago depicting Buddha images. The walls of the rock caves are intricate painted and decorated. There were so many tourists locals and foreigners alike. I sat on the edge of the cliff and watched monkeys steal things out of the package tourists bags, they were none the wiser. From there we took a drive out to the dump and oh boy was that a rancid smell. They burn their trash rather then bury it so the smell and particles are carried quite far down wind. However once we got to the dump I was greeted by the sight of a wild herd of elephants. They apparently come by twice a day to collect food. The herd consists of about 40 elephants of all ages. It was a beautiful and sad sight. From there we high tailed it to pidurangala which is a rock  temple across from sigiriya. sigiriya is probably the number one tourist attraction in Sri Lanka. It is an ancient ruin set a top a rock formation in the middle of the jungle. it comes with a price tag of 40 Usd to climb it with a million (a rough educated estimate) other people. I decided to climb the other temple on the advice of Mr Marley and Derek (from Thailand). It was an easy climb with a wonderful payout. The view was stunning. It was the embodiment of the lesson from Aladdin; the view from the palace is the slums. The view from the slums is the palace. I sat and watched hundreds of people climb the stairs to the top of sigiriya. The summit of my mountain was gigantic and I had it all to myself. I sat up there reading my book "the god delusion" with a thermos of chai tea for almost 3 hours. My only company was a group of people my age from the Ukraine. They had participated in the protests and I badgered them with a thousand questions about it. I was once again struck by how lucky I really am. the view was a 360 panoramic including lakes, jungle, city, sigiriya and many pagodas. it is easy to see why ancient civilizations build temples in mountains. the next stop on our tour was a man made lake. They didn't clear the forest before they built the lake leaving hundreds of dead trees sticking out of the lake. It is really creepy. Once again there was a school field trip. If anyone was keeping tabs on me it would be a bit suspicious that I keep ending up at beaches at the same time as scores of children between the ages of 5 and 12. Not creepy at all. I sat on the "beach" which is made of quartz and just really took on the moment. The magnitude of all I had seen and done in just one day. This world has so much to offer everyone and anyone. Its all there for the taking. You just need to take that first step.
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