. Before we went in, we had to take off our shoes in respect to Buddha. I saw some people carrying little baskets of lotus flowers in, so I suggested that we buy some to bring into the temple. Once we had gotten our flowers and had headed into the temple, we had no idea where to go. We saw more people with flowers, so we followed them into a room full of Buddhist people praying. I felt so out of place! The people we had been following walked up to a long table full of flowers, added theirs to it, and said a quick prayer before going to sit on the floor with everyone else. We put our flowers up there and sat down for a few minutes until we saw a line of people beginning to form to see Buddha's tooth. We got in line quickly, and I'm glad we did, because I looked back behind us and saw that the line was going all the way down the stairs, and even beyond the stairs I could see people in the line. We waited about 10 minutes until it was finally our turn to see the tooth. "This is so cool! I get to see Buddha's tooth!" I thought to myself. Then, I stopped in front of the glass where they had Buddha's tooth, and stared. And kept staring. And stared harder. But I couldn't even see anything! They had seven cases around Buddha's tooth, so all I could see was a bunch of glass and plastic. It was disappointing, but the temple itself was still beautiful.
The next day we visited the Botanical Garden
. It was wonderful! The flowers were so beautiful and unique. There was this one family that asked to have a picture with us. It was a little weird, because they took about 20 pictures. I was glad to be done! We then went to a spice garden. The tour of it was so cool! They started us off with herbal tea, which was delicious! They showed us a million different plants, and all the medicines they could make with that plant. In the end they gave me a free spice garland, and Jess vanilla beans.
Another day, we went on a really fun tour. We took a boat ( they call it a Oruwa ) across the lake to get to a house. Along the way, the tour guide taught all of us how to make a water lily necklace, and gave it to me. We had lunch with the family at the house, then took the Oruwa back across the lake. There, we went on a mule ride to the car. I didn't like sitting right behind the mules, because my feet were really close to its butt, and its tail kept slapping my feet. Those mules stunk!
I think the last day was the coolest. We climbed the Sigiriya Rock, also called the Lion's Rock. The king that made the Lionīs Rock was not a good person. He killed his father and although his brother was the rightful heir, became king. As king, he made the Lionīs Rock to protect himself from his brother who wished for revenge. There was a large part in his fortress for the ladies. He had a cave painted with pictures of these ladies. People think that some of the ladies in the painting were princesses and the darker skinned ones were their servants. Back in the king's time, his brother was devising a plan for revenge. He drove in a whole army to kill the evil king. But the king did not wish to die from his brother's army, so in the middle of the fight he raised his sword high, and plunged it into his chest
. He grinned before falling to the ground. After that gruesome detail, let's come back to the present. The Lion's Rock was so pretty, but it sure was hot that day! You were allowed to climb up to the top of the Lion's Rock to see the view. But BEWARE, there are giant wasp nests everywhere! 7 wasps stings are equal to a cobra's venom. Jess decided to take the risk and climbed up the mountain in a giant plastic suit that everyone had to wear because of the wasps. When she came back down, Jess was just dripping with sweat. It was pouring off of her. Eeew! We took a picture, but I doubt Jess wants that picture to show up here.
Sri Lanka was so great, and our guide was awesome! He said he had a daughter my age back home, and it seemed that he was very attached to Jess and I. Before we left, he asked to download our pictures from Sri Lanka on his computer and ended up downloading every single picture we had on that computer! Now he's following momma on facebook and has liked every single new picture of us she's put on there.
Major Languages: Sinhala 74%, Tamil 18%
Currency: Sri Lanka Rupee
Life expectancy: 74.97
Literacy rate: 92%
Religions: Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%
New foods I tried: Rabutan (like a lychee), Mangustin fruit, Tamarind, Jack Fruit, Duran (stinky fruit), Buffalo Curd (yummmm)
In all of Sri Lanka, we had a driver who was great! He brought us everywhere and got us deals wherever we went. The first thing we did was go to the Elephant Orphanage. We got to feed the older elephants fruit, and bottle fed the babies. The elephant's tongue was so slimy and disgusting! You would just grab a piece of fruit, and plop it onto its tongue. When we bottle fed the baby elephants they had their legs chained to the ground, which was sad to see. After the elephant orphanage, we went to a cultural dance show. In the last part of it, they did this really cool fire dance. There were two guys that had flaming sticks in their hands, and in front of them was a line of burning coals. They took turns going across the coals, while running the flaming sticks across their arms. I read that the spirits bless them, so they know that they will not be hurt by the fire. I'm not sure if that is true, but sometimes belief that you can do something is all you need. When the dance was done, we went to the Kandy Tooth Relic Temple