Sri Lanka Recollections

Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
Trip End Oct 31, 2007

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Sri Lanka summary

Summing up our time in Sri Lanka is a bit easier than the same task was for India (and not just because all we've done is to cut and paste the India summary entry and change the names :o). We had 2 weeks there as opposed to 2 months in India so the needless generalisations that we so enjoy are a little harder to draw. Still, here goes:

Worst meals in descending order (i.e. worst first)
Pizza and pasta at Thaproban Rest in Unawatuna. Not for the actual quality of the food which was ok, but just because it was not even close to what we had ordered and most of all because of the foul mood it put us in.
Meal in dirty street restaurant in Kandy. Again not for the food (which was bad, but not terrible), but because we'd argued about whose decision it had been to go there in the first place and poor Rach was so miserable because she'd just wanted something simple and tasty to eat and, for a few moments, everything about the travelling rather got us down.
Cold seafood fried rice and plain, dry slices of cucumber and carrot that took an hour and a half to prepare and was utterly disheartening. The waitresses' amazement that we wanted the fried rice hot (as in 'fried') topped off this awful meal in Tangalle.

Best meals
Rice and curry at the Prassanda Village guesthouse we stayed at in Kandy. So many dishes. So tasty. So much food.
Simple fried fish lunch at Hot Rock in Unawatuna.
Devilled pork with a beer in 'The Pub' in Kandy.

Worst toilet
The toilets halfway down the descent of Sri Pada. We didn't use them they were that filthy. We do have photos (disgusting, I know) but there are some things you gentle folk need to be sheltered from.

Best toilet
None stick out, but generally the loos were of a slightly superior standard to those in India. In some cases it even appeared that 'cleaning products' had been used. It's called progress.

No really long bus journeys but generally a little bit cleaner than Indian buses. Local buses were similar but the views from the widows tended to be greener and less poverty-infused than their Indian equivalent.

We only took a few train journeys on the island (Hatton - Haputale; Galle - Colombo; and Colombo - Negombo). The Galle train was uncomfortable and of a similar satandard to second class Indian trains. The Hatton train was a lovely journey - the best by train on this trip so far. Not because we were in first class, which obviously helped, but because of the rolling tea plantation scenery - utterly stunning.

Best experience
Easy. Climbing Adam's Peak.
Other contenders were the elephant safari at Uda Walawe, snorkelling at Unawatuna, and all those lovely rice and curry meals. Another that was hard to beat was walking into our first guesthouse in Negombo and seeing the sea through the white collonaded portico. We got a room for just a few pounds and decided we were going to enjoy Sri Lanka a lot.

Worst experiences
Hearing about the bus bombs on the West Coast (near Colombo) and wondering if we'd made a terrible mistake in coming to the country.

Arriving in Tanamalwilla in the middle of the day - about 31 degrees - and having to work out which bus to get next. (Fortunately we managed to get a lift with a nice family we'd met at Adam's Peak so the wait was mercifully short.)

Arriving in Haputale dressed in shorts and a t-shirt when it was in fact cold, raining and drizzly just like England and feeling that er, this was not exactly the plan.

Luxury budget items
Flights to SL in the first place - about 275 pounds
1 night at Centaurion Lakeside Hotel at Embilipitya - 50 pounds
Lunch at the Amangalla Hotel in Galle - about 20 pounds

Excluding luxury items above, we spent 437.16 pounds altogether over 14 days, an average of 31 pounds and 21 pence per day. This was a bit more than we'd budgeted (we'd assumed similar costs to India) and in the main this was because of the high costs of the key tourist sights (around 20$ US each) and our decision to hire a car and driver for a couple of days to save time and see more. Elsewhere, costs were roughly similar to India (buses very cheap, trains also; internet though varied hugely, from between 1.5 and 5 pence a minute. Food a little more than in India for comparable fare and accommodation only a touch more. (T&R)
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