Champika is due to pick me up at 8:00. At 7:00am I do my stomach crunches, take a shower, pack my large bag. Since I am on the third floor I might as well bring something with me so take it with me to breakfast and leave it near the office. There is no threat that anyone will touch it here. Breakfast is the same as every other place an onion and tomato omelet, hold the sausage. Tea, mixed Juice, sliced fruit. (Pineapple, banana, papaya, watermelon. I forget to tell them to hold the toast which white bread. I hate to waste it so I butter up a couple of pieces and make an egg sandwich.
I go back to my room after breakfast and pack my backpack with my computer that has been charging since before my shower. The charging light has turned green so I know it is fully charges. My iPhone is almost charged as well. I call Champika on my local phone and he tells me he is having his breakfast and will be a few minutes late. I take the rest of my belongings down the two flights of stairs and check out. Then I set up in the restaurant and type a bit on my log. I am probably not there ten minutes when Champika finds me and we are off.
We retrace our steps as far as Madampe then continue north-northwest toward Ratnapura. Along the way we pass through gem country and Champika stops on the road to show me a mine that is being dug in a field. They are using the same technique that I saw in the movie at the gem store digging straight down into an open field, shoring up the sides with timber and staves supporting dense branches between the timbers. The hole must be pumped out as it fills with water from the moist surrounding earth. We are in the district now that is well known for gems. We stand on the side of the road and watch until one of the workers comes up and we are allowed to come onto the land and inspect the work up close.
Afterward I notice other mines on either side of the highway. It is dangerous work as there is always danger that the hole will fill with water and they don’t just dig down. If the find a seam where gems are located they will follow it laterally until it plays out so there is also danger of collapse.
We pass through a town ( name) where there are men buying and selling gems. We don’t get down from the car so I don’t know if what they are selling is cut gems or uncut gemstones. There well over a hundred people involved in this trade many with the familiar magnifying light halo apparatuses that allow them to inspect and evaluate the stones.
Champika says that if I get out there will be many of them who will come over to me hawking stones many of which will not be real. This not the place for an armature to be buying anything.
We continue on our way north past Ratnapura, I dose off then realize we are stopped. Just outside of Parakaduwa Champika hits something in the road that slits the tire. He doesn’t have a spare!! We pull into a “tire store” which seems to only be selling worn out tires, huge worn out truck tires. They take the tire off of the car and send down the road for a replacement. That doesn’t work there are no tires the size we need. So Champika gets them to put a tube in the damaged tire and we head north to Eheliyagoda, which looks tiny on the map but is actually a bigger town. Once there we are disappointed and can’t find a replacement tire. Champika decides to have the old tire patched over the slit in it. This will probably work. He decided to also leave the tube inside the tire for extra insurance. We are leaving the larger road here in Eheliyagoda will be on smaller roads for a short time with no chance of finding the tire we would like to have. We will not be in a position to get this fixed properly until Kandy. If this temporary fix will hold for just 24 hours all will be well. I think it will. I watched the fellow put the patch on the inside of the tire. I should hold fine.
From Eheliyagoda we travel due north on a smaller road to Dehiowita where we rejoin the larger road passing back through Kitulgala to Ginigathhena where the tree house it located. We were more than halfway to the tree house when the tire blew. I am getting a little hungry. I can wait. None of this has gotten my goat. There was no hurry .
We stop at a restaurant that will feed Champika for bringing me there to eat. It is on a river and believe it or not the credit card machine is broken!! What a coincidence!!
The tree house is a big disappointment. I have no desire to spend the night there and forego the deposit of $65 and push on to Kandy. Rather than pay for Adam to come to spend the night in the tree house. I have diner with him at the Thilanka Hotel where I will spend the last three nights of my Sri Lankan trip. This way Adam will not miss Thursday in the Hospital in Kandy. He is very happy with the decision.
I am not hungry and sit with him though dinner but do not eat. He has a date at 9:00pm. After his date he knocks on the door and spends the night in my room, which has twin beds. No idea what time it was when he comes in.