From Jamie's Philippines Pics

We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.

We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.

Thanks for checking us out!

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
- Mark Twain

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."
- Maya Angelou






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Friday, November 19, 2010

Sri Lanka - Inland


On Wednesday of our vacation, we checked out of our resort and met our guide and driver at 5:00 am for a 4 hour drive inland into the mountains of Sri Lanka. Jamie and I usually take a dramamine of some sort before we take bus or van rides, especially through mountains, but we didn't have any for this trip. Luckily, we were able to stretch out and lie down in the van seats as we swerved, bumped, and jerked throughout the countryside. We arrived at our first stop 4 hours later green faced and ready for some solid land.

Our first stop was the St. Clair Tea Castle, so named because of the British family who owned the tea plantations in the area and built a castle to commemorate it. We sipped on some tea and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and waterfalls below. Our next stop took us by more waterfalls and tea plantations through what is called Little England, before we picked up some dramamine at a local pharmacy, and finally jumped onto a train that had been booked by our guide.

As our guide said... "Sri Lanka is friends to all religions, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhist." For the Muslims, this week was an espcially busy time for them, the the trains were packed with all sorts of people. Our guide bribed his way into getting us into the first class train car and where we had nice cushioned seats for the 3 hour train ride. The train only went about 20 mph and wound its way through the countryside through the various tea, rubber, cinnamon, and herbal plantations of Sri Lanka. We finally arrived at a train station in Kandy, a large city in the center of Sri Lanka and its cultural hub.

We ate a quick lunch at yet another buffet before checking into our hotel, the Thilanka Hotel, which had a wonderful view overlooking the city. We took a quick nap before meeting our guide once again and going to a gem factory and store. Jamie was able to buy some nice emerald and sapphire earrings and a ring. That evening, we enjoyed some Kandy cultural dancing. Be sure to check out clips of the video on our Picasa Photo Albums. I'll upload it soon, but it'll take some time. We absolutely crashed after the performance and dinner after a long long day of traveling.

The next morning was early yet again as we first visited the Buddha Tooth Temple, a Buddhist temple in Kandy that claims to house the actual tooth from the remains of Siddhārtha Gautama, or Buddha. There had been some bombings there in previous years, so security was tight and there were hundreds of people there early in the morning to catch a sight of the tooth. Because of the long lines, we didn't get a chance to see the tooth, but I don't think it would have meant that much to us anyway.

We ate some breakfast and checked out of the hotel before departing to the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens. It was a perfect day, and we caught the gardens at a good time where it wasn't too crowded and the flowers had not died because of bad weather. The highlight of the gardens is a 100 year old tree that covers 2500 square feet. Be sure to find the picture in the photo album. Pretty amazing.

We then went to a tea factory where they showed us how they process all of the tea we saw at the tea plantations. We picked up some tea to take home with us and will enjoy it in the months to come.

Our last stop was the herbal gardens, where a guide showed us all sorts of herbs and spices they use for a variety of home remedies. Of course, we picked up some to take home with us as they were unique and apparently pretty costly in the western world.

A 2 hour drive to the airport, a 3 hours wait there, and a 5 hour flight back home followed by a 45 minute taxi ride had us back in our villa at 11:30 that night. A long end to the holiday, but we enjoyed our stay in Sri Lanka. We hope to return in the future if our travel plans allow for it.
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