A Travellerspoint blog

Galle, Kandy and the little engine that couldn't....

good afternoon to all our readers, i hope you're all well.
we are currently sitting in a dinky little internet cafe in some side street of the lovely city of Kandy, we've been here a total of 2 days, with 3 more to go, but before i ramble on about Kandy i have to update you about our last few days in Galle.

i think Maddie got as far as last last Monday in Galle, so i suppose I'll start with Tuesday.
Tuesday was washed out, it rained all day, so we had another lazy day reading, watching the cricket (go the aussies) and just watching the rain come down. it might sound pretty miserable but it wasn't all bad, the rain really brings out the amazing colours of the wildlife and the landscape when the sun shines.
Wednesday was another day at the beach, lounging about in the water and on the sand. we started up the other end of unawatuna and walked around till we got back to the lovely imesh restaurant. maddie unfortunately got a splintr in her big toe from a mean rock, which caused a resonable amount of pain, but don't worry all is better now (almost) we got some lovely sunset photos of the beach that hopefully will be posted in the not to distant future.
Thursday was repeat of Tuesdays but without the short periods of sunlight. so once again it kept us indoors, except for a hour or so, when i braved the rain to tuk-tuk it into galle to do some shopping before aaron arrived. (also i had to purchase some more books for maddie, we've been away 20 days and she's read 12 books.) that afternoon aaron arrived back with his mother from thailand. But friday was when it all happened.

On friday we were up and out of the house early to go to kandy, the first part of our journey was very uneventful, we managed to get seats in second class for the 3hr trip to colombo. the scenery along the railroad was fantastic, lots of white sandy beaches and tropical forests plus lots of waving children. we got to colombo, but found out the the first class tickets were sold out, which was a bummer because there is an observation deck on that train, and amazingly so was second class, so we coughed up our 160rupees ($2) and braved it in 3rd class. it was an all in scramble, lots of pushing and shoving to get seats but we did (thank you maddie). the majority of the trip was relaxing and 3rd class isn't that bad. but things took a turn for the worst. the train broke down!!!! 10kms from Kandy. so we followed everyone out and up the bus shelters this short but nervy hike consisted of a 4m walk across a plank no bigger than my hand (and you know how small my hands are) which was made all the more worse by the damp conditions and rubber crocs. but we made it. we got the first tuk tuk we could and resumed our journey to kandy. we did get lost though, our driver was sure he knew the way, but didn't, so we ended with another 20min detour. We eventually arrived at our guest house 90 mins late but in one piece.

we've been in kandy for 2 days now, yesterday we walked alot, around Kandy and through the Udawattakelle Sanctuary, full of beautiful trees and foliage and lots of cheeky monkeys that enjoyed chasing after maddie. in the evening we went to the Kandyan Arts Assoc. & Cultural Center to see some traditional singing dancing and firewalking, Yes FIREWALKING, and not just hot coals either, full on flames, those crazy sri lankans. todays been uneventful forecast for lots of rain, so our plans to go the botanical gardens have been postponed, and since its sunday Kandy is very busy. one overwhelmingly good aspect of Kandy is the Food, its incredibly good and a lot more traditional than the western foods of unawatuna.

thats all for now, but i'm sure maddie will edit and add things i've forgotten.
Lots of Love
J

Posted by madandjaap 00:13 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (4)

sri lanka

hey everyone! sorry i haven't updated in a few days. we've been taking it slow.

lets see.. the last couple of days that we had in bangkok we pretty much spent sitting round reading, eating, playing cards and generally relaxing. we got some new books to read, put our photos on cd and then onto the blog, bought the new sri lanka lonely planet and some more pirated cds.

we left for the airport at 6pm on wednesday got through all the customs stuff fine and then waited around coz we were there so early! the plane took off about 11pm. unfortunately we were in the two seats that back on to the door, so we couldnt recline our seats, but the people in front of us reclined theirs right back into our faces. woohoo. i slept some, but james didnt at all. we got off the plane in colombo at bout 1.30am local time and then made our way through the airport to find the man with the sign! aaron had arranged a man with a van to pick us up. we got into his van and then started the 3 and a half hour trip to galle. the drive was long and windy and i did sleep a lot. it was kind of disorientating to keep waking up and having no idea where you were whatsoever.

anyway, finally made it to aaron's house at about 4.45am. the house is gorgeous. there isn't any glass on the windows, just bars. its all wooden and the gardens are beautiful and there are palm trees everywhere. anyway on thursday i slept a lot and then aaron made us delicious dinner.

aaron runs two businesses on his property, one a plant nursery and the other a ceramic pot company. so on friday we met aaron's business partner roshan and his employees. everyone is really nice. aaron called a friend of his, mandula, who lives around the corner and who drives a tuktuk and he took us into unawatuna beach. he dropped us off at roshan's mother's resteraunt which is right on the beach. this bay is absolutely gorgeous. think paradise and you are half way there. so we laid around on the beach, went for a swim, had lunch (james had tiger prawns), laid around some more and then raju who works at the resteraunt, and also has a tuktuk took us home. we watched a dvd (aaron has a big collection) and had a nice dinner.

yesterday we got up late, and mandula took us into galle in his tuktuk. it is gorgeous here, but you can still see wreckage and damage from the tsunami. aaron was building his office at the time and when the tsunami hit he took the building crews down to unawatuna and helped rebuild. the cricket ground is still under repair - :-( in galle we went to the bank, and then went for a drive around the fort. i'lll write more bout that when we've been there properly. we stopped quickly at the grocery store as aaron calls it and then came home for more relaxing.

aaron told us yesterday about the bombs here. we don't feel unsafe at all. we are very comfortable. but we will be and always are sensible.

aaron leaves tonight for thailand, to meet his mother who is flying in from the US and then they'll be back on thursday. on friday we are going to take a train to kandy, which is in the hills and then maybe another train to ella. we arent sure yet.

xoxox
miss you all so much
mad

Posted by madandjaap 22:47 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (6)

photos from bangkok

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traffic lights have numbers which count down the time to go! i love these things, and we should def have them in aus.

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there is so much traffic here. and people don't really mind the rules of one side of the road is for one way and the other is off limits.

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this is at the grand palace.

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isn't james the coolest?

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in front of the pagodas at wat pho.

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the reclining buddha at wat pho. it is so huge! and on the bottom of the feet is a mother of pearl mosaic.

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crazy busy market in chinatown

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woo! beer on khao san road!

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maddie on khao san road.

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going tuk tuk crazy!

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at wat arun. it's a cambodian inspired design.

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the view of bangkok from the golden mountain.

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new years eve party at the shanti lodge!

enjoy.
xox
mad

Posted by madandjaap 19:27 Archived in Thailand Comments (3)

bombs and bangkok

hi everyone
so to begin - we are fine. so if you were worrying - don't. ma - don't.

yesterday morning we got up and took a taxi to the train station and then the skytrain to chatuchak market. it was huge! i have photos from above it, the skytrain goes over it, so if we ever figure out the photo thing i can show you. it's like the queen vic market, only like 20 times the size and better stuff too. they sell everything. pretty much everything. art, clothes, souvenirs, clothes, lamps, puppies, fish, fishtanks, birds, bird cages, shoes, fountains, water features, kittens, squirrels, jewellery, stationary, electronics and more. the puppies were so cute, but at the same time so so so sad. the squirrels were just weird. we kinda just walked around and around without a clue. we did see this one stall with really cool arty stuff but then we lost it. we walked around and around and then found it! yay! i bought jessca and hannah presents from there. i couldn't resist the stuff was really cool, the guys were really nice as well they had an exhibition in tokyo and they are preparing for one in new york. oh the other thing we bought was some wooden puzzles coz the shanti lodge, where we are staying, had a new years party last night and they had a gift exchange. you had to buy and wrap a present worth at least 100 baht (3 bucks) and then we got to choose a number and it corresponded to a present. i got a nice little journal and james got... toiletries! the shanti lodge and my mother think alike.

the party was going well and i was dancing with the thai girls that work here and drinking beer with james coz we are real men. then this guy came in and started telling us and some other foreigners that he'd been watching cnn in the next guesthouse and that bombs were going off in bangkok. yeah. so that was a bit scary. anyway, he told the manager and she didn't seem so concerned. lots of people started looking it up on the net and reading about it kinda made me feel better. nothing seemed to be near us. we figured we would just stay here for the night, which we were probably going to do anyway. then the manager came up and said to be safe to stay here and stay away from all the crowds. so me and james went to bed. we only went upstairs to lie down for a second and then we were both asleep. whoops. so much for staying up till midnight. at midnight we did wake up and watch the fireworks from our window.

so today we sat around. i finished the 5th book i have read since we've been here. now i need a new one! then we decided to go back to the movies. it is so cheap to go gold class. we saw the holiday which i liked. james said it was corny, but thats why i liked it. now we're back here for dinner.

i've never been anywhere with real violence before. i don't feel unsafe. i guess i just feel unsettled maybe. it doesn't matter though coz we leave in just two sleeps. sri lanka - here we come!

happy new year, may it be filled with love, laughter, icecream, chocolate, stationery and fairy lights.

xox
mad

Posted by madandjaap 03:16 Archived in Thailand Comments (6)

and introducing.. even more bangkok!

so we didnt end up going out for dinner on thursday night, just ate here instead. the food is soo good and soo cheap! i could just sit around and eat all day.

yesterday we got up and had nice cold showers. they are horrible at first, i just feel like screaming, but by the end they are quite nice, refreshing. then we read for a while and then walked down to khao san road. we.. i can't realy remember what we did there, probably just looked in shops and ate thai donuts oh and james bought a top i think or was that another day but i know that when we got back i had a nap. i'm just really relaxed ok?!

anyway, last night we ventured out to patpong night market, notorious home of the pingpong shows. we were offered lots of shows, with menus including p***y write letter, p***y cut banana and lots more. needless to say we kindly refused the invitations. the market itself wasn't that interesting, mostly fake designer stuff, james did buy some pirated dvds and I bought a nose stud, its green and pretty but it was cheap so i don't know how long it will last. i liked walking up and down the street with the "sexy girl bars" and peeking inside the open doors. mostly girls in bikinis gyrating, looking very bored, though i did spot a few ladyboys. we tried to find somewhere to eat but couldn't find somewhere we liked so decided to take a taxi back to khao san. this turned out to be harder than we thought. we stopped about 5 taxis, but maybe because it was patpong, or because we are such tourists, they wouldn't turn on their meters. instead they offered to take us for 200 or 250 baht. with a meter on it should be about 70 baht. so we argued with a couple and then bargained with a very nice tuk tuk driver who agreed to take us for 100. man those tuk tuks go fast! it was so much fun, but james did think we were going to die. so at the end of the trip he gave the driver an extra 40 baht in gratitude for us not dying.

we had a rather bland dinner on khao san (mental note not to go back to that resteraunt) and then i had some pineapple on a stick and james had banana pancake covered in condensed milk and chocolate. it was so good. and so gone in 20 seconds. I barganied for and a bought a green bracelet and a very pretty blue top. we spied the new indonesian lonely planet but wanted to make sure it was the one we needed. we walked to a tiny bar near our guesthouse and had a couple of beers while listening to a really good jazz cover band. i had to drag james away though because very unlike me, i was falling asleep.

this morning we slept in late and had a leisurely breakfast before walking to golden mountain. it is an artificial hill created by rama someone and finished by rama someone else (oh yeah i am so learning history here!) it has lots of steps up and up and on the way there are these big bells which everyone rings as they go past. they make such a clanging noise that the whole way up its clang clang clang. lots of fun to make big noises!
the view was pretty cool, you could see heaps of bangkok, but with the sun being the sun and therefore pretty hot, and the steps being lots we were so drenched with sweat when we got up the top.

after that, james successfully navigated (no there wasn't one point where we thought we were completely lost until we saw a street sign and realised we were exactly where we were meant to be) us to tha tien pier, where we caught the ferry and visited wat arun or the temple of dawn, which we coud visit the other day because of james' lack of pants. (he was wearing shorts). it was very cool, huge points made from mosaics made from broken china.

caught the ferry back and then a cab back here. had some lunch and now just sitting round. bangkok is amazing but sometimes i feel like i could just sit and eat and read all day. life's hard ain't it?

tomorrow we are planning on getting up early and going to the chatuchak weekend market. our guesthouse is having a party for new years so maybe we'll stay here for that or else go down to khao san.

lots of hugs and kisses.
i miss you all, almost as much as i miss vegemite.
xo
mad

Posted by madandjaap 01:18 Archived in Thailand Comments (6)

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