Adventures in the Teardrop of India

10:41 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

When we were looking at options to get to the Maldives, the best (and cheapest) way was to fly through Colombo in Sri Lanka.  As I thought about our 10 day holiday, I realised it would be better for our pocketbooks and perhaps Paul's sanity if we didn't spend the whole time in tropical paradise as planned.

So, after we found ourselves appropriately tanned, well rested and through a few books, we left the Maldives for completely different type of adventure in Sri Lanka.

I was lucky enough to have a co-worker from the area, which made the whole idea even more possible, as I could easily justify why we should be there. She also helped us get in touch with local travel agents who could put together a driver for us and suggest some of the best sites to see and itineraries.

"Highway" stall selling veggies - these were everywhere

Despite all the insider knowledge given to me, I was still surprised by Sri Lanka in a few different ways.

It is one of the most lush countries I have ever been too - every inch not occupied by humans or other structures, seemed to be covered in trees, bushes or other plants. The rolling hills also helped to add to the landscape of all the green, as green valleys and peaks would go as far as the eye could see.

Sri Lanka version of the Hollywood sign - for a tea plantation

On the other hand, it is probably one of the least developed countries I have been too. Even in Kenya, they had highways spanning the country to take tourists from one reserve to the other. In Sri Lanka, they just finished the first highway in the country, and it's only in the capital city Colombo. Since we spent most of our time in Kandy to the north, we spent hours on little back road, one lane highways clogged with tuk-tuks, cars, buses and even large cargo trucks. This is where the driver comes in handy - it seems to be you honk your horn 20 times in frustration, zoom around the car, repeat the process until you're out from behind whoever started the slow down. Then repeat 1 mile later.

The imfaous tuk-tuk

 Much of this is due to the civil war that spanned 27 years in Sri Lanka's not too distant history.  In 1983, the conflict began with insurgents, the Tamils, trying to create an independent state. For nearly 3 decades, the war continued, with 80,000-100,000 people killed and an unsuccessful ceasefire until the Tamil leader finally admitted defeat in 2009. Needless to say, this history left a mark on the development of Sri Lanka.

But, progress is underway and who knows where Sri Lanka will find itself in a few years. Hopefully a few roads richer, with all the charm you find today of road stands with king coconuts, little monkeys roaming around and lots of history, both good and bad.

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