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Sri Lanka

and Polonnaruwa

sunny 104 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

Who knows where Polonnaruwa is? We didn’t have a clue until we went there, and our trip was almost as long as the name. We docked at Trincomalee (another unfamiliar place) on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka and then travelled 2 ½ hours to the center of this country where there is a triangle of World Heritage sites. The other two are Anuradhapura and Sigiriya. They are all former capital cities of Sri Lankan kingdoms, and we called them the A-place, P-place, and S-place. The long trip was fascinating. We stopped to see a wild elephant drinking from a lake and a herd of small buffalo, essential to the economy of a region that produces buffalo curds. Hm. It took a long time, but having seen these lumps of white on roadside stands, we think that curds must be like mozzarella. The signs are no help. The official languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhalese and Tamil which have letters like this: සහල ජාතය.

Other wildlife fills the roads and parks: charming monkeys, fluttery butterflies, and scary cobras. The snake charmer below entranced his pets with his flute for a while until one got angry (didn’t like the tune?) and turned on him. The charmer then tossed one cobra around his neck and worked hard to get the disgruntled one back into its (small) box. The photos were taken from a considerable distance away.

The temperature that day was 104 degrees, and it was humid. Polonnaruwa’s ruins are vast and stretch over a wide area. After all, this was a city that flourished in the 12th century (same time as Angkor Wat in Cambodia). We saw amazing irrigation systems established by the construction of a mammoth lake (see below) with discharge carefully regulated so that the rice paddies can be flooded. Huge castles, huge Buddhas, many steps. Did I mention that it was hot? We stopped for lunch at the Deer Park Hotel and had huge Sri Lankan beers. We saw the former Temple of the Buddha Tooth Relic but we were slow so we had to give the Lotus Bath a pass. Shucks.


Posted by HopeEakins 06:06 Archived in Sri Lanka

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