Singapore, Sri Lanka · 13 Days · 105 Moments · March 2018

Deborah's adventure in Sri Lanka

7 April 2018

So there are 50+ women in these head coverings advertising the tour company they are with. There is another gaggle wearing pink head scarves with similar advertising. I was curious until I saw them all in the gate lounge next to me - en route to Jeddah. I’ll stick to Singapore as my destination!
The Dutch Hospital - now restaurants and shops.

6 April 2018

Magnificent dinner at the Ministry of Crab in Colombo.
Loved the Mounted Police directing traffic.
Sights around Colombo - hot, busy and loud!
Independence Hall, Colombo.
Burghur lunch of lamprais and chicken cooked in banana leaf.

5 April 2018

Women leaving a Muslim gathering - CWA?
A different take on Pizza Hut!
Wanderings around Galle.
Dutch Reform Church at Galle.
Portuguese Fort at Galle.
A feast of crab, calamari and fish - my favourite meal!
Cool Sri Lankan surfer dudes - they are living the dream!
Freshly caught crab curry for lunch - my tastebuds are ecstatic right now!
Local graffiti - I like it!
The breakfasts here are hard to take....

4 April 2018

Listening to the ocean waves from my balcony at Mirissa beach.
Lunch today at a Muslim home - a beautiful feast starting with a rose water and ice cream milk drink; then mains of Biryani with beef, a pea and cashew dish, shallots, chicken, Maldives fish and an apple and curd salad. All finished up with a dessert of Wattapalam. I was only permitted to take a photo without people in it, but it is amazing the wonderful flavours produced under such rustic conditions.
A quick gander at the Indian Ocean.
A morning visit to the local Curd makers. Naturally we also enjoyed some lovely light curd with treacle made from the fish tail palm tree. The ladies here had the most beautiful smiles and I love seeing grandma playing with her grandson’s whirling toys.
View out the front of our hotel.

3 April 2018

I predict a diet in my future!
Tsunami memorial stone. Pumbaa from the Lion King in his natural habitat. Elephants, peacocks, water buffalo, deer, crocodiles, mongoose and numerous beautiful birds.
Safari through Yala National Park - right next to the Indian Ocean. Elephant rock is seen in the background of some of the pictures - animal heaven all around!
Extraordinary Sentinel Moth just hanging around.
The beautiful Raintree Hotel - I think I’m going to enjoy my night here!
Rawana Falls, Ella
Picturesque Ella.

2 April 2018

Another scrumptious dinner - I am going to roll home!
Lovely thick black plait on these ladies wearing the osariya (different type of sari with a frill around the waistband - typically worn by the Kandyans).
Fancy a spot of Ceylon tea? I now know that it was a Scotsman, James Taylor, who introduced tea to Ceylon.
Lunch at a local Tamil house, greeted with Bindi by a beautiful Auntie. A vegetarian feast of Dhosa, vadai (similar to a falafel), and a delicious dessert of tapioca cooked with coconut milk, sugar, cardamom and sultanas, topped with crumbled papadam.
Dambatenne Tea Factory built in 1890 by Sir Thomas Lipton. The Food Safety Policy was clearly written by a committee, but I loved all the old manufacturing equipment - still with wooden and brass components. Not a lot of 316 grade stainless steel here. All management reporting is still hand-written - not a pc in sight! Outside the factory I came across the lightest rose coloured hibiscus tree I have ever seen.
Stunning views everywhere!
Local poochies - the puppy almost came home with me - even with his fleas!
800 Sri Lankan rupees ($6.65 AUD) for 18kg of tea leaves picked. Pretty tough minimum wage.
Hindu shrine provided in the fields for the tea pickers’ convenience.
Morning trek (oxygen please!) through the tea plantation, worked by Indian Tamils brought in by the British to pick tea. Generations live in the company provided houses and the company provides daycare and/or schooling for the children. It is much cooler here, with the higher altitude. Hard living for the people who sleep without beds in front of a fire fuelled with wood collected by the children primarily.
A picture on the wall in my bedroom - if you look closely, you can pick the 18 year olds; the new mother; the teenager and grandma who does not have gravity as her friend...
Our hotel has a few pet turtles!
Morning coffee at the hotel before we head out for the day.
A breakfast omelette, fresh juice and the sweetest paw paw topped with buffalo curd and a coconut treacle - divine!

1 April 2018

Having been greeted with a betel leaf by the family’s children, we enjoyed another beautiful dinner at a local home. Chicken curry, potato curry, Wambatu (eggplant) curry, mango curry and baby jackfruit curry - possibly my favourite meal thus far.
I am feeling like a colonialist, staying at the Victorian period Bandarawela Hotel. Bring the Arrack immediately!
Views en route to Bandarawela - magnificent!
Victorian-era train timetable at Kandy, where we catch the train to Bandarawela.

31 March 2018

Dinner time!
String hoppers!
So the thing that looks like a coffee urn is a Pittu maker. Cylinder filled with a rice flour, grated coconut, coconut milk and salt. Steamed for 10 minutes and then removed from cylinder. Coconut cream poured over at the end.
Deep frying Kokis (similar in texture to a crostoli). There are various shapes iron molds that are used. Dipped in hot oil, then in the batter, then back into the oil for a deep fry and released from the mold with a final shake.
Dinner at a local home in Kandy - pounding the rice.
The daily Kandy paper includes advertisements by parents letting the World know their son or daughter is ripe for marriage. Ads note caste (farmers are the most senior), religion, education level, profession, age, skin colour and height - with indication of degree of fixed and liquid assets. Virtually all ads require response with horoscope - something that will make or break the match. Love the Sri Lankan meat market!
Cute munchkin with tilaka and black bangles to protect against the evil spirits.
The man-made Kandy lake, including fish regularly fed by people buying popcorn from the local vendors.
Getting a bag of the orange-coloured fruit called Nelli.
Blue olives at the Kandy market.

30 March 2018

Kandy Buddhist temple where one of the Buddha’s canine teeth is kept and much revered.
Lunch at the spice market
Learning about spices and Ayurvedic medicine at the Luckgrove Spice market.
I have this same look on my face when Xanthe wakes me up early in the morning!
Kitten friend at Dambulla Cave Temple.
Breathtaking background to the Dambulla Cave Temple.

29 March 2018

24 hour fruit and veg market, known as the Economic Centre - basically wholesale with pricing regulated by the government.
A short Jeep ride through the rice paddies to our secluded lunch location where they cooked a magnificent meal of tilapia fish, pumpkin and eggplant curry, sweet potato, snake gourd salad and coconut sambal. Dessert was a finger melon paste cooked with coconut sugar and pressed in a leaf.
We won’t mention the little monkey that scared me to death using the rock banister as a slide - monkey butt ran right over my hand!
World Heritage Site, Sigiriya - with fort built on top by King Kasyapa I (AD 477-495). And yes, I trudged up and down all 1200 steps! The frescoes are amazing - allegedly the King’s harem - I personally think early partakers of silicone implants!

28 March 2018

Mix Masala chips for the bus journey.
Collecting the nectar from the tapped ‘flower’ - used to make Arrack and Vinegar. Apparently rats chew on the ropes that they use between trees and there is the occasional fall, which is uncovered by insurance.
Cashew nut white curry: 3 cups fresh cashews pre boiled for 10 mins; curry leaves, 1 sliced red onion, 1 tsp dried turmeric, 1 tsp curry flakes, salt and pepper and 1 cup coconut milk. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes.
Prawn curry: garlic, pandanus, curry leaves sautéed for 1 min in coconut oil; then add cooked prawns 2 min; 1tsp turmeric powder, salt, pepper and dried chilli flakes. Capsicum and Onion added - 2 min stir fry and add sliced tomatoes.
At Ruwan Fibre Mill - not a machine guard in sight, as they utilise every ounce of the King Coconut.
Dutch canal built for transportation of spices.
Requisite tour bus photo.
Temple of Ganesh
Spot the Shoe Fish
Negombo Seafood Market - with fresh and dried fish, and even an Australia Post employee....
En route to the Fish market. Strong Catholic influence around here, courtesy of the Portuguese and the Dutch.

27 March 2018

Cafe J has corrupted me.....I blame the heat and the Lion!
Sri Lankan fish curry delight!
Small Lion with lunch....
A morning constitutional along Sri Lankan sand, with a lovely paddle in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Local fishermen mend their nets before venturing out for what is hopefully a good morning catch - an occupation as far removed from desk and keyboard as I can imagine.
Having pondered over breakfast, I have now concluded that the Sri Lankan man in suit pants, collared shirt and tie, carrying a slingshot, is keeping the local crows away to preserve my breakfast peace. Well, I suppose it’s a living?
Tropical breakfast sweetness!
A palm tree-lined vista drawing my eyes out to pastel blue tranquility, where the delicately divided hues of ocean and skyline, greets me this morning. The air is warm and light with the sweet scent drifting from lush white-flowered frangipani trees, and although breakfast is calling me, I am happy to sit and soak in my first morning in Sri Lanka.

26 March 2018

Arrived at the Rani Beach Resort, having driven past 8 Catholic Churches - apparently I went via Catholic City, as they call it. No stopping at stations of the cross though! Have turned on the air conditioning in my room - work quickly, you sod! Out on my balconette - either my eyes are blurry or the moon is in a haze - perhaps a little of both! Looking forward to seeing Morpheus and waking up ‘whenever’ to see the place in sunlight.
I think my hair may resemble the perm I got in the 80s. I also suspect the sheen on my forehead is attracting taxi drivers as I wait for my transfer driver to fetch the red vehicle My chariot has arrived and I am refreshed by the blessed air conditioning- so valued I can look beyond the four crucifixes dangling from the rear view mirror and hope that his driving won’t need that degree of divine intervention.
A watched baggage carousel delivers no luggage - particularly painful given it is currently 4:00am on my time clock. Need sleep!
It had to be done......
Landed in Changi - quick skytrain to T3 and I have found WiFi and my boarding lounge, via the spotless bathrooms that depict Singapore in all its spick and span glory. I feel the humidity already and I’m not even in SL!