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.
miss everyone lots and lots