Thursday, November 13, 2014

2014, Day 316 - A short walk

This morning I was restless and ended up getting up a little before five o’clock.  The sun was just rising and I was treated to some really nice color out of the balcony (and a very small cat as well but she didn’t really want to be friends).  As I was loitering outside I ran into the owner of the establishment and he invited us on an early morning walk.

What he described as a “short walk” was actually almost five miles uphill.  Granted, we got to see some of the famous Ceylon tea anxious for the picking and some pretty countryside but it wasn’t quite what we expected.  By the time we got back sweat was steaming down our faces and backs.  Oh well, it was an adventure.

So we cleaned ourselves up and went downstairs to breakfast.  The owner’s wife prepared crepes with a sweetened coconut filling as well as eggs and toast plus a fruit plate.  It was a lot of food but we were hungry from our “walk” so we didn’t leave much behind.

Breakfast completed we headed out into Kandy and our first stop was at the botanic gardens.  The grounds are pretty but I didn’t see anything I hadn’t seen before and there was a distressing amount of non-native plants proudly labeled with their regions of origin.  Even the orchid house was disappointing after the plant market in Chiang Mai.  Nevertheless it made for a nice addition to our morning exercise.

Afterward our driver took us shopping with the first stop at a woodcarving co-op.  They had lots of statuary and it was all very pretty but equally expensive and impractical.  With that out of the way he then took us to a jeweler.  There they showed us a video about mining for gems after which we were invited into their showroom.  Sri Lanka is well known for their high quality sapphires as well as rubies and a number of semi-precious stones like garnets, aquamarine, and moonstones.  I’ve given up giving jewelry as gifts because everyone has such different tastes and I don’t roll like a pimp so there wasn’t much for me to do other than waste the time of the pushy woman who insisted that she must show me something.  I picked expensive things, haggled, and walked away.  In the end she got the manager to offer me a good deal but what do I want with gems?

Everyone else was exhausted haggling for things they actually wanted so we went to lunch.  It was a buffet of mostly lukewarm food but it was quick and filling so it was okay.  During the course of lunch it started to rain, and then it started to pour.  When we left it was still raining pretty hard but not nearly as bad as it had been moments before.

Then it was off to Sri Dalada Maligawa, known also as the Temple of the Tooth.  Here they claim to have a tooth from the lord Buddha which makes a a significant site for Buddhists from around the world.  The temple was founded over four hundred years ago but it has been damaged and rebuilt many time, most recently in 1998 by the Tamil Tigers.  We had a guide who showed us around but there weren’t any major revelations.

By this time it was getting into the late afternoon so we decided to head back to our accommodations for some relaxation.  Tomorrow is going to be another early morning so we wanted to get to bed early to catch up on some much needed sleep.

Fuji X-T1, Fujinon 14/f2.8R
14mm, f4, 1/420 sec @ 200 ISO

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