Written by MichaelJM on 15 Feb, 2011
As is usual with almost every tour that you go on the guide will find time to encourage you to call in to local craft centres and I’m sure that they get some kind of commission or introduction payment for their efforts. We were taken…Read More
As is usual with almost every tour that you go on the guide will find time to encourage you to call in to local craft centres and I’m sure that they get some kind of commission or introduction payment for their efforts. We were taken to two in Kandy and in fairness they both proved interesting.First we called in at a gem museum. I’m not sure that it necessarily merited the title museum but there was a real effort to introduce to the gem market in Sri Lanka. Firstly we were taken to a small "theatre" where we were shown a short informative film about the gem industry. It was comprehensive but not overly technical so we all got a real good appreciation of how the business works from the mining of the rocks through to the production of fine jewellery. Next the guide took us through to the "museum" where he showed us all the uncut rocks of the different type of gem stones that are mined in Sri Lanka, including the blue sapphire, red sapphire, garnet, opel, cat’s eye ruby and zircon.Next we were offered the chance to see the stones being developed for their setting. This is very labour intensive and once the stone has been cut the gemstone workers begin the long stage of polishing and shaping the stone. After several hours of work the polished stone can be passed to the "setting specialist" who manipulates the ring, pendant or bracelet to "grip" the gem stone. Fascinating to watch and I would have been quite happy to stand and stare at the workers as they concentrate on the polishing wheel or the tiniest of gold claws in the jewellery case.After a time we are led through to the final stage of our visit – the showroom. Here every attempt is made to sell jewellery to our wives. A salesman moved in on us as soon as we entered the room and was quickly showing rings to our wives. Not taking "No" for an answer the ring trays were pulled out from the showcases and held up to us for closer scrutiny. As if to "pin us to our seats" a cup of tea is brought to us and the hard sell continued. We were well able to resist their attempts to sell to us as none of us had any intention to be spending over £200 on a piece of jewellery. Sure ly would never be an impulse buy! Finally, having enjoyed our cup of tea, we excused ourselves from the showroom and judging from the faces of the sales folk we were not likely to be flavour of the month. They looked disgusted that they’d missed out on a sale!Next we set off to catch a view of the lake and take in a craft shop specialising in carved timber. I’m particularly interested in this and although predictable I am still surprised to see that there is no modern equipment in the workroom. All cutting, shaping and carving is done by hand and so the work is real labour intensive. I can’t help but comment on the delightful smell of freshly carved wood and stand in awe at some of the beautiful finishes and carefully crafted joints that hold the furniture together. It’s all traditional joints with wooden dowels securing the joints. Beautiful, but of course it’s not cheap. Downstairs is a full showroom with small tables, chess sets, carved elephants, fishermen, jigsaws and traditional Kandyan dance masks. I am tempted momentarily until I remind myself that purchases direct from source are not always the best value. Indeed when the manager confirmed that much of the small carving is outsourced to home workers I remember that smaller shops and markets will also be dealing direct with these workers. I hold back on a purchase, but my friend steams ahead with the purchase of a very nicely carved elephant. Pricey – I think but he loves it so that’s all that matters.It’s worth checking out these local craft places but be cautious about jumping in with an early purchase Close
Written by beebopbeedoobi on 20 Aug, 2006
Z-An alternative itinerary.
Leave the driver at home, to watch someone tinker with his vehicle.
You will need a place to relax, because life in Sri lanka is hectic. So I suggest that you find a nice guest house where you can sit in peace. I think…Read More
Z-An alternative itinerary.
Leave the driver at home, to watch someone tinker with his vehicle.
You will need a place to relax, because life in Sri lanka is hectic. So I suggest that you find a nice guest house where you can sit in peace. I think the more times a person visits Sri Lanka the more of such places they would find. Everywhere is different and so, for each and everyone's taste there is one or more such places.
Many attractions can be reached by train, which is an ideal way to travel. Some of the trains are slow but information is available, just Google Sri Lanka info or such like. The other cheap way is to catch buses. The bus service in Sri Lanka is excellent (if, not for the faint of heart) regular and normally crowded and speedy. Don’t expect a bus like at home. Often they are like army surplus vehicles commissioned straight from the Japanese front line. The bell may be attached to a rope and may not make the sound you would expect and the driver may think he is a racing driver and may be completely insane.
My alternative itinerary is ; Have a basic knowledge of the attractions of Sri Lanka. The last thing you want is to get home and for someone to say , ‘oh , you didn’t visit that tribe of Vedha’, or ‘you didn’t see the biggest temple’. Don’t worry it will happen anyway, people are like that, just reply , ‘no, I didn’t do the "touristy thing" ‘.
Anyway, Have an idea of where you want to go and just go there, in a relaxed (guide free ) way. Be ‘in control’ of yourself, ie; if a guide comes and tries to take you somewhere – just ignore him. (remember he only wants your money)
All of the advertised ‘attractions’ are worth a visit. So I am sure you will have to come back many times. Nothing is as well organized as in the ‘West’ (thank goodness) and so the locals have yet to learn how to spoil things and government regulations/ corruption/ insanity is such as to dissuade foreigners from living here. Sri Lankan people are unable to relax and so can only have a fleeting interest in relics or art so , once you find what you are looking for , you will be left alone.
Maybe you will be told stories and other related ‘facts’ (no ‘maybe’ about it!). Everyone here will be unable to resist and it might not be the total truth , or no truth at all, so be warned; they won’t admit if they don’t know and in an emergency will ‘make it up’.
As always, it’s the detail that matters. Like the beggar selling canes to whip children, just outside the school gate. With a face like a sour lemon, as if he wishes to instigate the punishment, much to the disdain of the pupils as they leave. Or ; (small bit of bloggit ‘sorry boss’);-
I was passing the Maligawa checkpoint on my way to town when someone shouted, ‘nice shirt is it a Camel’. I was in full walk mode so all that registered was ‘Camel’ which I repeated.
On the way back he wanted to know how much my shirt cost. I said the first thing which came into my mind and he was shocked. Now don’t you think that’s worth mentioning? Even more strange, just a little way on , while I was swinging my plastic bag of three loaves by my side. Someone else shouted ‘Your bread!’ to which I quickly looked to see what was wrong with it. It seemed OK , so I looked at him and perhaps realizing something (what) he said, ‘nice bread!’. Yes I thought, yummy.
Written by beebopbeedoobi on 01 May, 2006
There are two massive eagles in the area, and a few smaller ones, and common minor birds, as well as a few more spectacular humming birds and other varieties. Sri Lanka as a whole has crocodiles, bares, panther, wild cat, shark, and whales; and in…Read More
There are two massive eagles in the area, and a few smaller ones, and common minor birds, as well as a few more spectacular humming birds and other varieties. Sri Lanka as a whole has crocodiles, bares, panther, wild cat, shark, and whales; and in the forests, some amazing beautiful birds. I like all animals, and am very pleased that Sri Lanka has so many.
Kandy; There is a kind of tradition about Kandy. When the British took the island from the Portuguese the Kandian territory held out and staged war. In the perverse manner of things; the people of the south blame Kandy people for not winning the war. Saying that;, the older people often have fond memories of the fine soap, biscuits and food from those Sudhas and have incredibly old fashioned English first names and sayings. I don’t believe in any form of Nationalism, it’s just unreal but, I think there was a very productive time, perhaps before then, when Kandy became a fine town and grew into the place it is. Compared to most of Sri Lanka, Kandy looks organized and mostly ‘works’.
In the past I have gone to a hardware shop in Colombo and asked for a nail and they didn’t know what to give me. There is a road of hardware shops in Kandy that have everything, will not cheat me and if they don’t have what I want will tell me where to get it, or ask me to take a seat while they ask the shop next door. That’s what Kandy is like; you can go to the post office (Seetha’s not the main one; which is a horrible nightmare of leucocratic self important monsters) and sit and write letters or wait for a friend or phone abroad or type a letter, send a fax or just take your sandwiches and watch the people, also the staff are great. Right next to Seta’s, my favorite (cheapest) Internet café has just moved; you have to go up the stairs at the side of Seetha’s. The last place they had looked exactly the same, they must have moved everything with numbers on. Anyway they charge 10 rs for a black and white print out which is five-times better than the place where all the tourists go (the coffee pot), there is a tiny little girl who seems to run it, she has short hair and big glasses and looks like a boy of 12. Always very friendly, although for colour prints she haggles, depending how much colour.
For places to eat there is; Devon’s, apparently run by people from the south (always good business people) and now it’s huge. For a really good take away meal; something like rice fish curry the place by the lake, temple side is probably nicer. Food is mostly rice and something. If they advertise Chinese it will still be rice and curry Sri Lankan style (the same),. One of my favorite tings is cotta rhotty (that’s how you pronounce it; probably the spelling is wrong). If you ever hear a kind of drumming on metal sound or someone throwing a kind of elastic dough into the air well, that’s cotta rhotty.
Sieni sambol is a sambol made with onions (seeny means sugar) Ordinarily rhotty is just flour and water and so in its normal state makes a kind of bread (small flat pieces) Malu rhotty is fish in rhotty coating (like a pasty) Short eats is all kinds of rolls (covered in breadcrumbs) patties and bread rolls. Normally when you order short eats, they bring a large tray and you pay for whatever you eat and leave the rest. For vegetarians must ask what is in the rolls/patties, it could well be meat. Eggs are really cheap now because of this chicken flu scare. Enough of food. Fil- lms; Now this may not interest you but, If you are looking for software there are several shops in Kandy that have almost any software you may want. I think this is due mostly to me giving them lists of all the most valuable programs.
I have lost track of how much something like "Maya" or "3D studio max" would cost in Europe, it must still be in the thousands, well in Kandy any software can be bought for 150rs. It is a copy, of course, but I make computer animation and so can use any program I might need. I suppose there is a bit of a virus risk, but what's the alternative. I used to make animation many years ago, and then worked in a factory for 15 years. It took about one year to teach myself the 3D software, the important thing is not that but that I have an inclination to make art with programs designed to make nonsense. Last year I stared to send my films away and had them shown in; London, Hamburg, Portugal, and Russia. I won the first prize (jointly) at the extra-short film festival in Novosibirsk, Russia. The software shops have any software and games. You can also buy DVDs of the latest films. I bought the Led Zeppelin one and hope one day to get a DVD player. Does anyone know how much a DVD burner would cost in Europe? If I had one, I could win more festivals. I’ll finish the films bit; if anyone is interested, I’d love to correspond... but probably it's travel that you are thinking of.
Wildlife; Now this is where it gets real. People and animals belong together. You can’t really make friends with a monitor lizard, but fishes like to be fed and so do monitors. They are also impressive things to see and grow to huge sizes. Snakes…Read More
Wildlife; Now this is where it gets real. People and animals belong together. You can’t really make friends with a monitor lizard, but fishes like to be fed and so do monitors. They are also impressive things to see and grow to huge sizes. Snakes are also not as bad as all that. In the last house where I lived, we were surrounded by forest and there were two incredible king cobras. I passed within 1 foot of one, just by the outside bathroom one day. It was pure white and about 10 feet long. Luckily as I passed it there was a frog in its mouth, (not too bad for the frog either, who survived). I watched it as it hissed at me and slowly, (with dignity) moved away. What I have found is that it is possible to go for months without seeing a single snake and then see two in one day. I used to be scared of them. There really is no reason to be, they have no need for humans. We have most snakes here, although I have yet to see a python.
Regularly we see wild boar, which can also be pretty impressive. They are very common in Sri Lanka but I don’t know how long they will remain, a lot of people shoot them and there are even communal hunts; all the husbands of a road that a big boar might be visiting. Bank clerks, teachers, etc., all chasing a big boar, I’m naturally on the boars side, but I can’t stop this and as most areas are now densely populated I don’t know about the future for boars. As it is at present, I can see families of boars in the evenings. They make regular trips across the roads and up the hill to root for food.
Around the perahera there are lots of working elephants around Kandy, Normally about 100-120. And these we see bathing in the river below. At other times, the Maligava normally has a few elephants and anyone traveling is bound to see some working elephants on the road. The wild ones are in more remote areas, but these places aren’t far away. Its not only the national parks, most drivers refuse to travel in areas where there are elephants after 6pm. In the evening, elephants go onto the roads, perhaps its warm, and may turn over any vehicles in their way. I have seen wild elephants by the road. They hold a fascination, even for the people who live in those areas, and I chased after the elephant along with the villages to see or be near such a huge animal.
There are also leopards in not only wild places. A while ago I visited a teacher who had a nice garden. He had a problem with his fish pond, a leopard kept taking his fish. The thing about Sri Lanka is that if you are observant, there are so many animals and birds. Only last night an owl accidentally flew into our house, and we used to have a small fruit bat that spent his nights hanging from the corner of the hall ceiling. There are animals that I didn’t know even existed. My wife described an animal she had seen that I had never heard of. Apparently they are only seen normally in deep jungles. It was, according to her, like a large maggot (at first she thought it was a snake) about 4 feet long and 1 foot wide, slow moving. I have never seen such a thing. Big centipedes, about 12 inches, very common and harmless. Every night large bats (flying foxes) pass over Kandy. There doesn’t seem to be as many as there used to be, but they do fly over.
Statues, images, and holly smoke are as unimportant as the latest pop idol but temples are marvelous places, full of life. Often, especially with the Hindu gods, people go because they have some sort of family problem, or they want someone to be "sorted out."…Read More
Statues, images, and holly smoke are as unimportant as the latest pop idol but temples are marvelous places, full of life. Often, especially with the Hindu gods, people go because they have some sort of family problem, or they want someone to be "sorted out." This can be done by throwing coconuts around or making a ‘promise’ to a god, in exchange for a favour. Usually the promise is sealed with a coin wrapped in a piece of cloth which is then attached to an upstanding oil lamp. The promise can be anything from; "a promise to dance" – which often has hilarious results, to a gift or painting. The most vicious Goddess is probably Kali and dealing with her is like the mafia and involves blood (she likes it) but now we are getting into the land of make belief.
In the temples, it is OK to offer flowers or fruit (must be clean) depending where you are. What you should do is; hold in both hands, place on table/alter, put hands together , touch flowers, put hands together in praying motion bowing head slightly, step back. Best to just have a look around to see what others are doing or just observe. I write this because I remember an American girl who started dancing in the Kandy temple when the drums sounded to announce the opening of the inner chamber; she said "wow this is good." I was standing close to her so I felt a bit of a walley. Shoes are not allowed in temples, or short skirts etc. I think tourist should throw away their socks when they arrive in Colombo (like Fonda, his watch in "Easy Rider"). Must remember them on the way back though.
It’s good to meditate in temples. Like this; sit down, cross legged if possible. Hands on top of each other on lap, sit extremely still, empty head of all thought, should be easy, and drift into land of nod, only joking! No, drift into extremely diligent state of awareness, non state, being, no thought and ultimate enlightenment. Start of with being aware of breathing; in, out, in, out, in, out. The locals will be really impressed, but do it quietly and unobtrusively. I like to find a place which is inconspicuous, preferably with people I know.
Family values are given high preference and often large families live together. Everything is based on innocence and an interpretation of living the "perfect" life. Therefore most people spend a good deal of time washing themselves, changing clothes, promoting their importance. Men (boys) tend to take preference and any relationships with the opposite sex are not only frowned upon but seen as the worst "sin." Therefore women have the worst of it; washing clothes and arranged marriage to emotionally infantile, spoilt boys, who will still live with their parents after the marriage.
While parents live they will always be consulted on everything in the family and children (up to 55 years) will always tell their parents, where they went, are going, what they do and ask advice about everything. The parents then supervise all, control all, and take all into there own hands. I know I sound a bit bitter about this; it’s just something that annoys me. But, like I wrote earlier, it won’t do to criticize the culture; it would change nothing and even the most suppressed Sinhalese woman will adamantly defend it. I have a book by James Cordiner (the first principal of Sri Lankan schools) written in 1807 and his descriptions of "Cingalese" character are uncannily close to the way of today.
Queues; You will notice that in temples, people will queue for hours. This I think, in itself, proves that they know how it’s done. The rest of the time you just have to whistle in your mind and be extremely tolerant, as they push in, barge past, lean over your shoulder, shout from behind, push you over. I plant my feet solidly (like a rock) so they can’t move me and wait until someone else points out how ignorant people here are. What I suggest is that when you do get served be very polite, this way the shop assistants get to know you, like you, and you make friends. I have tried the other way (especially when driving) and they really do want to fight. This is ok because I picked a country of very small people, but for international relations I think my ‘saintly’ approach is better.
All of Sri Lanka is getting more and more crowded. I don’t know if there was a population explosion. Kandy used to be very calm and quiet. A nice walk around the town, easy shopping. Now, there is hardly room to walk on the pavement. I know a lot of people moved from Colombo to Kandy, maybe to avoid the troubles or to get there children into ‘good’ schools.
Saturdays are impossible and also days before the New Year, and Sri Lankan New Year and during the perahera. Authority; DON’T READ THIS; After traveling around a while you may realize that Sri Lankan drivers have there own rules. This is because most people are too important to take the proper course of learning to drive and anything, especially licenses, can be acquired with bribe money. Traffic police may stand by a pedestrian crossing day after day and never know what it is for and then others will wait by unmarked hazards, waiting to book drivers who go over a double line that disappeared years before. Generally, drivers refuse to look before they leap. Other contacts with Authority are improving.
Not so long ago, it was impossible for a foreigner to have a job, unless government certified or have a bank account. Money had to be shown at the airport before entry and appearance also counted; i.e. men with long hair were not allowed in. Any amount of money could be sent to Sri Lanka but no amount allowed out and there was a 100% tax on anything bought in. I think these things are improving. The airport is now bigger and used more by Sri Lankans; it used to be just foreigners, and there are more women drivers, who prefer to learn how to drive and are more careful. Also more people are traveling abroad and so learning that there are other, more sensible ways of doing things. If you need a visa; All the staff at the immigration department has changed recently, no need to mention why.
In the past it was solely in the hands of the controller, although what they call "p.m’s" actually run everything in Sri Lanka offices. (They generally are uneducated and carry the file’s for the clerks, ;clerks being too important) Being able to hold the files is a powerful and profitable post. The new controller is very efficient and is big enough to bully the clerks. Nevertheless, it still may take anything from 2 hours to 2 days to get a visa. The last I heard was that 3 months duration is the limit for a holiday visa, although I think that is not always so. Now they hate volunteers at the immigration department, so they charge more and tsunami volunteers also have to pay government tax. The story is that so called "volunteers" have been staying in hotels. All these things happen because Sri Lanka is developing. It is a kind of price we have to pay. Either an unspoilt natural country with corruption and bureaucratic non sense, or, an organized bureaucracy like the ones we take holidays from. Perhaps this is the Buddhist karma.
Although everything seems to be improving in Sri Lanka I don’t like to see the changes. The big trend is for, what are advertised as "townships" The big ones are called "millennium cities." These are small, block like housing schemes, every house just the same with a wall around the scheme, no gardens, and a security guard. The adverts are with "beautiful people" in beautiful cars, beautiful clothes all smiles and nice weather. It’s horrible and Sri Lankan people love it at any price.
The worst guides are the drunken ones or drug users. Its easy to spot them and I wouldn’t talk to them if I were you. My worst one is a young boy (in his twenties) who used to follow by my side like he was…Read More
The worst guides are the drunken ones or drug users. Its easy to spot them and I wouldn’t talk to them if I were you. My worst one is a young boy (in his twenties) who used to follow by my side like he was my friend. He did this every time I went into Kandy. I knew he took drugs and was beyond reason, even the threat of police didn’t deter him. In the end I had no alternative but to threaten him and as I have big hands was able to hold him by the waist with one hand. To my surprise he got scarred, called me a womanizer, which is the ultimate Sri Lankan insult (I’m not by the way) and went away. Since then I haven’t seen him, apart from once seeing him thrown from a moving car by tourists.
It’s hard to tell who is genuine. If I don’t know someone and they say hello or "good morning," I will also say the same. If they then say "where are you going" I say "to the moon or nothing at all."
"Where are you going" is the literal translation of the common form of greeting in Sri Lanka. As an English man I still find it a little intrusive, even though I haven’t lived in England since I was 20. Don’t worry even if you go around ignoring people like me, you will still meet lots of interesting Sri Lankan people.
Culture;First, I think I should write that if there is such a collective representation of a nation, then it is best to observe (any observations I might make should be taken in good humour or as coming from someone else) Wars are started over such things and vague ideals defended with vigor. There are for main religions in Sri Lanka and since they all got amplification systems compete for volume throughout the day. All along the Muslims have been ahead, because their speakers are higher and so resonate over a larger area. The other advantage is that there congregation seem to take turns on the mike and so the quality of sound has variation, often poor lamented but sometimes, the occasional "Elvis."
Now the Buddhist (the silent religion) temples also have amplification. The sound is usually of a softer quality, but there are also lay worshipers who recite a list throughout the night of those contributors to such and such a cause, these recitals often seem to given in a state of intoxication. I should write a section about Buddhism. In Sri Lanka we have Theravada (the strictest of the three main branches). The philosophy can easily be found for those interested. The very basics are; Karma is cause and effect i.e. we are responsible for all our actions/ thoughts and all things are related, therefore quality of life is determined by our behavior, which is sound advice. Through meditation and awareness life can be improved so that there is ultimately no suffering. There is more detail and some things might not be to every ones ideals but discussion and questioning is all part of it so it sounds good. Anyway you would think an ideal foundation for a caring society.
In Kandy there is a very good Buddhist publication society shop with very cheap English books and pamphlets. I have many of these and the things I have discovered, to my surprise, is that:
1. They are nearly always written by Europeans, (and the occasional Australian)
2. That, only the basic notion of the religion is the same as what Singhalese people believe.
What children in schools here are taught and so the basic beliefs of Singhalese people is based mostly on stories and fables (similar to bible stories) Hindu gods are also central to the religion and many monks and religious people also read horoscopes, which is regarded with great reverence. Nearly all Sri Lankans have at least one transcription of there life in the form of an astrological guide. Marriages, building houses, times for interviews and almost every aspect of life depend heavily on what the horoscope tells. I think this is one reason why very little ever happens. Not one of the Tsunami victims was pre-warned by his her horoscope.
Like everything, it is personal interpretation and consideration which lead to knowledge and progression. The basic Buddhist philosophy is a good way and in like all societies there are those that are able to benefit from purity and those who need to look for glitter. Meditation is very beneficial. One thing I would like to say about the religion is that I would have preferred if the Buddha was not a "Lord." If he actually were a "beggar Buddha" instead of a "Lord Buddha" I don’t think it would have caught on in Sri Lanka. The best thing about Buddhism is that animals are should be considered and cared for. Seeing all the stray dogs and there condition you may not agree but generally people here live in close proximity to nature. As with everything, there is contradiction to any generalization but there is so much wild life that some sort of care and appreciation must prevail and this is probably due to Buddhism. My advice it to read the books, the philosophy can be as detailed or intense as you wish but it’s all interesting.
Beebopbeedoobi@yahoo.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The golden rule is "don’t get annoyed." Travelers travel because they want to see something "new," not because they want to find their utopia. Sri Lanka is full of wonderful, surprising, and uplifting possibilities. If you want happiness, first you have to be…Read More
Beebopbeedoobi@yahoo.com or email@example.com
The golden rule is "don’t get annoyed." Travelers travel because they want to see something "new," not because they want to find their utopia. Sri Lanka is full of wonderful, surprising, and uplifting possibilities. If you want happiness, first you have to be in control of yourself, because we only really make ourselves unhappy. There is nothing wrong with disassociating yourself from any scenario and sometimes this is the best thing to do. I think it’s a good idea to know when to be open and generous too. I’m writing a guide to what I think of things, it may not suit you but it is another view. I have lived in Sri Lanka since December of 1999.
The first night I spent at my sister-in-laws' house in Dompe, and I remember I was awoken about 2am with a ratterling sound, and an elephant passed my bedroom widow. I had been visiting Sri Lanka since the late '80s, and have seen the troubles and many changes... the things that impress me mostly concern my fellow human beings. Now I am in Kandy. My Singhalese wife and I are building a guest house on the top of a hill in Kandy—cheap rates for "thornies." It’s a brilliant view; we sometimes have wild boars, and it’s only a walk down the hill and a bit to Kandy, and its safe. We know our way around, so if you want a friendly stay with a Sri Lankan family—bedroom with toilet/shower and doors to balcony—come and stay with us.
If you have other plans, have a nice time. Here is my help. I haven’t finished writing yet, but start with a look at the character and make up of the Sri Lankan people.
The biggest problem with any travel now is the hassle from people with mental problems: tourist guides, con men, thieves, persistent beggars. Often you can spot a genuine friendly voice and we all want to meet people. For some reason, tourist guides seem to be relatively young so when an older person talks to me, normally he has no ulterior motive and wants to just have a chat (maybe this will change with time). If someone is persistent, (even if at the beginning, you were friendly), for goodness sake ignore them. It may seem rude, but remember; you are new here, probably everyone else around knows the person giving you trouble is a "guide" and knows that they are only interested in getting your money in any way they can. So, you have to just pretend they are not there; it’s easy with practice. If this doesn’t work, walk towards the nearest police station and go inside (they will disappear like magic).
Just to give an idea, in Kandy there are a few well known such people. One of my favorites not only targets tourists, but also locals. He made the mistake of picking me twice, and on the second occasion I saw just how remarkable his act is.
This is how it goes. An elderly (yes!) man with spectacles approaches, desperately looking though his pockets/wallet, approaches, and asks for help. It appears that he is a retired English teacher and is on his way home, but has lost his money and so has no way of getting there. His act is brilliant; he is very charming, well educated, well dressed, and does very well. How could anyone refuse.
Outside the Kandy market is a woman who tells about her poor children, and has been for many, many years.
Written by OzGirl on 17 Nov, 2000
Along the way to Kandy from Colombo there is a lot to see. You will pass through villages where they sell their produce on the roadside. One of the vivid images that will stick out in my mind is the girls of the…Read More
Along the way to Kandy from Colombo there is a lot to see. You will pass through villages where they sell their produce on the roadside. One of the vivid images that will stick out in my mind is the girls of the Nut Village... dressed in brightly colored sarongs waving their wrists at the passing cars to try to get them to stop and buy their nuts.
You also pass by many rice paddocks being worked by hand in 100 degree plus temperatures. If the paddock is owned by a wealthier person you may notice a cow helping in the process.
On the return trip to Colombo, stop and pick up some pinapples in the Pinapple Village. Sri Lanka has the best tasting pinapples in the world. I bought 6 jumbo-sized pinapples for 200 rupees (that's $2 US). I also was educated that to grow pinapples means that you are also creating a breeding ground for some very deadly snakes, and the owners of the houses on these plantations need to check their beds before sleeping. Close
Close to the airport and an easy first stop is Negombo, which has enough hotels/guest houses, touristy things in general and a great fish market. Also the tourist villages of Bentota and Hikkaduwa (coral gardens). Southerly from Colombo Amaduwa, not only sea but easy access…Read More
Close to the airport and an easy first stop is Negombo, which has enough hotels/guest houses, touristy things in general and a great fish market. Also the tourist villages of Bentota and Hikkaduwa (coral gardens). Southerly from Colombo Amaduwa, not only sea but easy access to the Ruhuna Park. Religions and people in general change within a short distance in Sri Lanka and because of the political situation it is best to avoid the eastern coast but, the south offers a never ending beach and there are numerous superstitions evoking dance and related religious activity. Galle is a fine historic town with a unique character, harbour, and buildings. Then the coastal road goes all the way to Katarugamma and hindu celebrations. Close
Written by beebopbeedoobi on 18 Aug, 2006
OK time to get real. No more blogging and down to the basics.
Recently we had Quests from Belgium (Belgian relatives, bless em). They sent us their itinerary first, very thorough these Belgians, and planned in advance to stay a week with us. It was…Read More
OK time to get real. No more blogging and down to the basics.
Recently we had Quests from Belgium (Belgian relatives, bless em). They sent us their itinerary first, very thorough these Belgians, and planned in advance to stay a week with us. It was the perahera final week, this year and so they asked me to book them seats.
Actually this year was not as busy as usual. Many people were worried because of all the problems in the country. I walked past the route almost everyday for the final week,(Picking up my daughter who was working at the vet school Peradenia, Incidentally she also was one of the vets that accompanied the perahera) There was actually a threat made to the Queens hotel, (I didn’t tell them that) but I did mention that the president would be viewing from the Queens on the last day, but they insisted on wanting to see the final night perahera. So, I booked seats for the Queens and they said after that it was the best possible place
As it turned out the president plans changed at the last minute for the final ‘day’ perahera, instead of the final night, so he came the next day. That was a Sunday and I had to go into town twice that day; to send packages by post. That’s how I know the president was there; three wheelers kept off the streets, no beggars and thousands of police? Check points.
I had a package to deliver (which looked just like a possible bomb).
When I reached the first check point. I was naturally searched. I had the package in one hand (bomb) and held my arms out while undergoing a thorough search. The policeman asked what I had in my pockets so I had to put the package, (bomb shaped) under my arm while I showed him my pen and wallet. Then I went on my way. The same thing happened at the next checkpoint. In the end I found a way of avoiding the check point altogether, but I can’t say how. After all, there were over 7 thousand police on duty in Kandy and I would rather support them than terrorism.
Anyway this was the ‘Belgian’ Itinerary, which I think was ok to see Sri Lanka, although they got a driver, which I would avoid. This is their program;
Day 1. Colombo Hotel Taj Samudra. We'll visit some things in and around Colombo also on Day2 Day3. Dambulla. Hotel Amaya Lake. Visit : Anuradhapura and Mihintale; Polonnaruwa; Minneriya National Park; Sigirya; Dambulla
Day4 We are with you in Kandy and we leave you Day10
The chauffeur stays with us. Do you have place to stay with you for our friends (man and wife), the chauffeur and for us ? They can't buy tickets for us for the Perahera. Please do you want to do that for us? The Perahera is on the 9th of August.
We didn't organize our days in Kandy because our friends and we want to enjoy from the real life in Sri-Lanka. It is not the same as in a hotel.
So we are at your place for 6 nights.
Day11 Nuwara Eliya Grand Hotel- visit Horton Plains
Day12 Arugam Bay Star Dust Hotel
Day12 Kataragama Rosen Renaissance Hotel -Safari in Yala Park
Day13 southcoast, visit Blowhole, Mulkirigale, Wevurukannala, Galle. One night in Lady Hill Hotel.
Day14 Negombo and back to the airport.
Please can you give me the number of your mobile phone. The hole number as I have to use it.
So we wait for news from you.
I hope this may give just one idea of a roundish trip to Sri Lanka. If anyone would like other ideas, they could read more of my stuff or send me a message. Mainly I wanted to add pictures of the ‘Belgium’ trip and a few my daughter took of the perahera. From a vets perspective.