Tuesday, December 31, 2019


I am not sure why but I expected more out of Kandy. I mean who doesn't like Kandy right? It was pleasant enough with its old colonial buildings, cool air and the surrounding mountains. The lake in the middle of town was a very pleasant 3.5 KM daily walk (I sound like a 90 year old dude, such a pleasant walk). Personally I liked the Victoria Station Pub the best point of interest.

Don't get me wrong, all was not lost. There are some nice sights here and plenty to see and do. There were quality city viewpoints, The Temple of the Tooth which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha and yes a big ass Buddha overlooking it all. For such a small town it sure makes a lot of noise, especially the buses. I find that I am not taking as many pictures as I used to. I can find a shot here an there so share on this blog, but other than that, meh! I don't like pulling my camera out at every possible instance anymore. I think this is an excellent evolution.

The Queens Hotel, 200 years old
The viewpoint looking back into town
Nice Green Parrots mixed in with the pigeons and a massive crow
Cool Shot
The Big Old Buddha
Temple shit. I am officially Templed out.

I have a thing for cemeteries.  I find them fascinating and educational. To those who know this about me just put another tick on the "dude, what?" side of the ledger. In Kandy there is the incredibly interesting British Garrison Cemetery. I learned so much from a short 30 minute visit.

It is small and tucked in behind the very famous Temple of The Tooth, which bored me silly. There are a couple of caretakers who you had to find and have a chat with. My luck, they were both there resting in the shade after their lunch. Each was quick to say hello and eager to tell the stories and history of the place.

A few facts:There are 163 graves with 450 bodies. Families would often be buried together.
Of all the graves only 11 people lived had lived over 50 years.
Most had died of either Malaria or Cholera. Remembering that 200 years ago this place was all jungle. However the British being who they were pulled flowers from the jungle and put them into pots around their homes. They constantly watered these flowers (even though it was the jungle with lots of rain) and all the standing water was a breeding ground for mosquito. The infant mortality rate was incredibly high, over 70% of children did not live to their third birthday

There are only five who are buried that did not die of natural causes. One was killed by an elephant. Another had jumped from his horse and impaled himself on sharp stick. Two died when the roof of their house collapsed on them and one poor sucker was hit in the head with a cricket ball. The last person buried was in 1951. This was a brutal place to be assigned and live as a soldier. It would have been unimaginable as a civilian family.

Cemeteries can give you more of an education then you can imagine. Visit one that is random and out of the way and wander around. You might be surprised at what you discover.

I hike up to the Big Buddha Temple and yes siree, it was a big ass Buddha. There were a few monkeys for a bit of Asian ambiance a a nice view back across the city. The temple was free to enter and enjoy but signs and people encouraging "donations" whenever you stopped was a bit annoying. This type of thing you have to take in stride or travelling with kill ya. Western ATM syndrome.

In the Buddhist tradition, karma refers to action driven by intention which leads to future consequences. Why talk about Karma, well let me tell you. I was following the signs to buy my ticket for the "Temple of the Tooth". I checked my shoes for a small "donation", because dirty feet are more respectful than dirty shoes or socks. I lined up in the Men's security line and with a quick wave of the wand off I went. The sign up ahead said entrance so I guess I buy my ticket there. Nope, it was then entrance and nobody was checking anything. Now, what am I suppose to do? Keep going of course. I figured that I have been overcharged for so many things while traveling, Buddha decided to reward my patience and he wanted me to enjoy the Temple compliments of  him. So I did.

There were some nice glittering rooms of gold and silver and I loved the historical aspect of it. The place was more like a hotel or castle than a "temple" that I have been use to experiencing.  It was a nice place to spend some time. Working my way back I came to the "entrance" from which the trip started. There were 2 smiling old dudes checking tickets for those about to enter. Again, thanks for putting these guys on coffee break when entered Buddha. You are cool. Smiling at my little victory and feeling pretty good about myself I headed past security to retrieve my shoes. Then I saw it!  The simple sign exploded in front of my eyes with the works "If you did not pay for your ticket, Buddha knows". Freaking Buddha was not rewarding me, he was testing me. I dropped a 1000 Rupee note into the next donation box I found.

The night view from my room of the big ass Buddha
Entrance to the Temple Of The Tooth
Street vendors hogging the walkway
Street vendors hogging the walkway
Just a Fountain beside the Temple

I spent four days and nights in Kandy. You don't need any more than two. The town is basically a gateway south to Ella and to Sigiriya and the culture triangle of Sri Lanka to the North. I will have to experience both on my next trip. Sri Lanka and Southern India sounds like a wonderful idea.

My time in Sri Lanka is winding down. There is a 4 hour bus trip to Negombo where I will spend 3 nights just winding down in the old fishing village. It is close to the airport and where most people start or end their trip in Sri Lanka. I will spend my time researching and preparing for my next destination, Myanmar. Tonight there are fireworks in the town for New Years Eve 2020. I will grab a few cans of Lion Beer and head down to the lake to enjoy it. A nice way to close 2019.

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