A Travellerspoint blog

photos from sri lanka!

ok folks here is some of our photographic magic from sri lanka - it isn't all because there is another card we need to put on cd, but will do that when we get back to bangers.100_1690.jpg
the man with the sign!!

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unawatuna beach - about a 10 minute tuk tuk ride from aaron's house.

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palm tree at unawatuna

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unawatuna at night

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aaron's house!

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aaron's living room

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a monkey in kandy

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fire walking in kandy at the kandy dancers show

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taking the train

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at the elephant orphanage!

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elephants taking a bath!

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baby elephants playing!

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james at the botanic gardens

xoxoxo
mad

Posted by madandjaap 21:37 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (7)

flames, steps and elephants (again)

ok sorry for the delay but it is easy to get caught up and then be too tired!

i think i got up to sunday, which was... cooking course at Pad Thai Cooking School. we got up and they picked us up in one of those trucks with seats in the back and we were taken to one of the local markets to learn about vegies and herbs. there were about 14 people or so in the course, so we huddled around our teacher and she explained about lemongrass, thai eggplant, different kinds of ginger and i can't remember what else! she was very funny, every time someone pointed a camera at her she stopped mid-sentence, put her fingers up in the peace sign and said 'sexy!'. she then showed us some curry paste and how they make coconut milk.

after letting us roam around the market for a while, we were bundled back in the truck and taken about 20 minutes out of town to the cooking school. it was a big room with woks and stoves on one side, a tall table with stools in the middle and a low table with cushions on the other side. we learnt how to make pad thai, tom yum soup with prawns, spring rolls, green curry, chicken with cashew nuts and banana in coconut cream. it was all delicious! they made it really easy for us, everything was in seperate bowls and step by step instructions. the teachers were really funny, when we were crushing garlic with the side of our knifes she says, 'STANDBY' then.. 'SMASH!! SMASH!! IT IS YOUR EXBOYFRIEND!! HARDER!!' then when we were chopping something into small pieces 'FASTER!! FASTER!!'.

the other people in the course were pretty nice, lots of aussies, some czechs, some french, an american, a canadian, and some israelis. all in all the day was really good and not very expensive either. don't expect me to be cooking for any of you - james had kindly volunteered his skills though!

that night we went shopping at the night bazaar which wasn't as good as i had been expecting, so much of the same touristy stuff. james bought a singha t-shirt which i have claimed as mine, and a chelsea soccer top. he was very pleased. we took a tuk tuk home and organised for the driver to pick us up the next day at noon to take us to doi suthep.

so on monday morning we did a bit of shopping i think maybe.. it seems like a long time ago. anyway the tuk tuk picked us up and dropped us at chiang mai zoo, where we got a pickup truck to take us up a mountain where the temple of doi suthep is. the ride was horrible. twisting and turning while staring out the back of the truck. i felt so sick! so when we got to the temple i had to sit down for a while. then we tackled the 300 steps up to the temple. woohoo! the view of chiang mai was pretty cool but it was hot so we gambled and bought icecreams when the labels were in thai. i got a really nice coconut one but james got a weird mint/listerine one. haha.

anyway then we had a look round the temple - very pretty and back down the steps to another horrible ride down the mountain. yuk. then we grabbed another tuk tuk and went to central airport plaza - a big shopping centre. felt very western there. i bought a skirt and then we went back to julies for sleep.

on tuesday we had to get up bright and early because we were going trekking! i love that they call it that when you do barely any trekking type things. anyway, we got picked up in a minibus with 4 french peoples, and taken to an elephant camp. it didnt feel really good seeing the elephants chained up and then having to carry us, but we swallow our consciences and got on. woo! it was fun! it was a bit scary, hoping to not fall off, but we walked around for about an hour and took lots of photos.

after that we got back in the minibus and went to a village of a local hilltribe. it didn't really look like a village with homestay huts for overnight treks and a long stall with souvenirs set up but we saw roosters that they breed for fighting. we then set off for the trek part, up a hill bit and to a waterfall. really pretty. after james fell in (no not really) we trekked a bit more to field of soya plants, said hi to some buffalo and then to another hilltribe village. little girls about 6 or 7 years old ran up with bracelets made from cotton and seeds yelling '5 baht! 5 baht!'. it was a bit sad. after that we got back into the minibus and went to have lunch at a local restaurant. it was yummy, sweet and sour vegies, soup and potato curry. we chatted to some english people who are going to australia next. they were nice.

then we went to the pier for bamboo rafting! yay! we took off our shoes and valuables and sat down on this long raft made of bamboo sticks tied together and our driverman set off down the river. it was fun, your bum gets very cold and wet and the thai guy kept leaning his weight to one side so that you got drenched. he thought it was very funny.

after that we went back home. it was a really good day, but tiring. on wednesday we got up to do a bit more shopping and then pick up some laundry (yay! clean clothes!) and then get the train at 3.40pm. we'd only been able to get aircon tickets, but it wasn't very bad. we played dice and cards and then got some dinner from a really nice and funny thai guy. after that, we pulled out the beds and slept. apparently i threw my book at james' bum but i have no recollection of that whatsoever.

woke up early because the train was arriving at 6am, and got off the train and then left our bags at the left luggage stand and headed to khao san for breakfast. we had booked a room for that night but we couldnt check in till after 12. had breakfast, used the net a bit and then decided to see a movie. ah yes what we always do in bangkok when we are tired and have time to kill. we saw a thai documentary called Final Score, about 4 thai students doing year 12. it was pretty good, one scene i liked:
son: why do you guys love each other? what made you fall in love with mum, dad?
dad: some one farted on the boat.
son: was it you mum?
mum: dont be ridiculous!
hehehe.

anyway then we check in to donna guesthouse, very clean and nice, only 2 minutes from khao san. had some dinner, got another henna tattoo (butterfly - hey i'm trying to be a real khao san backpacker!) and went to bed. we had to get up early in the morning for the flight at 10:50. we got to the airport at 8 and checked in no problems. the flight was short and we got a taxi really easy to come here. khao lak sunset resort. it is strange staying a resort. you don't have to see any thai people besides in the reception and restaurant if you dont want to. weird. full of brown middle aged europeans wearing skimpy bathers.
last night we walked into town and bought some groceries and then had some dinner after a swim in the pool.

today we got up for free buffet breakfast (came with the room) and then james went for a swim and i read a while before coming to write this.

miss you all so much, under 3 weeks to go now

xoxoxo
mad.

Posted by madandjaap 17:48 Comments (2)

leaving sri lanka... :-( coming back to thailand... :-)

alright! last time i updated was in sri lanka i think. we spent our last taking priscilla (aaron's mum) out for lunch in galle. aaron was so busy with the opening of his showroom that she hadn't been out much. we were happy to take her, she is lovely. we went to a nice restaurant in galle fort and then walked around and looked at some really nice souvenir places that we must have missed before. we had brownies and icecream for dessert and then went back to aaron's to pack.

i don't like packing.

we had a light dinner of eggs and toast and then at about 7pm we said a sad goodbye to priscilla and the house and got into the van. we stopped at the showroom where aaron was still working to say goodbye. i must say that after we left i got a little teary.

the ride to colombo took about 4 hours, and we tried to sleep most of the way. got to the airport and checked in, and then had a coffee while we waited for our flight. we got on and ate dinner, and then tried again to sleep, but it was difficult. stupid economy class. arrived in the huge but corrupted and cracking new bangkok airport and lugged our bags up to the domestic level. we asked the lady at the information desk to point us to the airline which was cheap but didn't crash and she said air asia. we bought return flights to phuket, because that will make going to khao lak much much much easier. they weren't very expensive either. we then went to the top floor to have breakfast. god we were tired. that was about at 7.30am and our train didnt leave for chiang mai till 10pm.

we needed to book one night in bangkok for when we got back from chiang mai, and decided to try somewhere closer to khao san. we took a taxi into the city, and found a place called donna guesthouse. it looked really clean and quiet, so we booked and paid for one night. it is nice to know we have somewhere booked and organised. after that we jumped in a taxi - which is hard to do when it isn't pulled over and you have huge backpacks - and went to the station. they have left baggage storage there, so we left our big bags and went to find a post office. after much hassle, we finally found one near the station and a really nice guy helped us organise sending a package home. we've sent it to james' house because it contains many presents and we don't trust my house with it!

after that, we went to mahboonkrong - a huge shopping centre - and watched a movie - night at the museum. it was the only thing on! and we were stuffed.

anyway, then we did some shopping and trundled back to the train station. after some time on the net, a guard told us to get on the train, even though it was only about 8.40pm. we did, and the train was really cool. two bunks on top of each other, i had top, james had bottom. we had pillows and a towel blanket thing and a curtain that pulled across the bed. and a fan!

we fell asleep ok and i slept pretty well, except that they didn't turn the lights off so when i did wake up i was really disorientated and couldn't figure out the time. james had a window and i didn't. james didn't sleep that well, he kept banging his head. poor thing.

anyway, we woke up about 8 am and i scooched down into james bed and we watched the thai countryside fly by. a thai guy came through selling breakfast, which was toast eggs ham and butter and juice. it was ok. after that we folded the bottom bed into seats and read the rest of the way.

the first thing we did when we got into chiang mai was buy tickets home. but we could only get airconditioning, which we've heard makes it too cold. oh well we'll just have to wait and see.

then we jumped into a tuk tuk (much bigger than sri lankans ones) and got to julie's guesthouse. it was really nice, pretty big and we opted for a superior room (bout 5 bucks more) so we had our own bathroom and really nice mattress. the walls are painted really nice. and the place has a restaurant and a lovely back garden to eat in. and a free pool table!

that arvo we were just really tired so we ate and read and slept. oh and coco (the thai guy at reception) helped us book a 1 day cooking course and a 1 day "wimps" trek.

the next day we got up and decided to just have a walk around the city. first stop was a bookshop (as always) and we bought a really cool nancy chandler's map of the city. it was really helpful and pointed us to a couple of gorgeous shops, in which i bought some presents for some people! yay! chiang mai has a much different atmosphere to bangkok. there are lots of tourists here and lots of guesthouses but it all seems much more relaxed somehow.

that night we'd arranged to have dinner with maddie o'hare - dad's friend pat o'hare's daughter. she lives in chiang mai, just about to move to bangkok but has been living here for about 4 years. she is english and about 28 i think. we met here at the tha pae gate, she was a bit late so we looked around in the market for a while and bought some new playing cards. when we met her she suggested a really really good vegetarian restaurant. we had a really great time with her, she was so nice. after dinner we went to a rooftop bar and had some drinks. we didn't stay out too late because we had to be up early on sunday for the cooking course.

my fingers are sore from typing so much! i'll finish this tomorrow in bangkok, and i'll post some photos then too.

hope everyone is well.
love love love
mad

Posted by madandjaap 03:12 Comments (9)

mirissa!

hey guys. so we're back in galle at aaron's house, and i'd better catch you up on how mirissa was.

we took the 2pm train there on thursday last week, which was full of school kids who stared at us the whole way. we got off at weligama and grabbed a tuk tuk to ocean moon, our guesthouse. it consisted of a house set back from the beach, and then 9 cabanas set towards the beach. a cabana is just a freestanding room with a bathroom. and a table and chairs out the front. ours was about 20 metres from the beach.

the beach was so beautiful. so peaceful. not very long, but really nice sand and nice waves, big but not scary. we went for a swim and then had dinner at our guesthouse.

the next morning we got up early and went for a swim. we had such fun jumping the waves and diving under the big ones. the beach was great because it was really shallow, you had to walk out really far for it to get deep. then we went next door to mirissa beach wadiya restaurant and had a big breakfast of fruit, tea, eggs, and lots of toast. we sat and watched the waves break. heaven.

after that we had to take a tuk tuk into matara, the nearest big town. we went to the bank and discovered the annoyance of 2000 rupee bills, and visited the bookshop and the supermarket.

back to mirissa for more swimming and eating and general lying around reading. for dinner we walked down to a restaurant called seafresh. at about 6pm all the restaurants pull their tables and chairs down onto the sand and serve dinner there. its so cool. james loved the food at seafresh, because they literally catch the food that afternoon.

the next day was just filled with lots more swimming and reading and eating and then more swimming. we made friends with a guy who worked at the place next door, he is a surfer and is saving up to go to bali. he organised for his brother to take us out on his boat to go snorkelling. we could rent snorkels from the restaurant.

so on sunday morning we rocked up and were taken in a tuk tuk to a fishing harbour and jumped in this guys boat. needless to say, he didn't speak any english except hello. another guy got in too, and they took about 20 minutes to get the boat going. the water was amazing. so clear and beautiful and the scenery is just gorgeous. palm trees everywhere and everything is so green and lush. we passed a couple of fishing boats, including one with about 15 guys hanging off it. we stopped near some rocks and jumped out to snorkel. the fish are really cool and james had never gone snorkelling before so he loved it. the men pulled us back into the boat with some difficulty, we are such awkward white people. i got a big bruise under my arm from falling over in the boat.

then we went for more just cruising around and james was even allowed to steer! woo! we stopped at this tiny tiny little bay which had purple sand! it was really dark purple up the top and then lighter towards the water and then it mixed with all the yellow sand. james did more snorkelling, but my mask broke. the guys tried to fix it but made it super small so i wore it for a while and then had deep red outlines around my face. so cool.

after showing us some shells and crabs, the guys took us back to the harbour. we then went to the brothers house and had a fanta with the family. really nice people. after that we went home and i slept a lot. i'd caught a cold. my throat was hurting so bad and i had big bad headaches. james had dinner by himself at seafresh while i slept.

the next day i felt better, but not great, so while james swam i ate and read. i slept more and we had a late lunch next door. i felt ok at dinner so we went and had dinner at seafresh, where i forgot to mention but they have this huge bonfire on the beach every night. really cool.

the bad thing about mirissa was the flies and mosquitos. everywhere all the time so many of them! arrgh! and the sand. we tracked sand everywhere, in the bathroom, in the bed, all through our clothes and hair.

anyway, on tuesday we took a train from matara. the slow train. it was practically empty but it wasnt that slow between station. but it stopped for like 20 minutes at each station. we didnt mind, we weren't in a rush and it is so much fun to hang out the side of the train and wave at everyone going past.

so we arrived back at aaron's house about 2pm yesterday. he is really really busy because he is opening a showroom/shop for his businesses tomorrow, so there is lots to be done. priscilla (aaron's mum) came back from the showroom and we took her down to the beach for a drink and some snacks before dinner.

last night i was really tired so i went to bed straight after dinner.
i miss everyone lots. everyone should comment on this entry, i want to know who is reading!

xoxoxo
love
mad

Posted by madandjaap 18:52 Comments (4)

kandy.. in which our heros see elephants and monkeys

hey everyone

yesterday, we got up early and missed the lovely breakfast of pineapple, yoghurt, eggs and toast that our guesthouse puts on, and took the 7am train to Rambukkana. it was a nice train ride, we were in second class which was pretty empty.

when we got to rambukkana, we took a tuk tuk to.. the ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE! it cost 1000 rupees to get in, which is the foreigner price - about $12 - but for a local it costs about 50 rupees. we trudged up the hill and then encountered 70 elephants just standing round, being elephants. the orphanage started with 5 elephants, but keeps the babies that are born there as well as taking in orphans who have been abandoned. we were urged by the sri lankan men working there to touch the elephants and have photos with them, which was followed by a demand for a tip! i touched a big manly elephant and a baby one that only had one ear after it was attacked by a predator and abandoned. it's name is pandu. after looking at them all, we went down to feeding at 9.15am, which is where they had two babies chained up and they feed them milk from bottles. they are so interesting to stare at. then at 10am, the elephants are lead down the main st of pinnawala, past all the many many souvenir shops, to the river. the river isnt very deep, but it is very wide. we watched them all trundle into the river, all 70 of them. some of them just stood around, while others lay down. james had particular fun watching three tiny babies playfight with each other. some of the elephants walked across to the other side of the river and climbed up the bank which was very amusing to watch. it was so strange being so close to so many of these amazing creatures!

after watching them for an hour and a bit we walked back up the street and did some souvenir shopping. we hadn't really done any real souvenir shopping till then so james bought a present for his mum and one for alex and i got a really super cool, super touristy sri lanka t-shirt. we also bought another memory card for the camera.

after that we took yet another tuk tuk back to rambukkana station and caught the train back to kandy. it was really full so we had to stand up, which wasnt that bad actually. there was a nice old sri lanka woman who showed us the best way to stand and then me and james amused the other passengers with our stupid games. the scenery is beautiful too.

we got back to our guesthouse very tired and hot, so after a shower and some reading and cards, we decided to have dinner at a resteraunt about 3 doors down from where we were staying. it was nice, but very empty, it's strange being the only people in the place.

then on tuesday, we got up to the sound of lots of children yelling and crying. our guesthouse is 3 floors, the top two being rooms and the ground floor is a preschool. and tuesday was the first day of the school year so there were some unhappy campers. we had a lovely breakfast and then grabbed a tuk tuk to the botanic gardens, which are about 6 kms from kandy. they are beautiful. they are the biggest in sri lanka and we saw some really strange and cool plants. things like cannonball trees, lots of palm trees including double coconut palms, sausage trees, rubber trees, a javan fig tree which covers an area of 1600 sq ms. we also saw a group of monkeys, who james wanted to watch play all day. i finally dragged him away when some of them began to run at us. we took some interesting photos.. and then took a tuk tuk back. we went to rams for lunch, the indian resteraunt we had dinner at the other night. wrote some postcards and had really yummy food - vegetarian thali, rice, roti and 7 little dishes with samples of curry and veg and chutney and yoghurt. then we went to the internet cafe and the bookshop.

that night we ventured across to the temple of the tooth, where they supposedly have buddha's tooth. it wasn't that interesting, lots of people and you don't get to see the tooth. you just get ushered past a doorway where you can glimpse the thing that is holding the tooth. which is supposedly just a replica anyway.

we went to bed early coz on wednesday we had to get up early for the 6.30am train. we'd booked tickets on the intercity express, so we had reserved seats in second class. i had lots of fun sticking my head out the window and waving to all the sri lankan people we went past.

we got to colombo station, where everyone is really helpful, whether you need help or not! we got second class tickets on the next train to galle - 9.30am, about an hour wait - and then as the train was pulling up a deaf man showed us where to wait and then jumped on and grabbed seats for us. he then asked for a donation to the school for the deaf where he works, which we gave willingly coz he was really nice and funny. i hope he's legit, he showed us id and seemed ok.

so on the train i finished my 15th or so book and had to start james' book. we were going backwards the whole time and it was very bumpy. when we arrived at galle we were asked by so many guys f we needed a tuk tuk, but we'd called mandula and asked him to pick us up. he came and then we went to a hotel near the beach and picked up aaron's mum, priscilla, who'd been having lunch and we squeezed in the tuk tuk back here. we lazed around last night, aaron made yummy dinner and i fell asleep early.

today we are taking a 2pm train to weligama, and from there a tuk tuk to mirissa. i don't know what the internet situation is down there so if you don't here from us (on the blog) for 5 days thats why.

xoxo
miss everyone lots and lots
mad

Posted by madandjaap 00:51 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (2)

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