Archive for March, 2010

Mirissa beach

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

So we’re having a relax stay at Mirissa beach hotel. It’s not so bad even it’s not a backpacker guesthouse. Lot of french guys here but better than russians….Met 2 german girls after their Panchenkarma Ayuerveda treatment. Warm oil in every hole of the body. No thanks, not for me. Beach is nice. Since a long time that we’ve a beach with coconut palms. And high waves, up to 3 meters. I was in and a couldn’t imagine before how many power is behind such a wave. Incredible. Now I’m in downtown……

Yala national park safari – Mirissa

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Knock knock. 5:00 am reminder for wake up. So we did. And started a fantastic safari into Yala national park. The old Landrover jeep belongs to us, no other couples on this trip. After passing the office a guide (so-called tracker boy) jumped in and now the bumpy roads are ours. Both of them, driver and guide, were realy take on and brought us to best places to watch animals. So we ‘re lucky to see a lot of elephants, specially a female with two baby elephants. Very exciting. We saw crocodiles and little warans as well. Yala National park was affected by the tsunami in 2004, 47 people died but no one animal. I guess animals must have a special sensor….. After 5 hours we went back to guesthouse and had a rest. It was a great experience on our first safari. Never done that before. Nice dinner (for me they served devilled chicken and french fries as pre-ordered… means very spicy *g*) when Paul and Nataly came back, they booked whole day safari. And we got Arrak from our guide which is like a cognac made from coconuts. Well, not too bad but one is enough. Next day breakfast was great too, fresh fruits and srilankan-style omelett with toast and butter. After that we started again to Mirissa, dropped Paul and Nataly in Tangalle and arrived 1 pm. We booked the Ocean Moon guesthouse in advance but as soon as we were in we went. The rooms much too expensive, dark and no interieur than a bett. No power at this time (nobody could tell me when they will have power again…) and costs 25 $ for a cabana. No thanks. Paradise beach club next door offers a double room, clean and nice with fan and power for 40 $ each night. Halfboard is included and wireless internet access as well. And they do laundry (and also underwear..). Well it’s more than a hotel than a backpacker guesthouse but price is ok and I pay for having comfort. At least the have a …. coffee machine! Amazing. Real coffee. We ordered as soon as we could a double shoot espresso and it is really good stuff. So we’ll stay here for 3 or 4 nights.

Morning wash for elephants….
with task is very rare in Sri Lanka...

Tissa – starting point for Safari to Yala National Park

Monday, March 29th, 2010

We became a reseller. Another couple asked our driver if they can share the care and we said ok for 25 $. Yeah, it’s “our” car for next days. So we met Paul and Natalie. A britsh-belgium couple located in Brunei where they’re teachers for mathematics and science. Very polite and for sure very britisch speaking. Sounds like “it’really nice , isn’t it ?”. The guesthouse is owned by our driver. Comfortble and clean rooms with A/C and bathroom. We agreed to have dinner together and ordered in advance the food. We took a walk to the bird fields at the early afternoon for 2 hours. After that take a little rest and went to Kataragama which is a religiuous place for muslim, hindu and buddhist people. Means at this area temples and mosques located and people celebrate religious events (like fullmoon..) together. So in case it was fullmoon a huge ceremony was ongoing. People give a lot of fruits to their godnesses and before they do so standing an a queue and wait. We had the chance to take part in a hindu ceremony means we could go inside the small temple where all where marked with a white point between eyebrows. Loud and noise because of drums and a kind of trumpets. And hot. And over and over the smell of patchouli. Fascinating. To fullfil their wishes people smash coconuts down to the ground. If the coconuts is broken after wishes came true. If not… hm, shit happens. But they may have a 2nd or 3rd try. back at the GH our dinner was waiting. A lot of food. And for sure Lion beer 🙂 We had a nice conversation and went to bed early because next day is safari day. Means getting up at 5:00 am

Nuwara Eliya and Ella

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Arrived by private car after a nice ride. So maybe it’s a good opportunity in Sri Lanka to buy a package. Sure, not the real backpackers behaviour. Nuwara Eliya is really in the tradition of the Empire. Lot of hotels in style of an old colonial building. Espacially the Grand Hotel, very british with a nice garden including british green in front. And .. a dresscode which allows only fine dresses like dinner jacket and tie. But on the other hand there’s nothing more to see than a park (for sure, Victoria Park *g*) and a cricket field and finally a area for horseraces. Don’t know excatly how to name such area. The hotels mostly have names like “Glengower” and “Ascot”. We went out for dinner, just found it at an indian cuisine food stall. Not too bad but as soon as I’ve problems with my stomache I better go for buiscuit and white bread. Most disadvantage at our room was missing moskito net so we were hunting half night those fucking blood suckers. Damned shit. Breakfast was ok, better than in Kandy and we start our journey to Ella, which is also in the highlands but only 1.000 meters above sea level. Kandy is approximately 2.200 meters high. It was a bumpy road but our driver managed it. On the way stopped on a temple with an over 2.000 years old Buddah image. Than arrived to Ella, a very small but beautiful village between mountains. Room is very nice and is attached with a moskito net. No fan is needed coz it’s a mild highland climate. We’ll try later to climb small Adams Peak when there’re now rainshowers today. After one hour of rest heavely rainshowers. Ok no small Adams peak today.

And here for some of my german friends….

Kandy – City of tooth relic

Friday, March 26th, 2010

That’s was Kandy is famous for. A temple where a tooth of Buddha is inshrined. And a nice lake with a lot of birds. Mandy felt scared and of course it remains us to that famous Hitchkok movie….. first night we went out for dinner to a muslim hotel (hotel in Sri Lanka means mostly a food court…..) So a “friendly” Singhalese who worked before in Germany and is married with a german woman gave us a introduction in “how to cheat foreigners”. Well, such things happen. After the dinner my stomache crashed and I was sitting at toilet half of the night. But with 2 pills and coz of my private nurse it was better next morning. Big topic next day was “how to find a laundry”. Easy going in Thailand or Malaysia. Not in Sri Lanka. Boss of the hotel recommended the Queens Laundry and for sure, best laundry in town. And finally it is, I guess but they don’t wanna clean underwear. Well, we bought washing soap and Mandy will do washing by hand 🙂 We visited the botanic garden which is 2nd largest in Asia and it was really nice. Beautyful orchids and huge trees. After that we have been dropped of close to tooth temple. Security check 2 times at entrance points, as usual in Sri Lanka. The temple itself is not an architectural highlight, if you’ve been in Angkor Wat or Schwedagon Pagoda before. It’s more a religious issue of faith, coz in my mind (behold I tell you a secret…) there’s no tooth. *g* After back at hotel I asked the guys how much would it be to hire a car to Nuwara Elia. The hotelboss offered us during our chat a package for next days. First I thought will be much too expensive but it’s about mathematics. 5 days by private car and driver , accomodation with breakfast, safari to national park incl entrance fee and drop off at a place of our choice at southcoast for 520 bucks. And that’s fair and ok, so we agreed. And he told us, that walk-in rates for hotels and guest-houses in Sri Lanka are the highest rates, so better book online in advance. But for this you have to no exactely where you wanna be next days. Anyway, for next days it should be stressless and more comfortable. And after the highlands we’ll go to the beach……
Next hop is Nuwara Eliya. Will keep you updated.

PS if you find mistakes feel free to keep them 🙂

Anuhradhapura to Kandy

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

We paid fro 3 seats because no extra lagguage box was available. Nice. In front of us was a young monk sitting and we had a short conversation about the life and buddhism and he can’t believe that we have no faith in any kind of godness and not thinking about life after death. Right now I’m very far from any kind of faith. So we gave up with discussion at least. After 3 hours we arrived at Kandy which is the 2nd largest city in Sri Lanka. The central busstation is overcrowded here. We went to a guesthouse which is recommended by our travelbook but it was to expensive and so we agreed the advise of the driver and choose the Kandy View hotel. Costs in total inclusive breakfast is 25 $ per night for our doubleroom. Well let’s see how it goes here…..

Anuhradhapura

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Well, as mentioned, Anuhradhapura was the first capital of Ceylon in fromer centuries. So in that case a lot of religious buildings located here. You have to pay 20 $ each person for a visitors ticket. But while we’re travelling on budget we were sruggeling to find another way. The driver we hired said we should pay him less than that so he will bring us through all checkpoints. And he did by talking to some guys….. I hope the Central Culture Fund will survive. And it’s the location of _the_ bodhi tree. A part from the original ones in India where Buddhas was enlightend. At the Schwedagon pagoda in Rangoon, Burma we saw the same. But not so much mambo-jumbo as here in Sri Lanka. Since the tamil tigers tried to destroy the tree by a bombing attack in 1985 you must pass 2 security checks. The tree itself is not very spectecular but for sure, it is a religious and philosophical issue. In former times up to 5.000 monks stayed here in this area for education, meditation and bring Buddhas doctrine to all people. At least we watched the places by driving in an old Toyota van. Exclusive sight seeing.
After the half day course we took the bus to Kandy because in my mind sounds better than the train.

Negombo – Anuhradhapura

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Sorry guys for delay but no internet conncetion availabe during last days.
Last night we went out for dinner, restaurant is recommended by our travelbook. And it was great. Fishermans platter for 2 persons, salad and for sure our new favourite drink “Lion Lager” beer. A lot of food and we paid 20 bucks but it was more than ok, service was excellent and the dishes taste great. Next morning early check-out before 7 a.m. We got a breakfast box each of us, cheese-sandwich, hard-boiled eggs and fruits. And as you may know, life is a challenge we took the morning train from Negombo to Colombo…. yeah. Rush hour, from Negombo go to work in Colombo by… make an educated guess… right, by train. We stood among the people, no space to fall. One hour skin-to-skin contact…. I couldn’t get my camera to take a picture because I was unable to move my arms. After that the central railway station Colombo. You still have in mind that this is the capital…. We went out for smoking but a friendly guy told us smoking is not allowed we have to go inside to the (so-called) cafeteria where upstairs smoking is allowed. But we can breathe there so we returned outside. Than we asked the counter officer for tickets to Anuhradhapura, price was 290 Rupies each and the next train leaves 40 mins ahead. Ok. Only 2nd class tickets available and as we entered the train… it was like going back in ages….. 3rd class in Thailand looks better. So we opend the window, occupied 4 seats for us and our lagguage and were looking forward to a 6 hours ride. But after a while it seems we missed the express train. The train we were in was a slow train with a stopover at each small station….. and there’re a lot of between Colombo and Anuhradhapura. Finally the ride takes 8.5 hours. Plus 1 hour from Negombo to Colombo. A trip worse than hell. A driver dropped us off at the Shanili Hotel ( I gave them a call in advance for a room) but 3.500 rupies for a small room was too much. So we went on the drivers advise (sure he got a commission..) to another guest house. Room was small too but only 2.000 rupies. Excluding breakfast. The highlight was a woman from Ottawa we met. She works as a urban planner and is travelling since last October by herself to Asia and Southeastasia. Great. We had dinner together and a nice chat. I’ll keep you informed how the story continous……

Sri Lanka – first contact

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

After a smooth flight we arrived in Colombo. Abd our lagguage as well. Don’t know why Qatarairlines won the award and is named a 5-*-winning airline. From our point of view not better than Emirates or Ethiad. We charted a very old toyota cab and it takes a 20 min ride to the hotel. 8 a.m. but we got a nice room 1st floor with private balkony and fan. Pretty much enough. Because we run on a jetlag we decided to hire a so-called 3-wheeler (like a tuk-tuk) and went to Negombo downtown. Crowded and loud. Driver guided us through the “main area” and best we found were Samusas (which is a srilankan name for Samosas..) spicy food, like it. Cigarettes are a big deal here. Supermarkets sell only Dunhill for 380 rupies a box. Damned expensive. So we drove to a small store, owned by sister of our driver. She told us she have other labels like BH and Marlboro, but it’s a little bit of illegal to sell coz such cigarettes from duty free. Price was btw the same. Back at hotel we took a rest and went to bed for few hours. Later I got a massage, relaxing style like they provide it here as a typical Auryvedah massage. Cost totally 20 $. Well, not so cheap as we know it from Thailand. Went out for dinner wiht some surprises. Close to the coast we want to go for seafood, sure. First restaurant too far. Hotel next door offered seafood as well but nobody was in and so made our decision to leave urgently. The small restaurant opposite to our hotel was more friednly but they won’t accept US $. We forgot to exchange money at airport so we havn’t any Rupies. Actually we had dinner at our hotel coz we can charge the dinner to our room. Food was nice until I signed the bill…. 23 $ for 2 starters, 2 large beer and 2 currries. Jesus christ what a surprise. But it’s a hotel mainly for tourists and not a backpackers hostel….

the beginning….

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Right now at the airport MUC. Few minutes until boarding…. we’re happy, our trip begins. so long merry old Germany….