Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Sri Lanka Day 2 - Elephants!

We woke up early to a delicious breakfast of yoghurt, fresh fruit smoothie and a HUGE bowl of breads.  I felt a bit guilty as we were the only guests and we were waited on hand and foot, and given more food than we could eat!!

We had a long drive to Pinnawala to see the elephants.  We had opted for the smaller sanctuary at the Millennium Elephant Foundation rather than the more famous Elephant Orphanage.  Roland had said we would get a more hands on experience at the smaller one, which made our minds up.  In hindsight it was probably the wrong decision, because the larger one is government run, has loads of elephants, and you get to see them in a more natural environment.  The Millennium Elephant Orphanage had 9 elephants, and it felt very tourist driven rather than elephant driven.

I paid to wash and ride an elephant, which was an interesting experience.  The herder made the elephant lie down in the river (which it also did a massive poo in) whilst I stood bare foot next to it and rubbed it down with some coconut husks.  I then sat on its back whilst it sucked water up into its trunk, and squirted it behind its back  - onto me.  I got SOAKED.  To be fair they had warned me I was going to get wet, but I really didn't envisage just how wet.  I was then joined by Bex and Jen on the elephant's back and we had a little ride round the corner and back -this was really disappoting, it was literally a little garden we went round in, I felt like a kid on a pony at a fair.

whoah look at his manlyhood

i think i was yelling at him to stop by this point

 Both the handler and worker asked us for money so I gave them 100R each, apparenlty this wasn't enough and I ended up giving them 500R. Cheeky.  We then had the oppotrunity to feed the elephant - so weird as their trunks are such weird implements, and a bit creepy I found.

I got changed from my soaked through clothes then we headed for Dambulla - another long drive of a few hours. We were going here to see the Golden Buddha Temple.  On the drive there Roland stopped at a roadside vendor and brought us some bananas which was very nice of him.  Turns out you can get lots of different types of bananas, who knew!  These ones were a lot smaller than ones we get back home and oddly tasted a bit of apple?  We also stopped to watch some men and women who were rolling tobacco into cigarettes.

The temple itself was quite interesting, a huge 30m buddha stands at the bottom, then lots of stairs up to the temple itself, which is created of 5 rooms built into the rock, each containing loads of buddha statues.  On the way up to the temple we passed loads of stray dogs and families of monkeys - and a family of monkeys and dogs - it was so cute, there were 2 puppies who were playing with baby monkeys, I wanted to touch them.

Another long drive to our next accommodation in Sigiriya, called Melrose Villa.  The drive was a bit hairy in places, a cow walked out in front of us then did a giant poo.  Pedestrians also walked out in front of us but refrained from pooing.  As Roland says, "Sri Lankans want to die".

The room wasn't as nice as the last place but still acceptable by any means.  I went into the bathroom to wash my wet clothes from the elephant ride, and a baby frog jumped out!! I screamed.  Jen managed to catch it and put it outside. Jen is my hero.

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