I’ve never walked on hot coals before, never really felt the need to be honest. Today was the closest I’ve ever been and it’s not my favourite thing.
The day started at 0400 when our traveling companions arrived at least 12 hours later then planned due to flight delays and missed connecting flights as a consequence. I didn’t get up to greet them, I was woken by the noise of their arrival and it gave me an inner peace to relax and go back to sleep. Not quite as quick as Rich, who upon hearing the me say they had arrived replied with a “oh good, zzzzzzz” in the same sentence.
At 0630 I woke to check out the stunning sunrise, sadly I was very disappointed as there was nothing to see apart from clouds. Even the balcony seemed to be in the clouds!
We had a 10am breakfast in our apartment, a local style breakfast which included egg hoppers (thin rice bowls with eggs inside them) and a Dahl curry which was very tasty. There was also lots of fresh fruit and juices, a great start to the day.
We then loaded the vehicle with our bags and got ready for our journey. It’s approx 3 hours to Dambulla caves but we will be fine in our air con chariot. The journey starts off quite slowly and it’s not long before we start passing rice fields, this is the point when I asked the weirdest question I think I’ve ever asked. “At some point on the journey today do you mind if we pull over and look at some rice?” The answer is obviously yes as nothing it too much trouble here. After a short while we pull over and look at some rice, it’s interesting to see it close up, I’ve never been this close to it before. I obviously mean in it’s natural form, I am no stranger to a curry house, you don’t get chubby eating salad.
A little further up the road we find a really nice rice field with a temple next to it, the driver pulls over and offers to stop, it’s at this point I realise they’ve unlocked a hidden rice fetish I was totally unaware of, how weird.
Whilst stopped we walk by some children waiting for a bus, both girls and boys dressed head to toe in white, and I mean white, something Daz the washing powder would be proud to use in their adverts. They are dressed ready for Sunday school apparently, way smarter than kids in the UK.
We eventually arrive at the Dumbulla Cave Temple and our driver let’s us out, making sure we are dressed ready for our temple excursion. Shoulders covered and trousers or sarongs for all.
1500 rupees each later and we are ready to walk up the crazy amount of steps to get to the top. Seems like the didn’t like building temples on the flat low Ground. We have our friends 70 year old mother with us so we are going up at a pretty steady pace, I’m not complaining, it’s pretty hot today. On the way we pass two stalls that are selling the same T-shirt’s and trousers with elephants on. I wonder how many they actually sell.
Once we arrive at the top we are shepherded over to an area to place our footwear, for 25 rupees a local guy will store your flip flops, sounds a lot but it’s only about 12p. We then have to walk over to the temple area to have our tickets checked. It was at this moment I really wished I knew how to levitate, the floor is thermal nuclear hot, like crazy hot, I swear my soles are blistering. Creeping around like inspector clueso from the pink panther movies but on fast forward.
We manage to make it to the entrance, but we still have to get through the court yard to the cave entrances. We carefully plot out a route with the vein hope that it won’t be as bad, wrong! It’s just as bad and now I’m a little angry. Once inside the big cave temple it is worth some of the pain, I totally recommend going but just take some socks. I can’t help feeling there is a massive gap in the market here for someone selling socks, temple socks, I’d totally pay for some of them right now and I don’t think I’m alone. I think I will suggest the business model to the T-shirt guys on the way back.
I’m not looking forward to the journey back to the flip flop safe zone, I wonder if I feigned injury they would carry me out?
Once back at the van we head off for lunch, burning feet gives you an appetite. We get the driver to take us for some local food and we are not disappointed, it’s always full of flavour.
We then head up to Sigiriya, some more crazy driving and interesting sights along the way.
As we drive into our hotel driveway I get a sinking feeling I’ve just seen the big rock you said there was a view of and now we are under trees! We drive up and the reception is a desk outside, I try and remain calm but when we are told that we can’t have a drink whilst we wait to check in because the place they get drinks from is 20mins away I find myself getting annoyed. It seems that you can call yourself a spa here and also say food and drink is available despite all three things being 20 min drive away, false advertising at its best. We get our driver to take us to the next hotel.
After some clever bartering by our friends, I find myself sipping Pina Colada whilst overlooking the pool and gazing at the impressive Lions Rock, this is more like it.