09 Nov 2017

Sri Lanka - Getting Lost In Travel by cocofia


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Our driver left overnight to try and get gas and had no luck. He won’t be back for us until closer to 10 am so instead of paying $6 USD for the Villa to make us rice and curry- we walked maybe 2 minutes for $1.65 USD breakfast buffet- I had to fill my plate twice it was so good.

We had rice, string hoppers (red and white), potato curry, coconut sambal, deviled red pepper, and chickpeas!

The potato curry dipped in the hoppers was one the favorites! It was my first experience with strong hoppers and I was in love - but confused as to why the strong hoppers are considered a breakfast specialty and the pancake-like hoppers are more lunch and dinner.

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As I mentioned in the prior post, our driver left late last night and never returned- as there is a gas shortage here and he was waiting for the tanks to be filled and then for his chance to fill up- but 9:30 am came around still no driver and the next ETA was 4 additional hours later and so the equation equals out to a Nicole learning to be patient but really her anger was beginning to emerge.

Maureen no longer felt comfortable with my recent habit of wondering so we needed to create a new plan.

We told our driver that we would get our day started and that he could meet us out - but reimburse any additional charges we had to incur for travel- clearly, our driver was not so pleased to hear we would be cutting into his costs.

Maureen and I tucked into our Villa mates ride to center city Kandy and enjoyed a nice sightseeing, just as our driver returned back to our Villa to begin our day.

Once finally reunited- we had a boatload if things to cover. Seriously, too much to see with so little time.

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Learned about the Ceylon Tea plantation process.

This tour sort of reminded me of Hershey Chocolate Word...

The most shocking thing- the workers are barefoot and guests come in and out- touching and surrounding the tea leaves throughout the tea-creation process. Which was a surprise to me to learn that Lipton purchases the majority of their tea production and that they don't require additional crazy US health regulations.

It was a cool process to see how the leaves get shaken, folded, pressed and moved through the entire tea creation process.

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I knew I wanted to check out an Ayurvedic spice garden, and Spice Garden 27 was the one our Villa owner suggested to us.

Upon arrival, we were paired with our free tour guide- whom which is in his final year of Ayurvedic studies.

He walked us through the garden, pointing out a number of spices I often use in cooking, but was ignorant of its origin and a number of its health benefits and uses.

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Poor Maureen is not loving the local Sri Lankan rice and curry!

Our driver suggested this place for lunch - although I do not think he was too familiar with it himself.

We walked in and it looked like they were getting ready to close the buffet for the day, but we snuck in. I provided my trusty gluten-free translation card to them and they went through what was and was not safe for us to eat and most of it was gluten-free friendly.

As we sat down to eat, the owner and his children joined us. His English was not excellent, but we could converse a little. Oddly enough, the owner had an infatuation with my pen so I lost my one and only pen on this trip.

Not 100% sure what I ate, but it was pretty good and pretty affordable at $1.89 per person.

I know I had rice, green bean curry, pumpkin curry, I think a parsley sambol or maybe a mallung and another green dish of some sort. I wouldn't say this was my favorite, but it wasn't bad.

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Wow - not too much to add here, as words don’t really explain how my inner-child was glowing from ear-to-ear.

What was included in our $13.03 USD ticket?
Elephant sanctuary introduction.
Bathe the elephant.
Ride the elephant if and with an additional charge, feed him!!

A longtime dream come true.

Please, if you are considering visiting an elephant orphanage, be sure to do your research and confirm they are attending to the elephants’ needs in a loving and carrying manner.

This place seemed to treat the animals fairly (oddly enough, most of the employees were Amerian or Canadian) and I just enjoyed spending time with the beautiful elephants.

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This was one of the events that everyone recommends!

But, when the dances began, both Maureen and I thought to ourselves, “Why does everyone recommend this crap?” It is like a church hall, sort of shitty, community play.

But as the end approached us and the men began eating and even walking on fire -the experience became something worth sharing.

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As I went to return to our driver's car, he said, "No, come with me".
He instructed Maureen and I that we would need to see the palace and he was right, we should take a peek!

What a beautiful site to see!

Our walk towards the palace provided a sense of respect, prayer, and peace.

Thankfully we had planned to try and sneak in a temple visit today and dressed accordingly- knees and shoulders were covered.

Walking around- what used to be home to the Prince of Kandy and is now a place of worship - in your bare feet truly provided a grounding and blessed experience.

I do recommend a visit, just keep in mind, for the locals, entry is free but for tourists, the cost is just over $10 USD

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Eshan asked us about dinner and knowing that Maureen hasn’t really been eating, I asked for a non-curry option.

After eliminating curry and gluten, this appeared to be a bit foreign of a request for a Sri Lankan. Eshan was determined to help and actually found us some street food. Something of which, as a gluten-free gal, I didn’t imagine possible...even in the US. Marking this one off the bucket list!

The man (Chef) forgot the curry, or chili sauce to go with the hoppers so I ate them plain and had fruit (baby bananas and a mango to go with them). Apparently, it is common to have bananas and honey with just about everything!

I must say the fruit stall Eshan picked was lacking in choices and rather expensive, even for American money... but I later found this to be a thing - fruit was just expensive in Sri Lanka and comparable to what it would cost in the US.