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I Got Dumped By Mirissa in Sri Lanka

By on Apr 20, 2012 in Sri Lanka | 0 comments

  I got dumped by Mirissa! It all started on one fine day whilst standing waist deep in the picture perfect waters of Mirissa Bay in southern Sri Lanka. I was declaring my love for Niki, looking romantically into her eyes as she stood on the beach. In hindsight I should have realised how hurt Mirissa would be with me for showing my affection to another women. Yet as I stood with the waves lapping past me, with Niki’s eyes gazing back intently into mine, her mouth dropped into an ‘o’ shape (like the moment in the movies when the actor realises the seriousness of the situation) and shouted something back to me. Which I could only imagine at the time was “I love you too baby and I’m so glad I married you, you’re my Mr Perfect”.   So as I turned to face the water behind me to swim happily away, content with the love of my wife and the big headedness that I could actually think she would ever say that to me, I came face to face with a wave twice the size of me. The last words I remember coming out of my mouth was something along the lines of “Oh Shit” and thinking Niki shouldn’t be saying “I love you” when she should of been warning me of my impending doom….then my mouth dropped into a ‘o’ shape with the realisation of what she was really saying – it was about this time I was hit by the wall of water.   Apparently from the beach, it had looked liked I had decided to try a synchronized jump above the wave before realizing that it was never going to work and tried to rescue my attempt for freedom by making a last minute choice to dive into the wave’s base. I was later told I looked like man with little hope and was the funniest thing Niki had seen all day. Mirissa had slapped me!  I somersaulted three hundred and sixty degrees through the water as her intense wave destroyed me; my arms bent in all directions and washed me ashore like a beached mermaid with the grace of a turtle floundering on its back. This was how I was dumped by Mirissa!   I wanted to say that Mirissa and I parted our ways amicably, that our love had lasted long, however it would be a lie. Mirissa had made it clear – it was me, not her and kicked my arse out of her fine blue waters with my tail firmly stuck between my legs! Needless to say I spent the rest of the day under a palm tree nursing my ego, my sore body and asking the question “where did our relationship go wrong?”   Throughout the day, Mirissa would often take new lovers keen to embrace her waves and her sandy beach bosom – yet time and time again she would reject them with an intensity of a scorned woman. With particular mention to a young man who tried to force his love upon her, before belly flopping onto the break of a wave and being washed back into shore. Sometimes people scuttled in to only scuttle out a few minutes later, afraid of the ultimate smack down of pain that they were about to receive. However these people never having received the love of her rolling waves, the intense blue of her shine and warmth of her water, left feeling dejected.   I love Mirissa Bay and like an estranged lover, I will be back tomorrow to sip on a coconut under the shade of the infringing palm trees and admire her beauty…at least from a distance. Mirissa has no time for wandering eyes or to share your affection, for with Marissa Bay, it is better to have loved and lost, then to have never have loved at all. Just a Small Note: There are some nasty rips along this beach as well many other parts of Sri Lanka. Make sure to swim in areas suited to your ability, as many travellers lose their life often in the waters of Sri Lanka.     This post is part of the India and Sri Lanka: The Search for the Forgotten Tree blog series. If you liked the post, don’t forget to Stumble It or Tweet it below. Previous Post The Taj Mahal. Noun. Wonder of the World Next Post Coming...

The Place Where Butterflies Come to Die, Sri Pada

By on Feb 17, 2012 in Sri Lanka | 0 comments

Legend would have you believe that this is the place where butterflies come to die. Whilst devout Buddhists believe that this is the site that Buddha himself ventured forth into the afterlife, where as readers of the Bible believe this is where Adam set forth upon the earth. Whatever your view, witnessing a sunrise upon the summit of Sri Pada or Adam’s Peak as it is also known by, will remain with you for a lifetime. Sri Pada is at an achievable height of 2243 metres in the hill country of Sri Lanka and during the pilgrimage season (December to March), thousands of devotees ascend to the small monastery perched upon the summit. The monastery houses the footprint of Buddha and is an important place that many Sri Lankans travel to yearly. The climb is about three hours and passes by raging waterfalls, small tea houses and harrowing views of the deep valleys below.  It all concludes with a juxtaposition of watching the sky turn from millions of stars into the pastel colours of the sun rising over Sri Lanka.             This post is part of the India and Sri Lanka: The Search for the Forgotten Tree blog series. Previous Post Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic Next Post Coming...

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic {Photo Junket}

By on Jan 18, 2012 in Sri Lanka | 0 comments

Boom!         Boom!         Boom!         This was no enticing drum sound to woo me deep into the bowel of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic; no, this was a command to follow the many pilgrims into the darkness of the night into the most important Buddhist site in all of Sri Lanka. The site that, as legend would have you believe, contains a tooth from Buddha himself. Smuggled to Sri Lanka by an Indian Princess, the sacred tooth has been at the center of many conquests as for it is popularly believed that whoever holds the Tooth holds the power and the right to rule over the diverse island of Sri Lanka. After stripping your feet from your earth worn shoes and passing over the deep moat, you enter an ornate and spiritual world filled with intricately decorated arched corridors, hypnotic sounds of drums and prayers, the intense aromas of burning incense and the throngs of the pilgrims dressed in white holding offerings to Buddha. On entering the final chamber, waiting patiently for the door that houses the relic itself to be opened by one of the many monks that form part of an elite sentinel for the temple, you will glimpse a priceless golden vessel. No words can adequately describe its immense beauty, elegance and sense of spiritual power that it holds over so many Buddhists around the world, for the vessel houses the Sacred Tooth of Buddha himself.  Draped in exquisite jewels and gems, surrounded by a room of golden light and lush red velvet drapes, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by the sight of people praying, placing offerings and crying, as for some, this is a once in a lifetime experience. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a must see in the city of Kandy in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka and will leave an impression on you for many years to come.               This post is part of the India and Sri Lanka: The Search for the Forgotten Tree blog series. Previous Post Bathing with Elephants in Sigiriya Next Post The Place Where Butterflies Come to...

Bathing the Elephants in Sri Lanka

By on Jan 14, 2012 in Sri Lanka | 1 comment

There have been a few times in all the years that I have travelled and all the countries that I have visited that I have truly had an experience that has left me so humbled. So as I laid upon the stomach of a small Asian elephant, rising with every breathe that he took and feeling his coarse skin against my hands, I couldn’t help but shed a small tear at how magnificent these creatures truly are. Niki and I were in the small town of Sigiriya, in the central plateau of Sri Lanka. The day before we had climbed Sigiriya Rock and waking up early after a gang of monkeys attacked our guesthouse, we had planned to head south to the city of Kandy. Just before 8am the sound of a trumpeting elephant erupted through our room and as I peered out through our room’s dusty little window, I saw two mighty beasts lazily walking past our window. Niki was out of the door before I could even mention the phrase “elephants on parade’ and I was content to let her take some photos whilst I finished packing. A good 15 minutes had passed and I thought I should go find my wife who I had a strong suspicion that wherever she was, that she would be surrounded by an interested group of men. As whenever I left her alone in Sri Lanka, men would come in all directions to start up a conversation – whether friendly or with other intentions. So as I strolled down the road to find her, it came as no surprise that she was surrounded by two men whilst she took photos from a small bridge. Her images were of a small Asian Elephant on his side being bathed by a young mahout, who upon seeing us called us down to the river to have a better look. Climbing down the muddy embankment with Niki in toe, I stopped at the bank and felt my jaw drop. There was this creature that I had seen all over Asia, in a natural setting away from the touristic stage. There were no tourist buses, no tricks or elephant artwork, no elephant poo postcards and no amusement park atmosphere. I knew it wasn’t the same as seeing a Wild Elephant, however there was something special about seeing the mahout care for the young elephant as if a child of his own. Beginning to understanding, at least to a small extent, the bond that they share in the form of a working partnership that has been existent for hundreds of years in this part of Asia. Niki and I were then invited to enter the river. The coarse hair ran through my fingertips, the elephant’s eyes gazed upon me before contently blowing water over its back and continuing to rub the cool earthy mud over its body.  All this whilst the young man used a sturdy coconut shell to scrub the elephant’s skin of the muddy dust that clings to the air in this part of Sri Lanka. Nervous like I was on a first date, I couldn’t help but lay my ear against the elephant’s skin. I wanted to hear the sound of his beating heart and feel the rise of his stomach as air filled its lungs. I laid there in the moment, tranfixed in a world of discovery and felt humbled at the size and placid nature of the elephant. After I helped wash the young elephant’s leathery skin, which I wasn’t much good at, I slowly retreated back to the bank with a tear in the eye and a sense of awe at some of the amazing experiences you get to partake in when you travel the world. The dilemma of elephants in tourism is a juicy conundrum.  New technologies are replacing the need for elephants in agricultural and logging industries, coupled with the high expense of feeding them, often mahouts either have the choice of releasing them (which they may not survive), destroying them or potentially engaging them in tourism activities. However elephant tourism if done wrong, can be cruel and tacky, with elephants made to do tricks and ‘perform’ for the paying tourist. Ideally in the wild is the best place to see them, however with this not always possible, many successful elephant tourism operators (orphanages and rehabilitation centres) have been developed. This organizations have helped create a sustainable way of fostering a balance between using elephants in tourism to enable tourists to get up close with the animals, whilst meeting animal welfare standards and continuing to promote the growth of the Asian elephant population. It’s up to us and our travel choices about which type of elephant tourism will win out in the future! This post is part of the India and Sri Lanka: The Search for the Forgotten Tree blog series. Previous Post The Lion fortress of Sigiriya {Photo Junket} Next Post Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic {Photo...

The Lion Fortress of Sigiriya {Photo Junket}

By on Dec 13, 2011 in Sri Lanka | 0 comments

  If you squint you will see a giant lion entangled in the encroaching jungle, overlooking the Hill Country to the south and protecting the central table of Sri Lanka. If you open your eyes fully, you will see the ruins of an ancient fortress or Sigiriya Rock as the locals call it, resting upon the top of a megalithic rock in a sparse plateau that would once have been a glorious residence for those who dared climbed upon the lion’s back. Photographing Sigiriya Rock is a wonderful challenge as there are so many aspects to shoot. From the rock paintings concealed within the overhanging caves, to the decaying ruins, to the 360 degree views from the top and of course, the mesmerizing rock itself. Lion Fortress is well worth the three hours travel from Colombo and is best experienced in the early morning as the sun rises over Sri Lanka.                     This post is part of the India and Sri Lanka: The Search for the Forgotten Tree blog series. Previous Post Pawing Lion Fortress Next Post Bathing the Elephants in Sri...

Pawing Lion Fortress

By on Dec 12, 2011 in Sri Lanka | 0 comments

Standing upon the top of the Lion Fortress or Sigiriya Rock as it is known by the Sri Lankans, will make you think of two things: Firstly it will convince you that elevators were the best invention ever to be created by man and secondly, it will make you question if Base Jumping is a viable method for bypassing the hundreds of stairs it will take you to get to the bottom! Earlier that day Niki and I had travel by bus from Anuradhapura via Dambulla to Sigiriya, a small town nestled at the bottom of the dominant Lion Fortress. After being jostled between buses we came to a sudden halt at a small shrine on the outskirts of town. Our bus driver leaped out of the bus is a sense of urgency and fell to his knees before a small Buddha statue.  “Niki, has our bus driver just gotten off to pray?” It was more of a statement than a question. With a nod of her head, I could see in her eyes the same thing I was thinking, how bad was this bus trip going to be if the driver needed to pray for a safe passage? It was about this time I started to pray to any god that wanted to listen that a ‘safe passage’ doesn’t involve overtaking on blind corners and excessive honking.     Sigiriya Rock or Lion Fortress is a large complex built upon the top of a giant rocky outcrop surrounded by a moat, the impressive Royal gardens and the wild expanses of the Sri Lankan jungle. As we walked in from our guesthouse, there were large signs plastered everywhere telling us that if you’re brave or stupid enough to cross into the jungle, that pretty much you weren’t coming out alive due to the large inhabitants of hungry crocodiles, deadly snakes and the worse of all, abusive poo flinging monkeys. Needles to say Niki and I stuck to the main road like glue.   After gaining entry to the site, we spent the next three hours wandering the gardens, exploring ancient artwork and ascending the steep staircase to the summit. The complex of ancient ruins is similar to those of Machu Picchu, just on a much smaller scale. Many historians still argue whether the site was originally a monastery or a kick ass fortress built by a king who was afraid of retribution for taking the throne forcefully. Either way, as you scale the near vertical staircases around the mountain and climb between the giant lion paws carved into the rock, you can’t help but feel like you’re on a set straight from The Lord of the Rings. Then as you climb the final staircase to the small plateau dotted with ruined buildings and giant pools of water, you’re gifted with the biggest reward for partaking in this knee destroying climb, a 360 degree view over the central plateau of Sri Lanka.     For miles in every direction you can see the encroaching jungles, green rice paddies and small villages surrounded by the dominate silhouette of the hill country, a destination we were heading towards in the coming days. The ascent and decent of Sigiriya Rock, whilst taxing on the knees, is a great way to spend the morning and is well worth the visit. Try to avoid climbing during the middle of the day as the intense heat and limited shelter on the rock can take its toll. Sigiriya Rock is $25 per entry or is included in the Cultural Round Ticket. This post is part of the India and Sri Lanka: The Search for the Forgotten Tree blog series. Previous Post Ancient Ruins of Anuradhapura {Photo Junket} Next Post Coming Soon  ...