Greetings from Sri Lanka, a place that feels like total paradise.
Getting here was a little bit of a struggle as we had many obstacles to overcome. The usual hour long cab ride from our apartment to the Kolkata airport took an hour and a half. We had a tight layover in Mumbai, and we came very close to missing our flight. Luckily the entire airport seemed to be running behind schedule so luck really was on our side. We finally got to Colombo at around 4 in the morning and had some time to chill and drink tea as we waited for the sun to come up.
We spent the weekend at a B&B in the suburbs called Palm Nest Inn. The woman that ran the place was phenomenal, she cooked us a wonderful Sri Lankan breakfast and helped us with our transportation and sightseeing desires.
On Saturday, we went to Apé Gama, an attraction that was constructed to look like a traditional Sri Lankan village complete with thatched houses, traditional food and wi-fi. One of the things that I am loving about Sri Lanka is that there is wi-fi everywhere unlike Kolkata where wi-fi seems to be very rare and undiscovered.
On Sunday, we went to Kandy which is a few hours east of Colombo. It probably should have been a weekend trip but, we weren’t working with much time so we squeezed it into one long day trip. First, we went to the Peradeniya Botanical Garden which was quite big but also very beautiful. Then we went to the Sri Dalada Maligawa, also known as the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. It’s a Buddhist temple where the tooth of Buddha is housed. The tooth only comes out once every 5 years for 10 days at a time, so we didn’t get to see it but we did watch the evening drum ceremony and the temple itself was majestic. We rounded the evening off with a trip to Pizza Hut and a long car ride home which was way more comfortable than the bus we took from Colombo to Kandy.
We took Monday kind of slow. One of the things I’m adamant about with my vacations these days is resting. So we slept in, had breakfast and then left for the Cinnamon Lakeside, where we stayed for the conference. When we got to the hotel, we had a wonderful buffet lunch and then sat by the pool for a bit.
The seminar started on Tuesday and ended on Thursday. The highlight was definitely the trip to Galle that we took on Wednesday and the talent show that took place that evening.
It’s been a lot of fun catching up with the other ETAs and hearing about their experiences. I am most fascinated by what the ETAs in Central Asia have to say since their experience is so different from ours. Plus, I’ve learned so much about Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. But all in all, we are all having a lot of the same problems and experiencing the same level of gratitude to be here in Sri Lanka for this conference where we can eat yummy western food, gorge on all the hummus we want, workout, vent and take a break from the teacher life.
More about Galle and my weekend trip to Nuwara Eliya later. I promise there will be lots of photos.