Sweet Sweet Kandy
Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
54Trip End Sep 19, 2011
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After a horrid night at the hotel Nippon ( and I bet no Nippon would ever stay there ) we got a Taxi to the railway station. Outside the station we noticed a sign saying Golden triangle tours so we went in. We walked out 30 minutes later having booked said tour. This entailed 2 nights in Kandy with a tour of an Elephant orphanage then 3 nights up north on a cultural tour, well you know me, a right culture vulture.........Right ?? Suit yourselves!!! Our tour cost £300, this included 5 night accommodation and a car and driver for 5 days. Not that cheap but not to expensive either.
That sorted we headed into the station to catch the train. We were told that it's every man for himself as far as the seating goes and that you have to fight your way onto the train to get a seat. Easy enough if your not lugging your two packs around. The guy we booked the tour with came over just before the train pulled in and said that we should pay this little deaf guy and he would secure us two seats, this we did
The ride was a delight and really lifted my spirits. The scenery was beautiful and it got better the higher we went. Three hours later we arrived in Kandy. Kandy is Sri Lanka's second city and it is set high in the interior. It is a beautiful place with a lake set in the middle of town.
We got a Tuk tuk to our hotel and we were not disappointed, it was set high above town with fantastic views over the city. The room was great with a balcony and WiFi. Oh, bliss. I tried a cheese omelet that night and it stayed down. Thank Christ, I was getting better.
The next morning our driver arrived. He was a big youth from the south named Ramish. He was one of these very dark Sri Lankans, well he was black actually. He is 26 years old and was a good careful driver always smiling and laughing. Cathy and I really liked him and felt very happy in his company. He took us to the Kandy Botanical gardens to start with. These gardens were first lay ed by the British in about 1850's and in true Empire style we did a bloody good job of it. That said the Sri Lankans have looked after them damn well ever since
From the Botanical Gardens we were taken 20 Km out of town to an Elephant orphanage. I forget the name of the town now. We were charged £7 each admission for the second time that day, which rather alarmed us. That's £28 for admission into two places in one day and that I can tell you is more than we can sustain. That is nearly our daily allowance!!! We were starting to realize the Sri Lankan tourist board was ripping tourists off in a big way. They had deemed it appropriate to charge foreigners a set 1200 Rupees for every attraction in the land!!!! While the locals pay 120 Rupees. Just imagine the British tourist board pulling that one. It's more likely they would charge the Brits more and let the foreigners in for free!! But that is what a liberal society is all about I suppose. SIGH.
Back to the Elephants. So why so many orphans? Well it's all about conflict with man.......what else? But here it is not as simple as mans own greed for land. The Elephants do have national parks to roam in. But they quite like rice unfortunately for the elephants and man. These rice farmers eek out a living growing their precious crop
The orphanage is set up to rehabilitate the young elephants back into the wild. But in the interim we can go and see these lovely animals up close. There are about 45 elephants here and it was a real treat to see them feeding and playing together. Than at about 2 O clock in the afternoon they march the elephants down the high street of this little town down to the river where they let them play and wallow for an hour or two. This was a fantastic sight that will stay with Cathy and I forever. I hope the pictures do the scene justice. It was here at the orphanage that it started raining and I must warn you there will be lots of talk about rain in my next blog !!
After the orphanage it was back to pleasent old kandy for the night before heading north in the morning. We had a splendid curry for dinner, papadoms the works. Then an early night and yes I was feeling better!!!!