08 september Dambulla (SRI LANKA)

The whole morning dedicated at the visit of the city of Dambulla and its temples.

In every cave there were many Buddha statues represented in the most più different and desperate positions! There was also one with hair and when I asked the reason at our guide he answered me, a bit embarrassed: "Well, this is the inspiration of the artist!"

Those scents, those sing-song recited uninterruptedly by the followers that were praying...

Along the road there was also a snake-charmer! It was impressive! There were three cobras in a case and when the man raised up the cover and gave a little shot, suddenly, it jumped with a very rapid rush on the enchanter hand...

After that we had a walk along Dambulla road... We asked to a very embarrassed policeman where the city center was... There was no city center!

In the afternoon we had an excursion in the jungle! Honestly we haven't seen the animal that we expected to meet in a jungle but some butterfly, small reptiles etc. It was worthwhile only thanks to the background we admired once we got up to the mountain!

Just from there we saw a cricket ground! We can't miss this chance, that's why we decide to go there with a couple of guys form Turin: Andrea and Giorgia. Once at destination we get ready to try this new sport when suddenly we see a football... As good Italian, we soon change our mind and we plan a football match: ITALY-SRI LANKA! Few minutes later we are winning 3-0. But the more we play the more our opposing increased. The match ends 6-5 for the many Sinhalese who contributed!

 

09 september Kandy (SRI LANKA)

Everytime my glance met one of them, those black eyes so deep... that image remained fixed in my eyes for long...

In Kandy what smog! Air is unbreathable. When I was in the bus, I couldn't stay more than five minutes with the window opened that soon my throat started to hurt me! When, in the hotel, I washed my face, the towel became black! I'm not kidding!

Sometimes I looked at the electric wires and often I noticed a huge flying fox (a big bat), with his head down, swinging fried!

[Nick]: "Today we have visited a spices garden and a lab where they worked gems...

In the evening we go, at first at a show of Kandyan dance and then to visit the famous "Temple of the Teeth" (where they say it's kept a teeth of Buddha!). It was rather interesting even if now I'm tired of watching Buddha who sleeps, eats, plays, laughs, cries, sitting, lying, ill, who teaches etc."

 

 

10 september Kandy (SRI LANKA)

Botanic Garden. A real heaven for the lovers... l

After that we went to the mountain to visit the tea plantings that makes Sri Lanka so famous. But before that we deserved a fast lunch in a little restaurant in front of Ramboda Falls, a very suggestive place, too bad for all those leeches. I read about that but I decided to go in all the same for some pictures... Andrea has been a bit unlucky because he came back with a leech between his feet fingers!

We visit one of the hundreds tea factories and they explain us all the passages: from the harvesting, to the drying till the sale! What impressed me the most was the meeting with a group of women from India, they were holding very heavy bags full of tea leaves behind their back! The harvesting is very hard and very bad paid (they earn around 150$ per month), the Sinhalese refuse to work so much for so less too, that's why these workers come directly from India!

During all our transfer by bus we have crossed many small and poor towns and from the window we have thrown everything we had: pens, pencils, copybooks, soaps....

[Nick]: "Giving them a pen I felt happier too, maybe even more of the child who received it. It's a weird feeling, maybe it's stupid, but,in a way, I felt proud!"

11 september Colombo (SRI LANKA)

In the morning we visit Pinnawella and the orphanage of the elephants. It was very suggestive!

After that we come back to the capital: Colombo. It welcomes us with its suburb of 60.000 roaming. A kind of Brazilian favelas or of Indian suburb. There were many people along the river (the second biggest in Sri Lanka) who lived there!

After that there is the rich part. The embassy quarter and all the most important buildings (in classical British colonial style). What differences. You can see the poverty in one side.... then you proceed some hundreds meters and everything changes!

Here too the smog is in the air. At the sunset, the sky becomes of a weird pink and from our swimming pool we could hardly make out the skyscrapers of the city, hidden by the fog/mist!

There are so many check-points. One every 50 metres! While we were taking some "innocuous" picture along the sea front, suddenly a policeman came to us and ordered us to stop taking photos. There is still a big fear of the attempts by the Tamil Tigers!

It's the first time I stay in a "Hilton Hotel". Everything is deluxe, but it looks old, of an ancient time by now gone. You can realise that it's a classy hotel, but I feel as I stay in the house of an old aristocratic British lady.

 

"He loved the differences very much: perhaps for this reason he travelled a lot."

- Jorge Luis Borges - (Brodie's manuscript)

12 september Dickwella (SRI LANKA)

This morning we go to the extreme Southern edge of the island.

Today I'm 28!

My birthday in a place completely forgotten by God, so much forgotten that almost three years ago there has been the terrible tsunami here! Just here.

The transfer till Dickwella has been rather hard. More than five hours along unsafe roads with dangerous overtakings done with speeding up, hootings and many risks but without getting angry. Never.

You can see Buddhists, Christians, Muslims and Hindus living together so harmoniously. Churches next to Hindus temples, mosques near Buddhist pagodas. What a nice mix. Is it so difficult to respect thoughts and beliefs of other people?

In the South we start notice the first tsunami effects. There are small houses or monuments just built up or old moudly ruins (as they had been for long time in the water). This is what happened, actually. I was thinking that just here, three years ago, many people died!

Our resort is not what we expected. There are only six tourists! No one more. We are alone!

We are one meter and half above the sea level...

I'm watching worried and alarmed the CNN. There has just been a tsunami in Sumatra, Indonesia. That is very close to us! Let's hope that everything is all right. Moreover there is the high tide here and we seem completely surrounded by the water!

[Nick]: "We have just been evacuated due to the tsunami warning. We moved with two Belgian ladies, for caution, to Eric's, a sea biologist and university professor that he's working here in this period. So far, everything seems all right... The danger seems gone and I feel much safer here".

 

The journey is a kind of door through which you exit from the reality to penetrate to an unexplored reality that seems a dream. "

Guy de Maupassant - (At the sun)

 

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