Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sri Lanka Tour - part 2

I really wanted to put some of this down before I forgot all about the trip,
but it's starting to become a bit hazy already, we've been home just about a month!

After we visited the Temple of the Tooth Relic (I keep saying Temple of the Tooth Fairy - I don't mean to cause offence!) we spent one last night at the hotel in Kandy (two nights in total); we'd stayed at The Cinnamon Citadel which was really lovely, from the rooms to the food to the very smiley and helpful staff. The driver met us at 9am the following morning and we asked to visit the Pinnawala elephant orphanage on the way back down to the coast, we'd heard lots about it and had also been told that the school tour would be stopping there.

Now I love animals of all kinds (well, I don't love spiders) but I'm not keen on "captive" creatures, it just doesn't seem right. I have been in a pool with a dolphin, but it was reluctantly after seeing them in the wild - a large pool with hundreds of people queuing to watch them perform just doesn't do it for me. However it is an orphanage and they care not only for orphaned baby elephants but those injured or born deformed and therefore unable to survive in the wild.
 Now I'm not an expert so please understand that my feelings about places like this are very personal, the orphanage is a very well known & popular place.

Considering how far elephants can roam I was surprised that the site is only 25 acres, that seemed small to me. The elephants are never released back into the wild from here, only sold on to zoos etc. We paid for Little Miss to bottle feed a baby elephant although it drank at a rate of knots and the experience was over quickly!

I was a little uncomfortable about the chains, although I guess they're necessary
Little Miss in the red T Shirt, feeding the baby

We were able to follow them all down to the river where they have their bath

A horrible photo of me, I had no clue my hair was so bright! As The Builder pointed out at the time "you look like someone trying to cover up very grey hair, badly!"
Well he may have a point..... it's now "mid-brown".
From here we travelled down to the coast where we were booked for 6 nights in Wadduwa. The boys were changing hotels twice more to be nearer to each match but we had made the decision to have a base and travel by taxi each day to the various pitches. I'm still not sure whether that was the right decision or not, it was lovely to properly unpack and relax in one place but the travelling to and from each match was a bind. Much further than it had looked on the map and, as you may expect the roads were not good. The roads were under repair in most places too, with temporary traffic lights and workmen in hard hats and flip flops!! A little puzzling as when you're tarmacing a road it's slightly more likely that something will drop on your foot than your head!!
We also had to survive the manic driving, many bicycles, mopeds, tuk-tuks as well as taxis and buses. More than once I thought of Curry Queen and her tales of driving through India.
Did someone say wacky races??
We had to drive into the capital of Colombo for two of the games and it was hot, sweaty and dusty (the city, not me!). As I previously mentioned The Builder had decided to negotiate his own taxi,
we gave the driver the name and address of the cricket ground, he didn't seem to think this would be a problem, we drove for an hour and a half and he delivered us to "The Cricket Club Café". Errm, No!
Apparently tourists aren't usually looking for actual real life cricket pitches!
After several stops to ask for directions and a couple of other dead ends we made it to the
Colts Cricket Club in the heart of Colombo.
 A city with a cricket pitch on every street corner it seems, in fact a country with a cricket pitch on every corner, some members of the family were in heaven.
I won't bore you with match details, partly because I don't remember any!
Suffice to say out of the 5 matches they played the boys managed to win 2 - a great achievement considering the strength of the opposition and the heat.
We had a beautiful hotel again and, as we were holidaying as a family of 3 we were able to take advantage of a cut price suite which was available.
We could enjoy a little luxury in the very few hours we were actually at the hotel.
Forrest Gump anyone??

never add bubble bath to a jacuzzi!
For the next two matches we travelled on the coast road south from Wadduwa, again journeys of around 2 hours. Our first match was at Seenigama Oval against a school called The Foundation of Goodness. We later found out that the team was mainly made up of children orphaned in the Tsunami. The ground had great facilities and was set up with financial support from the Surrey Oval. Throughout our trip we saw many memorials to the victims of the Tsunami and also evidence of support from all around the world.

We played another match against the Foundation of Goodness second team the following day in Hikkaduwa, this ground was named the MCC and was supported by the MCC at Lord's. Again we were seriously lost with our taxi driver and he stopped many times to ask directions, took us to the wrong pitch twice and then crashed into the back of a bus! He made many U-turns in the road and had to dodge the various pedestrians and vehicles coming from all directions; this he did well but failed to notice the stationary bus opposite.
As we were travelling at a snails pace no one was even jolted but sadly his car was wedged under the bus and had the be pulled out. We were obviously the best entertainment anyone had had in months, a strange white/red headed lady laughing hysterically in the back of a crashed car.
A huge crowd gathered with lots of shouting and gesticulating, and a few faces staring into the car - a little unnerving.

 I laughed so much as I realised I'd continued to worry about the strangeness of a no-disaster holiday.
It was an odd feeling of relief now the disaster had happened.
I won't bore you with all the details of the trip, this post seems incredibly long already. I will post a few more photos though, especially some from our visit to the Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Project. Again this was not on the scale we would expect at home but it had been completely rebuilt in the years following the Tsunami, for obvious reasons as it's situated on the beach and we did find it extremely interesting.
day old turtles

holding a 3 day old turtle

And just because they made me smile; you're never too far from a Tesco are you?!

I probably should amuse you also with the evening meal we enjoyed at "Fawlty Towers". We were only on a b&b basis at the hotel and on one evening we decided to try the neighbouring hotel, we'd done a lunchtime recce and they had chicken nuggets on the menu! Little Miss had done well on the diet of curry (it was all lovely as my waistline will testify) but she was in need of something resembling a McDonalds. We were greeted at the door by a flustered manager/waiter/receptionist/bellboy who asked if we'd prefer to sit inside or outside, outside we decided as it was a warm evening. He escorted us out to the patio, into the pitch dark, and pulled out the chairs for us to sit down, well I believe he did, I couldn't see for the dark! We were a little bemused as we couldn't even see the table in front of us, we had glimmer of light coming from a nearby table as the gentleman sitting there was wearing a miners lamp on his head!! I kid you not, he actually was - I tried to get a photo of him but it was too dark.
We sat for 20 minutes but no one came to take our order (they probably couldn't see us), several waiters dashed to and fro but never actually served anyone. We stood up to go and find a table inside at which point the manager/waiter/receptionist/bellboy ran after us begging us to stay - I expected Manuel to pop up at any time!
We eventually found a new table next to a Russian couple who looked like they'd lost the will to live - they flagged down a waiter several times to ask where there food was but with no luck. We ordered the chicken nuggets, however they didn't have any! At this point the Russian couple were presented with 2 bowls of soup by the manager/receptionist/waiter/bellboy - all we heard was the shout of "Niet, Soup!"
We settled for curry and looked up to see a very strange character wander in a la Julie Walters in Dinnerladies, and sit down nearby.
 Everytime a member of staff walked by we heard her call "a cup of tea, dear?"
Whilst we waited and waited, alongside us the Russian couple started to sigh, we also saw the waiter/manager/bellboy/receptionist set a feast of food at an empty table and also place a delicious platter of food inside a bain marie at the other end of the room - no one ever appeared to eat either!
No other member of staff ever served anyone - I haven't giggled so much in ages!

And now can I apologise for the length of this post (did you notice there's not much mention of cricket?), normal service will resume soon!


  1. What a fascinating place to visit. Sounds like you had a good time! xx

  2. You do make me smile....did you help yourself to the food ? The crashed Taxi bit must have been horrible - no wonder you laughed hysterically ( by the way, I have several friends with your shade of hair & they love being red ! )

    Mixed feelings about the baby elephants; sad to hear they are sold to zoos. My brother was an elephant keeper in safari parks for years. He now lives in Thailand.

    What a wonderful holiday even if it was cricket based x

  3. I went from red to dark brown but somehow miss the brightness. Your trip sounds just great, apart from maybe spending lengthy amounts of time in a car. I nearly choked on my lunch (laughing), when I read about your restaurant experience! Have a great week. Cx

  4. You started my day with a good giggle, we were once in a pub in Somerset and the owner came out of the back room and apologized for his absence saying he'd been watching Fawlty Towers, that it made his life seem normal.
    I'm with you about animals in captivity. I will never go to Sea World, hate circus's, and almost can't go to zoos any more.

  5. It sounds like a trip you'll remember for a long time to come. I think we've all had those Fawlty Towers experiences at least once in our life, I think there must be a few more Basils around than we care to admit. Those tiny turtles are so cute, we swam in the sea with turtles in Barbados, great big things they were. Glad you had such a lovely time.

  6. How fantastic! And thank you for the link - now you see I wasn't exaggerating a bit about the driving! Fab photos too and your descriptions bring back our trip in wonderful detail - especially Fawlty Towers. We decided to eat strictly vegetarian whilst we were in India and, by the time we got home, we were both gagging for a McDonalds! Sounds as though you had a fab time. xx

  7. this looks like so much fun, minus all the cricket of course.
    my husband is a cricket lover.. he's trying very hard to get my 3 year old interested too.. but he's at a play bat and ball with me stage rather than the watching stage..

  8. Sounds as though this holiday was full of good times to be remembered. Those day old turtles look very sweet. What a weird evening you had with the non appearing chicken nuggets!
    Lisa x

  9. I hope you've written a glowing report on Trip Advisor for the Fawlty Towers restaurant! Sounds like one of those evenings where when you look back on it, you can hardly believe it actually happened.

  10. YIKES! That restaurant sounds horrid! But....what a laugh eh?
    Quite the interesting vacation.....for sure!
    Enjoy your week, Jay..
    Linda :o)

  11. Such an amazing trip and I do love your funny stories on your travels. I'm off on my hole in a couple of weeks and do hope that I have some similar fun stories to share!


  12. Worst restaurant review ever!
    What a lot of wildlife you got to see, and your hotel looked lovely.
    I had no idea there were so many wildlife conservation programs active overseas like that.

  13. Just love the humour throughout this. Have decided to include it in the next BritMums travel round-up. Keep a look out Monday 7 April.

  14. I'm glad you mentioned this post or I might have missed this one! It must have been quite an expierence bottle feeding a baby elephant.It must have been so strange seeing so many cricket pitches everywhere. I loved your story of Fawlty Towers too! Sarah x

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. I love the elephant photos! What a great post, and a great trip. :)