Here are some random things I have learned about Sri Lanka and it’s history that I have noted in my phone and failed to include in my log.
My guide in Yala was Nissanka I badly misspelled it in the log earlier just went back and fixed it. Champika reports that Nissanka was not sanctioned for our late arrival in the parking area because of years of never being late. He will have a big problem if it happens again.
School in Sir Lanka is mandatory and parents who don’t make sure their children attend go to jail. English, Singhalese, and Tamil are all taught in the schools. On average English words take more letters than the same words in Singhalese and fewer letters than the same words in Tamil. All of the signs are in all three languages.
The concept of suicide bombers started in the war with the separatists in Sir Lanka they were notorious for capturing children strapping bombs to them and allowing them to be “rescued” only to blow them up with their rescuers. It was the Sir Lankan separatists who killed Gandhi because the Indian government was cooperating with the Sir Lankan government against the separatists. The Sir Lankan army virtually killed all of the separatists to stop the movement. It worked and there is peace in Sir Lanka now after years of terrorist type activity and people now feel safe to visit the north of the country. Charges against the Sir Lankan Government were made claiming human rights abuse in the effort to eradicate the terrorists.
Many of the Hotels in Sir Lanka will not honor credit cards even though they are listed on Booking.com. When you get to the Hotel they claim that the card reader is broken. They do this for two reasons. The credit card companies take a 3% charge for use of a credit card and the Hotels don’t report all of their income, as it is easy to hide cash transactions. This is why Champika is able to get me a room at the nicer Hotels cheaper if I will pay cash.
The back roads of Sir Lanka have houses all along the both sides of the road. They pass though lush countryside and in most places there are no roads parallel or perpendicular to the country roads. Everything human is right on the highway except when there are cultivated fields.
The shops in the towns are crowded together and appear deceptively small from the front. Many are small but it is not unusual in certain areas for shops to be much larger than they appear from the street by extending quite a ways back like a shot gun house in New Orleans with one room after another as you proceed away from the street. It reminds me of the land along the Mississippi river that is sectioned off in long rectangles with maybe only 100 feet of river frontage.
There is a fruit here that I have yet to taste I must not fail to try it. It is the wood apple. I looked it up it is also called the Elephant apple. It is similar to the Bael fruit. It supposed to be very good for you. Champika some people like others do not.
Back to the log.
I awaken at 4:00am and am up for an hour and a half. I got an email from an attorney friend with a copy of a recent case he thought would be helpful. It was got me thinking unfortunately thinking is the wrong thing to be doing when you are trying to go back to sleep.
I fall back asleep at 5:50 and sleep to 9:00. I want to eat breakfast that is included with my room, take a shower and pack. Champika is to meet me at 10:30. I get all that done by 10:35 expecting to have him waiting for me since he has only been late once. He is late again. It’s ok I practice my guitar and call Shelly. It’s too late to call mom.
When Champika arrives we pass by the Hindu temple I spotted on the way into Galle but it is not open it is new, under construction. There is amazing detail with carvings all over the outside of the building like the famous Church in Barcelona Segrada Familia. Not nearly as huge but it could not be more ornate.
We head North and pick up a pretty modern freeway to Matara then due north on winding back roads to Madampe then southeast to the Elephant Transit Home at (adjacent to) the Uda Walawe National Park hoping to get there for the 3pm feeding. It is a three-hour drive, plus Champika needs to find a Commercial Bank to make a payment on the Tree House to confirm the booking. They Tree house has given his their account number and he is let them know to check on the deposit.
When we get close to the National Park we see people feeding a wild elephant fruit and sugar cane over an electric fence near a man made lake in the park. Champika tells me that this is a very bad thing to do. The elephants that are fed this way are eating food that is not good for them and are not getting enough exercise. They are getting diabetes. He shows me that the electric fence is close to the road because it can not be moved back near the lake but as soon as we pass the lake there are two fences one near the road and another on about 150 yards back so that people can not feed the elephants and cause them harm.
We arrive at the Elephant Transit home at 2:15pm. Since we have time to eat lunch we do at the restaurant immediately across the street. There is once again a buffet. I am reluctant, but the food looks really good, so we both have a big lunch. We then go to the Elephant Transit Home and see the keepers feed the baby and adolescent elephants fed with tubes then with leaves put in piles for them.
I note that on the Internet there are other places in Sir Lanka that also feed the baby elephants that have some negative comments. I know from Champika that they use chains on the elephants at those places
On the way out Champika shows me a tree where there is a nest of baby owls.
The hotel he has for me is just under $80 a night. It has a swimming pool. I intend to get some exercise. There is a young couple from England that are on their honeymoon coming up the steps when I am on my way down to check my email. As nice as the hotel is the desk clerk has warned me that I may not have internet service in my room which it the farthest from the office on the third floor. The young couple says that they are going to a bike ride but would be happy to have dinner together at 7:30.
I check my email then call Adam using my Sri Lankan phone. We have another wonderful heart to heart conversation. This trip to Kandy to work in the Hospital has been just what he needed to rededicate him to medicine. He has spent the last two days studying the kidney. I will see him around 6:30 tomorrow night. Can’t wait.
I take a short swim go up and have a hot shower and lay on the bed to rest a bit before dinner. I check on the football scores and find out that once again it will be an all-SEC national championship game. Both Georgia and Alabama have upset their opponents in the semi final games. LSU lost a close one to Notre Dame. I put on some clean clothing and go back down to the dinning room. I am not very hungry. Once again there is a buffet. I go along and have the buffet even though I don’t eat very much. Just would enjoy the company of the young couple and learn what they can teach me about their country from their point of view.
I order a pineapple juice and have a nice talk with the young couple when they come down at the appointed time 7:30. They are going on a “safari” tomorrow much like the one I did in Yala. I don’t mention what Champika told me, that there chance of seeing a Leopard here is not nearly as good as mine was in Yala.
After dinner I go back to my room and get to sleep early.