• Day75

    D75 Sri Lanka - Habarana

    September 17, 2019 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Up at 6am, and my first thought was ‘how on earth am I going to get back into the routine for work’. Pushing that thought of the trip ending aside, we showered, ate more delicious breakfast buffet (egg hoppers) and negotiated a tuk tuk for the morning adventures. Ananda’s teeth were stained red and black from chewing the addictive beetle nut. Flying along, a quick head tilt saw a stream of dark liquid spew from his mouth. Delightful.

    Ananda was a great driver, taking the time to point out buddhist monuments on the roadside, he gave us a couple of fallen woodapple fruit (incredibly sour and madd my mouth floury) and pointed out wild peacocks and black faced monkeys as we whizzed by at a peak speed of 43km/h.

    We arrived at Sigiriya (Lion Rock), Ananda escorted us to the foreigner ticket booth (it’s exxy... $30usd each) and we set off toward the rock protruding from the surrounding landscape. Built by a king in about the 5th century as a fortified palace adorned with frescos, it is now a key tourist destination in Sri Lanka’s central ‘dry zone’. It features steep, narrow steps all the way up, dropping onto steel pathways bolted into the side of the rock. Halfway up, as you hit a vertical incline, you come across two giant lions feet, part of a grande entrance of a lions face, giving rise to the rock’s name.
    There were signs leading up to this point indicating that wasp nests were in the area, and that should a wasp attack occur, no refund would be provided. How reassuring! Hanging high on the rocky face lay numerous large nests. We walked up the stairs on our tippy toes in an attempt as to not scare them.
    On the very top of the rock, we sat down to soak up the views. A minute later we hear this French lady scream towards a yoinks posing Korean girl, “Stop! I’ve told you before (with a tone of ‘you idiot’), there is a snake.” We spotted the thin, long snake with a green stripe down it’s back sitting on the edge of a set of stairs.
    On our return to the tourist car park where our driver would be waiting, there was a snake charmer throwing (ok, placing) huge pythons onto unsuspecting tourists’ shoulders. He also had three cobras in their little wicker circular houses.

    After our hike up to the top, we asked our driver if he could take us to the neighbouring rock, which is only $4 or so to hike up. He agreed, at no additional charge. This tuk tuk was a bargain!
    The hike up was a little tougher, more polluted and a far less travelled trail. At the entrance there is a huge decorated leaning Buddha about 5m long inside what was a rocky overhang before it was bricked in. Along the way there was a second leaning Buddha, this one much larger and more impressive, measuring some 20m long. The trail then became a rock hopping, shimmying and climbing adventure to the summit, which was a large granite scalp with a few patches of vegetation. The plants were interesting;
    succulents that one would buy as a house plant back in Australia.

    Reaching the bottom, we grabbed ourselves and our driver a coke, then returned to the hotel for an afternoon by the pool.
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