A day trip to Sigriya

Trip Start Sep 21, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Day 108 Fri 24th Feb 2006
A day trip to Sigriya
I got upgraded to a room last night, which was good, but the bed on the other hand, was not so good. Again I had a sleepless night. I got up around 715am, got showered (COLD) and ready, I skipped breakfast because of lack of time, then headed off to the bus stand to get a bus to Dambula. I was supposed to get there for 8 but it was 7.45am by the time I left the house, Auntie was just on her way back from somewhere so I jumped into the Tuk she was using, and got the guy to take me down to the stand. I managed to find a Deluxe A/C bus that was going straight to Dambula and leaving at 8.30, so I had time to squeeze in a cup of tea and some biscuits. This was my FIRST Deluxe bus in Lanka! It was more like a mini-coach really, it had tinted out windows and curtains to block out the sun and the A/C was actually working! It had three seats in every row, two on the right and one on the left with an isle in the middle (18 seats in total). The reason why I describe this so graphically is because I was in for a bit of a surprise! I met a couple from Denmark on the bus, they were moving to Dambula and they had all their bags with them, I was glad I didn't make the move to Dambula, I don't think it would have been worth it for one day. As more and more people got onto the bus the seats filled up. Just when we thought it was full they put more people on! These people came on, and the armrest of the two seats opened out to make another seat IN THE ISLE! By the time the bus was ready to go the isle was none existent. I guess it's a good use of the space but what happens if people need to get out in an emergency? Anyway, the bus took 2 hours to get to Dambula, an hour into the journey I was busting to go pee but the bus was NONE STOP! By the time we pulled into the stand I was about to pee my pants, I got off the bus and did that funny walk you do when you're dying to go! I made it to the toilets and relieved myself. This seems to be happening a lot lately, I think its all the bumpy roads, or the fact that it's hot and you tend to drink more water. Anyway, when I actually walked through the stand I realised how nice, clean and NEW it was (see pic), it's the best one I've seen in Lanka. Well done! Can you make some more please!!!

I was lucky enough to get a bus to Sigriya straight away and it only took 40 minutes to get there. It was a local bus so as usual it was totally packed out. I have learnt the hard way that once you get a seat on a local bus to KEEP IT! I took a Tuk up to the entrance, Nimaal wasn't there this time so I paid the Rs2000 fee to get in, now that is steep! Sigriya is basically a HUGE rock in the middle of the forest, it had a palace complex on the top and some painting in a cave that are 1600 years old. I say rock, but it takes the best part of an hour to get up there. I started out at 11.30am, walked along the path from main entrance and up to the steps that take you to the top. Half way up, I met a couple from London, David and Marian were in Lanka celebrating David's 70th birthday (congratulations again, I hope you have a good time on the big day!). We had a nice chat most of the way up and all the way back down, it was really nice to have met them both (see pic). About 2/3 of the way up you can see the 1600 year old painting in a cave, then you keep climbing to the top where you can see the remains of the palace complex. The view was amazing from the top, all you can see for mile around is forest and then mountains (see vid).The weather was kind to us today, there was a nice cool breeze blowing and this meant the sun didn't fell so harsh. It took well over 2 hours to see the whole place and I probably would have stayed longer but I wanted to visit a temple in Dambula too, so I got a bus back at around 2pm.
Once back in Dambula I took a Tuk to the Golden Temple, I had noticed it in this morning on the way to Dambula and wanted to take a closer look. When I got there they told me it would cost Rs500 to go in! IT'S A TEMPLE!, why should you have to pay to go in? I couldn't be bothered with the whole thing again, so took a picture from the outside and got the bus back to Kandy. I thought I would have to go back to the stand, but as I got onto the road outside the temple the bus came along and I waved it to stop and jumped on, how convenient is that? And yes, it was the deluxe bus!

It was gone 5pm by the time I got back into Kandy, and NO, I didn't need to go pee on the way back! I was feeling shattered by now and after grabbing a quick bit to eat in town came back to the house to. I sat in the garden and talked with Dan and Becky for a while, they were kind enough to let me have a look at their copy of the South East Asia guide book. I think I will have to get one of those, it covers Thailand, Loas, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and more. Basically everywhere I will be going next! They were great to talk to because they have spent the last 6 months travelling out there.

I spent most of the evening catching up with my travelogues. I think I either need to do less per day or write about it in less detail because it takes ages! It's been nice staying here, even if the room is not that good the people in the house are good fun and the atmosphere is sooooo friendly. I only have one night to go then move to Negombo so I can get to the airport quickly on Monday morning. The mosquitoes are doing their worst, I seem to be getting bitten even during the day! Is that even normal? I have also noticed another thing I seem to be feeling nauseous every time I get onto a bus or train, it's been a while now (since the Rajasthan trip) and I always think I'm going to be sick, but never am. Is it just a psychological thing or may it be a side-effect of the Malaria tablets I'm taking. (Jagtar can you ask Kanta and let me know, thanks).
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