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In the Triangle of Sri Lankan Culture

After reaching the beautiful resort at Habarana, we sipped a cool drink at the reception while being checked in. It was so peaceful and relaxing to just be there, admiring the layout as we walked to the little chalet that was assigned to us. All the hotels we stayed at in Sri Lanka had their own charm, and Chhaaya Village was perhaps the most charming, long-tailed monkey families scampering across the lawns next to a lotus lake, on the other side of which marched a row of elephants.

Funny thing about road trips and travelling together is the three of us sharing the same bathroom along the way, and it gets funnier if we all need to go at the same time πŸ™‚

We opted to have a relaxed afternoon, freshening up with showers, a leisurely lunch followed by nap for me while Huz and Amu went for a romp.

The next day we set off for Anuradhapura after an early breakfast. It was a long drive to get there and ultimately we kicked ourselves for it.

We paid $25 each to explore this place (probably a hundred times more than the locals), Anuradhapura being one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization….but we skedaddled from there as fast as we could. It was horribly hot!! I would have loved to roam around on a cloudy, drizzly day and the remnants were indeed fascinating and terribly historic. But Amu and I found ourselves longing to be submerged in the cool pool at the resort in Habarana :/

And once again, I was far more fascinated by the monkeys than the ancient Sacred Bodhi Tree :/

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Temple monkeys

I mentioned some monkey business in my previous post but didn’t share the pictures, mainly because I didn’t take them!

Luckily, the photographer has given me the green signal πŸ™‚

Presenting….’The Mommy Who Wouldn’t Let Go’…..by Amu (the offspring)








Misty magic ~ 1

Day 2 in Sri Lanka.

It was arranged that a man with a jeep would pick us up reeeaaalllyyy early the next morning, and take us to Horton Plains, a plateau 2100-2300 metres above sea level.

horton

It was cold, drizzly and foggy, and I began to get doubts about how warm our flimsy cotton hoodies would keep us…

The driver stopped at a bend in the road, where he thought we might spot white-bearded monkeys in the misty trees.

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And we did πŸ™‚

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It was a longish drive, but our gazes were riveted to the landscape we were passing through, forests, rivers, lakes and farms with Fresian cows grazing on the slopes, all enveloped in cloud. The driver was friendly and eager to educate, so he shared titbits of information as he pointed out various noteworthy sights, some left behind by the British, like this forest of Australian eucalyptus, a non-endemic species, not to mention a thirsty bunch of trees.

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And a sulky monkey.

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I was amazed that the driver’s eyes were sharp enough to spot this poor badly injured female (whose name I forget, a species of lizard endemic to Sri Lanka as I was informed).

How did we know it was a female? Take a look at that egg…

lizard

Nothing much could be done, but to pick her up and deposit her in the foliage on the side of the road.

We drove on, and soon….

jeep

hortonplainssign

As we drove in after paying the fee, the sharp-eyed driver once again pointed out something I would surely have missed. A Sambar deer, sheltering near a rhododendron bush

We ate our packed breakfasts huddled in the relative warmth of a bare basic restaurant, where we drank some horrible but warming coffee before setting off on our hike, umbrellas in hand. I had half a mind to skip the whole thing altogether, as my hoodie and three t-shirts were doing nothing to keep the wind from chilling me to the bone. But then I figured walking would warm me up…..and it did.

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I’m sure glad I didn’t chicken out, as what followed turned out to be a dream-like hike through surreal landscape, the undisputed highlight of our SrliLankan experience πŸ™‚


Life in a duct-II

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Awkward

Took these in April 2011 in Mikumi, Tanzania…..a wildlife reserve. Giraffes were of special interest to me. But I have to say, the sky and the landscape plain took my breath away.

the big picture


Just dropped in to say ‘meow’ :)

Peeked out of the balcony and saw a cute kittycat sitting on the wall. Ran to get my camera. When I came back, he was gone. As I stood there, wondering how he could have disappeared so fast, he scrambled up on to the ledge, right in front of my face. I shrieked….the kitty was momentarily startled, but regained his composure pretty fast I thought. Wandered off and settled down for a nice little scratchy scratchy.

scratch scratch…

oh…what’s this?

ho hum…not much to see there…

who goes there?!

oh…no one interesting…

whatchulookinat?

 


And the giraffes spot me!

We passed this sign, and then just a kilometre or so later we encountered veritable HERDS of giraffes!

Imagine my delight….

Don’t you just love their curious expressions?! And those distinctively patterned coats against that vivid lush greenery….

Rapture.


Spot the giraffe!

We spent all afternoon driving along dirt roads crisscrossing the wildlife reserve. We spotted a lion early on, an old, scarred one, but a real life lion in the wild nevertheless. I had already seen quite a lot of zebras, but I could never get enough of those.

It was as our guide/driver Erik was taking us on a quest for an elusive cheetah that we trundled over a wooden bridge, making as much of a ruckus as a herd of elephants would, that I spotted my other favourite animal…grazing by itself, looking supremely picturesque against the gorgeous landscape that is Mikumi.


Crepuscular, much?

*munch munch*


Caged

What I didn’t get to see up close in the wild in a reserve called MikumiΒ in Tanzania…..

lion

It helps though, that I now have a much better zoom lens. πŸ™‚