Day 14 - Dambulla to Kandy (Sri Lanka)

Trip Start Mar 29, 2013
Trip End Aug 17, 2013

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Flag of Sri Lanka  , Central Province,
Friday, April 12, 2013

Dylan says goodbye to his new friends this morning and we leave for Dambulla Caves a few minutes drive down the road. We have spied the entrance several times as it would be pretty hard to miss an enormous golden Buddha at the entrance.

We have yet another van today and another driver, Edward is the passenger. No explanation except they thought we'd like the higher roof!

The van takes us part way to the temple, then Edward tells us we must walk the rest of the way. He fails to mention that its a practically vertical climb and its boiling hot again today. We lug the children up the cliff face, which is thankfully fairly shaded, then arrive at the summit to emerge into the sweltering heat. Rich is just digging into our bag for sunhats for the little people when we are accosted by a lady telling us we must cover Taya's head from the sun. Emma politely explains this is exactly what we are trying to do, but she persists and ends up with Emma pretty much telling her to mind her own business and that we would look after our daughter. Cross mummy.

Emma is completely inappropriately dressed for a temple visit with both knees and shoulders visible. Pretty pleased he hadn't told us this before, since trekking up that hill in jeans would likely have finished Emma off. Edward borrows some fetching itchy material and dresses me for the temple. As if the heat wasn't enough already. Shoes off for the temples, so burning hot paths it is. The caves are incredible though. They are filled to the brim with Buddha statues in various positions. Dead, resting, meditating etc. Some of them are enormous and so impressive.

There are a lot of people trying to sell us curios and postcard strips, Dylan soon gets the hang of the no thank you part.

On to our next point of interest, a Sri Lanka spice garden. After a quick 'ride' on both Elephants at the entrance for the little man, we are greeted by our tour guide. He is studying to be a herbal doctor and is keen to practice his English. His language is amazing despite the ridiculous overuse of sir and madam. He takes us round the various plants and trees such as cardamom, pepper, vanilla, Cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, and aloe vera. He explains how the right parts are extracted and how they can be used in herbal medicine. At each place there is something to smell or touch so it's not too dull for Dylan. He does however get quite annoyed with the man who leaves Taya out of the sniff tests, so he reminds him to let Taya smell at each stop until he finally gets the message. My favourite part is the testing of the hair removal potion made from some plant or other. He asks Rich to test it and he looks terrified. We settle on a patch at the back of his neck and he applies the cream, ten minutes later and a tissue wipe and it's gone.

We then go on to sniff and touch the actual potions. The grown ups are then given a face massage with a potion to make us look younger - the cheek of it! He said we should take a before and after shot. We have no idea if he was joking as he looked so serious. Two men then sprung up to give us an impromptu head, shoulder, back and leg massage whilst our guide cuddled Taya and tried to contain Dylan.

Our new van is not too great on the old suspension, has a dodgy clutch which makes it shudder, and a driver who is keen on emergency stops and drives like a local. The kidlets still snoozed thankfully.

We arrived at our new home for the night Kandy. The town is beautiful, built up the hillsides around a central lake. We are staying at Hotel Suisse which is very grand and colonial. We are given a very warm welcome and a bright pink welcome drink that tasted like bubblegum. We arrived just in time to avoid an enormous thunderstorm. We explore the hotel and have a late lunch. Taya has some more gawpers but this time it's baby led weaning they find entertaining, then we shower ready for the evening entertainment. Dylan has drawn in biro all over his legs, apparently an injection because they were hurting. One shower hasn't done the trick, so hopefully there will be time for another in the morning.

This evening we are treated to a cultural evening. It's bright, loud and colourful with lots of dancing and singing. Dylan sat still for 45 minutes, which has to be a record, before the door at the back was tempting. Emma and Dylan headed to the lake and fed the ducks and fish whilst chatting to the locals. We also saw a kingfisher, which Emma correctly identified, bright blue back and pretty small for the birds watchers out there (hope you are proud Grandad Ian). Dylan and Emma take a seat down at the lake to have a chat. Little D has been a bit spirited this afternoon and just wanted to check all is ok. "Dylan are you happy?", "yes mummy, I really like travelling, going to new places all the time is really fun, and I love playing with Taya". Well that answers that one, phew! Back to the dancing in time to see the finale of two men dancing on fire. Crazy!

Rich takes Dylan in search of food back at the hotel whilst Emma puts Taya to bed. The big Kemptons are hoping the monitor reaches so they can have dinner together tonight.
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Liz Cheyne on

Wonderful photos of you all today and a very informative day in the life of the travelling Kemptons.
Sleep well! XX

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