Sri Lanka - Day 7

Trip Start Jan 04, 2013
Trip End Jan 26, 2013

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Flag of Sri Lanka  , Central Province,
Saturday, January 12, 2013

It's our last day at The Thick Forest, after a late breakfast Charminda picks us up to take us to the bus station in town. We wait for our local bus to arrive that will take us to Kandy. As soon as the bus arrives a crowd of people appear from nowhere and jostle to get on the bus. Queues are not known of in Sri Lanka. When it comes to lineups it's every man woman and child for themselves. We venture into the frey, back packs and all, and squeeze our way onto the bus. We even manage to get 3 seats at the back. Transportation acquired we settle in for the 2 hour bus ride to Kandy. Oh did I mention it is a music bus. That's right 2 hours of Sri Lankan dance music at top volume, provided for our listening pleasure, all the way to Kandy!

Well versed in the top of the charts of the Sri Lankan music scene we arrive in Kandy, the cultural capital of the island, the former capital of the Sri Lankan kingdom. Our accommodations for this part of the trip is Hotel Suisse. A colonial building complete with billiards room, mahogany bar and staff in red vests and black bow ties. Quite the change from the thick forest.

After checking into our regal abode we venture out to see what the city has to offer and pay a visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. The streets are full of traffic, honking and weaving their way to their destinations. The sidewalks are equally packed with locals and a few tourists as make our way around Kandy lake. On route we stop off for some spicy snacks from one of the local street venders.

Our walk around the lake eventually takes us to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. The temple gets its name from housing ones of the most sacred Buddhist artifacts in Sri Lanka, a tooth of the Buddha retrieved from his funeral pyre. Shoes removed, shoulders and legs covered and foreign entry fees paid we make our way into the temple complex. Devotees pay homage to the sacred relic by placing flowers before the alter. The smell of fresh cut lotus fills our senses and creates a peaceful atmosphere as we quietly linger, watching people, hands held to their heads in silent prayer, making their way through the shrine room. We then wander around the rest of the complex before making our way back into the crowded, noisy streets of Kandy.

We linger by the lake, waiting for the Kandy cultural dance show to start. The performance consists off drummers, dancing girls, mask dances, drum spinning and fire walkers. After the show we jump into a tuk tuk and make our way to our hotel where we promptly make our way to the bar for some drinks. Wine for the ladies and gin and tonics for me. Doubles of course. Feeling joyful we make our way to dinner which consists of classically outdated British fare along with some local specialties like chop rotti. In the background the live band plays hits from ABBA and The BeeGees. All in all a very surreal experience. We decide to call it a night before the Celine Dion covers start.
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