The 5 more things I hate about Sri Lanka.
6 • The Ancient Wall Art
If it was not because of artist Jagath Jayasooriya, I don’t think I would able to appreciate Sri Lanka’s ancient painting. After viewing the wall paintings on the Sigiriya rocks, I decided to visit Dambulla Cave Temple and Temple of Sacred Tooth.
The Dambulla Cave Temple virtually is a museum, full with buddha statues and wall paintings. The paintings were like wallpaper covering the caves. I read that they date back to the 1st century BC, and were repaired and repainted in the 11th, 12th, and 18th century AD. Some statues were pretty spooky to see if you’re alone in the cave. But well … I don’t think it would happen as the caves were usually crowded with tourists.
Temple of Sacred Tooth is the most sacred temple of Sri Lanka, located in the cultural city Kandy. The design of paintings in the temple was interesting. Of all I like the painting with two men pulling each other hair the most!
7 • The Street Food
Street food can be found at transport hubs, beach side and around school area. You can’t miss hoppers (bowl shape pancake), Kottu (mixed roti, vegetables and meat), isso vadei (deep fried lentil cakes with or without seafood on top), samosa (a deep fried triangular pastry with spiced vegetable or meat filling), and chickpea salad (mainly with nuts and chillies).
Many times I got my food wrapped with used paper. It could be from student exercise book, examination paper, government letter, application form etc. You might think it’s not hygienic, but hey it’s a good peek to their life!
My favourite food in Sri Lanka was buffalo curd (similar to greece yogurt). Usually eat with liquid palm sugar. Traditionally it was made in clay pot. Only later I saw some sold in plastic tubs, just like how yogurt been sold. I think it wasn’t as good as the traditional clay pot version.
My favourite dessert? Mixed fruit salad with ice-cream on top! Absolutely wonderful when you’re exhausted under hot sun.
One food that I’d rather not to try was betel leaf. From bus driver to monk, Sri Lankan males love chewing betel leaf! To me, the sight of a red-mouth betel chewer is quite horror to see.
Above shown pictures of a shop that offers cheap eats. Certain shops provide chairs for customers. Most of them are without table. It’s definitely the place to go if you want your travel budget to be rock-bottom. A small plain hot tea costs Rs 15. A delicious coconut pancake (grated coconut cooked with palm sugar, wrapped in a turmeric infused crepe) costs Rs 20. The bill of this light breakfast is Rs35. Less than USD 0.30!
8 • The Ceylon Tea
I knew Ceylon tea before I came to know the country Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan prefers to have it hot, with spoonfuls of sugar and hot milk. There are countless brands here, other than the usual Lipton and Dilmah.
Go for tea even you’re a coffee drinker! Because finding good coffee in Sri Lanka is bound to be disappointed. You’ll never go wrong with tea, whenever you go in Sri Lanka.
Talking about strolling the scenic Sri Lankan tea plantations. Don’t miss Lipton’s seat! It’s located near Dambatenne Tea Factory, 11 km away from Haputale town.
For me, it was unbelievable to be at that spot, standing at where Sir Thomas Lipton used to be and viewing his empire. I can’t help but imagine what he was thinking with such view.
9• The Endless Beaches
Sri Lanka is definitely the place to escape to tropical beaches. Golden sand or white sand. You can rarely travel any part of the coast for long without spotting any stunning stretch of sand.
Where’s the best beach in Sri Lanka? I have been to beaches in Negombo, Unawatuna, Mirissa, Tangalle, Trincomalee and Batticaloa. My favourite was Tangalle Beach which is at the southern coast of the island. I felt the vide was just right for me.
Surfing is a big hit too. The best place for it should be the surf mecca Arugam Bay. But Weligama, Hikkaduwa or Midigama could be your choice depending on the season. Non-surfer like me can just watch surfers in action by the beachside.
Negombo beach is where locals like to frequent. Probably it is near to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. But I didn’t expect to see the beach was packed with people in the evening! Families having picnics. Teenagers and toddlers playing games in the warm water. This could stay on till late night. A brilliant idea for some who don’t want to deal with the hot sun!
The first fisherman that I spoke to, was a tsunami survivor. He was about to depart to the sea when I asked him for route direction. I can’t recall how we ended up with the topic of tsunami. Listening to his story, it was hard to believe the calm beach was a mass disaster more than 10 years ago!
Because of his gripping narrative, I felt melancholy each time I saw a fisherman.
Once I was on a viewpoint overlooking the Bay of Bengal, there was a view of some venerable sampans (small basic boats) heading towards the roaring sea. To think how someone could risk life to bring food to our plate … yet I knew, for people who live on the coast of this island, fishing could be the only choice to earn a living.
My tribute to them. The unsung heroes.
Read here for the part 1 of this post.