Trip Start Jul 02, 2008
Trip End Jun 19, 2009

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations Obama!!  Oh my fucking god, how exciting!!  People are looking at me strangely because I've had tears in my eyes all day but a perma-grin on my face.  I am SO happy for Obama and his beautiful family.  I am SO proud of my country...finally.  Traveling the world every summer I see firsthand what the world thinks of America and of Americans.  This victory shows the world that Americans are not happy with the state of our union and that it's time for a change.  I'm sorry if you are/were a McCain fan, he fought a great battle, but in the end, I believe, America has chosen the best candidate for the job. 

I stayed at a guesthouse with a tv so can wake up early in the morning to watch the polls closing and the results come in.  Sri Lanka is 11.5 hours later than Chicago time.  I woke up at 5:30 AM, turned on the tv and Obama had 3 electoral votes and McCain had I think 8.  My heart sank!  Of course I know it's a long process and there were 48 more states to poll (ha!), but I still didn't like the fact that he was losing...at all.  Obama quickly started winning states and the tears started rolling down my face.  The tv in the guesthouse had two stations, HBO and Sky News, a British news station.  They covered the polling very well in my opinion.  They kept showing the buildup in Grant Park, the crowds in Times Square, and the extremely quiet Republican "party" in Arizona.  I hope a lot of you went down to Grant Park to celebrate.  I kept scanning the faces in the crowd to see a familiar face :)  Oh how I wish I could have been there to experience such a historical event.

Enough of my babbling. 

After Kandy I took the bus two hours north to Dambulla, where the Rock Cave Temples are located.  After climbing up a steep rock face for 20-30 minutes you reach a series of caves where there are Buddha statues (about 150 total) inside as well as cave paintings depicting various Buddhist images.

After climbing back down the rock I hopped on another bus for another 45 minutes to Sigiriya.  Since all there was to see in Dambulla were the cave temples and they didn't take very long I decided not to stay the night there.

So, on to Sigiriya, another of the ancient cities of Sri Lanka.  Here there is another rock to climb, however, much bigger.  Some people believe that the ruins on top of the rock were a palace, some believe a fortress, and others believe they were residences.  This climb takes about an hour to an hour and a half to climb.  Along the way are a couple caves (without Buddha statues however), a graffiti wall from 1000 years ago, and some rock paintings/frescoes.  What's left of the ruins isn't much, just the foundations of the buildings.  But the views from the top were incredible.

Before I continue, I have some bad news.  All along on this trip I have been saving my pictures onto a flash drive and then little by little uploading them onto Kodak's website where I keep all of my digital pics.  So far I have uploaded all of my pictures through Khajuraho, India (where the Kama Sutra Temples were) onto Kodak's website for safe keeping.  A few days ago I must have gotten a virus on my flashdrive and I lost all of my pictures from Varanasi (the city of the Ganges River) up to now.  The folders are still showing up on the drive but they have been converted to programs and can't be open.  Maybe someone knows some trick to help recover them????  So I have no pictures of Dambulla or Sigiriya to share with you.  Sorry.

I do have pictures of my next stop though, Polonnaruwa.  Yet another ancient city with more temples and Buddha statues to visit.  Here, however, there is no rock to climb.  But the sites are scattered well around the city.  I rented a bicycle for the day (US$2) to see the sites and started early in the morning to beat the mid-day heat.  Polonnaruwa was the royal capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom for about 300 years, around the 11th Century AD.  There's not too much to explain of the pictures, there are some dagobas/temples, Buddha statues, a monastery, etc.  Enjoy!!

There's one more ancient city I'm visiting next, then it's back to the south coast for some SCUBA diving! 

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Where I stayed
Gajaba Guesthouse
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