Today marks the end of the first week of my three-week trip in Sri Lanka. Unbelievable! As gentle and peaceful as this country seems, traveling through it is a constant adventure. I feel like the impressions I’ve made in the past week could last a whole month.
Borrowing from the guys over at For 91 Days, here’s the condensed version of first impressions:
Holding a newly-hatched baby turtle in my palm. As a kid, one of my favorite books was about sea turtles and the incredible struggle they go through to reach the ocean and survive. More than fifteen years later, I still couldn’t contain my excitement as I approached the water tank. BABY TURTLES!!!!!!!!!! Squeals. I’m pretty sure I broke the 22 year-old hatchery’s record of Longest Time Spent Photographing Baby Turtles, if such a thing ever existed. Baby turtle photo galore coming soon. You know you’re excited!
It’s pretty hard to beat rice and curry, especially when it comes with a giant plate of fragrant rice and at least four different curries each time. Sour mango curry, jackfruit curry, dal lentil curry, coconut curry, chicken curry, fish curry, egg curry, pumpkin curry, even garlic curry… the possibilities are endless! Plus, it doesn’t hurt that you can get all of this for approximately 130 LKR or 1 USD at a typical stall.
Folks here eat rice with their fingers, 100% of the time. If you are imagining loose rice falling out of your fingers all the time, you have the right idea. Unfortunately for me, when in Rome….
The hill country town of Ella. It was recommended by everyone as a backpacker favorite, and I was told about the stunning hikes, waterfalls, trails, and peaks. Well, it turned out to be a backpacker central in the worst way possible — too many tourist-centric businesses, lack of character, disappointing waterfalls, and generally just blah.
Trying out the whole “will work for room” set up. In the past seven days, I’ve stayed at everything from a fancy boutique resort hotel to a small family-run home stay, all in exchange for photography and social media help. It’s nice to trade services for goods, but it definitely adds a level of stress and responsibility. After this week, I probably won’t do this again, unless it happens to be an Ayurvedic spa hotel.
Also…. accidentally hitchhiking a motorbike, truck, and tuk-tuk in one afternoon. That was pretty funny. The worst part was when I got onto the truck and then realized it was going at 15mph due to the load of bricks and the hilly ascent. After mentally comparing Jogging Michelle in the Mountains and 15-mph Snailspeed Truck in a side-by-side comparison, I decided to stay put in the passenger seat. Not a bit of regret.
Sri Lanka in Three Words
Friendliness, curry, Buddhism.