Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sri Lanka 2016: Three Things

It has been some time since I've blogged - I've been busy recuperating from the topsy-turvy time back at my old job. There's simply nothing better to "cleanse the system" than a holiday.

So when a friend asked me 2 months ago, "would you like to go Sri Lanka?" I dived at the opportunity.  I mean my boyfriend's half Sri Lankan, and I used to work on the Sri Lankan Tourism Board accounts which really made me wonder about the place. It's not a destination that one immediately calls to mind, especially when they tout their beaches and heritage sites as a big draw.

1) Sri Lanka is a workout

I have never exercised as much as I did before going to that place. Even with a private driver to ferry us around this vast hilly land, I find myself walking and climbing more than any other holiday I've taken.

Temples are mostly on top of an endless flight of stairs. Understandably so, since the mostly-Buddhist country has not just beautiful naturally occurring caves and rock outcrops, Buddhists also believe in seclusion for meditation just as Buddha himself did.

The mere mortals like us - it's 200m worth of steps up. For more unfit individuals like myself, it felt more like 1297183788384234m worth of torture.

Trying to get down the boulders was a certifiable challenge at Pidurangala Rock. It felt like a Lara Croft Tom Raider Walkthrough in real-life. #achievementunlocked

The moment where I go "Does my travel insurance cover accidents like this?"

When the number of stairs make you see stars early in the morning.

I've officially reached my climbing quota for the entire trip when we had to climb yet another set of endless stairs to reach the top of the Cave Temple in Dambulla later that afternoon.

2) You can see so far that your eyes hurt

In Singapore, due to high-rises and skyscrapers, you don't really get to see the sky. It's one of my many regrets, especially since I'm a sucker for a fully lit night sky.

But day after day, I had views that take my breath away literally, and was greeted with the sense of immense respect for the vastness of the land that we take for granted. We had to work for the view (muscle aches were part of the package) but at the end of the day, you could say that it was worth every bead of sweat.

Nothing beats a sky filled with stars, a landscape full of trees and a peak bursting with clouds.

The best things come for free.

Winds were so strong, I had to have a model moment at the peak of the Cave Temple

4.5hours drive to the highlands and this place's views can rival that of Europe.

One of the many waterfalls we see in the highlands.

3) The best things in life are shared

From drinking Coconuts, to enjoying dinner, I'm grateful to have gone with 2 awesome companions who are the most easy-going and forgiving folks that I've ever travelled with. I admire their determination for climbing Adam's Peak at 2am in the morning and still make it to work the next day (a round of applause please).

I think without their help, I would have never enjoyed the view on top of Pidurangala Rock, nor awe at the sights near Adam's Peak. I would have never opened my eyes to another side of travelling - that it is okay to compromise comfort (and lay in a night's worth of bedbugs) because some experiences make such a deep impression, they become imprints that you carry for life.

It has truly been magical, and once again, thanks for getting my fat ass up and down the bloody Rock at 5am in the morning. Thanks for the many pictures and fond memories!

You guys rock....and durian.

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