It’s hard to explain why I like India so much. The country doesn’t always give off the best first impression but I still like it nonetheless. Sri Lanka however, is like the little sister that is really good at wowing her audience with the first hand shake. I had a wonderful and pleasant time in Colombo, Kandy, Galle and Nuwara Eliya. Plus, it was interesting to experience how different the small Island nation is from it’s large neighbor up top.
Sri Lanka was in a civil war from 1983 to 2009. Since the end of the war, the country has really opened up as a tourist destination. The tourism ministry has been making an effort to rebrand the little island as a prime vacation spot, which it really is. The island’s abundance of natural beauty and excellent resources don’t need to be pushed too hard. Anyone with eyes can see that this place is truly a delight.
As I mentioned briefly in the last post, I spent most of my trip in Colombo. The first weekend we took a day trip to Kandy. On the way we stopped at the Peradeniya Botanical Garden and from there we went to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. I did not get to see Buddha’s tooth but, I did get to experience the energy of one of Sri Lanka’s holiest places.
On the second day of the conference we went to Galle, an ideal beach city on Sri Lanka’s southwestern tip. I decided to work a little bit of history into my day and went on the, provided yet optional, tour of the Galle Fort. When we got back, we returned to the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel for the much anticipated ETA talent show. The five of us in Kolkata put together a skit cum dance number– choreographed by yours truly–to the title song of the Bengali movie Boss and the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).” Even though this was a South and Central Asia seminar-wide talent show, there was a mini-competition between the three cities in India. Each city ended up performing a dance but we kept the details a secret until the very last minute. It was exciting to finally pull off the veil of secrecy and watch everyone dance their hearts out.
After the conference ended, a few of us headed to Nuwara Eliya to visit Horton Plains National Park. The drive from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya was a solid 7 hours (including stops ), 3 of which were spent gazing out the window at the incredible view. In Nuwara Eliya we stayed at a family owned guesthouse. The family was really sweet and the food was really good (avocados, yum). They even lent us their jackets and sweaters to wear around the house and on the hike the next day. We left around 5 am the next morning to go to Horton Plains and it definitely did not disappoint. The majority of that morning was spent in the company of great people and indescribable views. Many say that morning is the most sacred time of day. After feeling the mist of Baker’s Falls and standing at the tip of World’s End, engulfed in the cloud forest, I understand completely why the morning is God’s hour.
Now, I’m back in Kolkata where it is chillier than ever. It’s about mid 50s (mid-teens) in the morning and low 80s/high 70s (mid-high 20s) at the peak of the day. I don’t think my apartment has much insulation because it feels cold at night and incredibly cold when I wake up in the morning.
I’m back at school, working with the primary school kids and trying to prepare my lessons for next term.
Only 9 more days until Thailand.