MG quotes of the day… “so that is what the lime is for…” and later, "I am not the only one trying to keep my eyes open".

For the first time since arriving in Sri Lanka, we are cold during the night.  We both require the additional blankets provided and I even keep my "feets" covered (and if you really know me, you'll know that is a pretty rare event).  We agree to a 8:30 departure and after a delish breakfast at the Teabush Hotel, we are on our way to Kandy.  One comment about the yummy fruit tray included in our breakfast…for days we have been enjoying these fruit plates, but sending back the papaya almost untouched, as it tastes like cheese-feet (no exaggeration).  Finally, with the help of our guide book, we read that we are supposed to add a squeeze of fresh lime juice to our breakfast papaya (and I just assumed they added the lime for colour or decoration or something).  The lime is very effective in eliminating the cheese-feet taste and allowing the sweet taste of the papaya to dominate (lesson learned – for the remainder of the trip we eat our entire plate of fruit!).


Drying tea leaves

We stop once along the way to Kandy at a Sri Lankan Ceylon Tea Factory (our Driver stopped at Glenloch, but the process is apparently similar in the other surrounding tea estates).  The tour is extremely quick, but it gives a decent overview of the tea making process - from the drying of leaves to the sorting and packaging of the final product.  I enquire and learn that Sri Lanka exports 60% of the tea that it produces.  I would have preferred a more detailed tour to take away a better understanding of the process differentiators for each unique type/grade of tea... but I suppose not everyone is a tea granny that wants to hear all about the tea process.  Post tour, we enjoy a complementary cup of tea and watch as other tourists line up to buy various kinds of tea from the estate shop.  We don't buy anything (I'm more of a herbal tea fan) but we are told be several sources that the tea is significantly less expensive at the factories (interesting fact - Tea was introduced in Sri Lanka in the late 1800s after several coffee plantations were destroyed by disease and now represents more than 15% of the Sri Lankan economy). 


On the viewpoint overseeing Kandy

As we arrive in Kandy, our driver stops at a silk factory…it take us all of 4 minutes to wander through the store and leave empty handed.  We give a full no thank you to stopping at the souvenir shop or the wood carving factory and move on to an early lunch.  The curry and rice we have come to expect is okay, but the dozens of flies that seem to propel themselves repeatedly into our eyeballs takes away from the enjoyment factor.  Post lunch we take the windy and loopy drive to our hotel, the highly recommend, Villa Rosa.  High in the Kandy hills the hotel has lovely views of the Mahaweli River and a quiet tranquil feel.  We spend the afternoon relaxing in our private outdoor sitting area enjoying fruit smoothies and letting the time pass. 


The temple were one of Buddah's tooth is buried. 

In the late afternoon, our driver arrives to take us back into town to see the temple of the sacred tooth relic…this temple, located beside the man-made (in 1807) Kandy Lake, houses the most important Buddhist relic on Sri Lanka – a tooth from Buddha.  Here we wander barefoot (after the mandatory shoe check at the door) throughout the temple and learn the history of the tooth (although the English translation could have used a second set of eyes).  I must note that it is not possible to actually see the tooth…it is kept in a series of highly guarded stupas (a fact that excepted one tourist we hear asking a guard… “where is that tooth thing-y”… after walking directly past the monument).  We explore the rest of the temple and claim our shoes, making our way to a Ragahala Kandyan Dance show.  The show lasts a hour and shortly after it begins, both MG on my right and the other tourist on my left start to drift off to sleep (and they are not alone…many people in the packed theatre seem to struggle to stay awake).  The drum based dances are well performed and lead up to an impressive finale of fire eating and fire walking.  For non-dance enthusiasts, a forty minute show would have been preferred. 



Back at the hotel, we enjoy an outdoor candlelit dinner of…rice and curry J, but the food is served hot and the curry dishes are delish.  The hotel owner is German and stops by to chat with us…most of which I understand and I think he leaves our table thinking I am a fluent German speaker.  For dessert we enjoy banana fritters and ice-cream before retiring to our room for the night.  After a hot day we are looking forward to a shower, only to have the water shift from hot to cold to non-existent in a matter of minutes.  Super frustrating in general, but especially because with the cost of the hotel, we should not have to endure zero water (somewhere between when we wake up and want to brush our teeth, the water returns).  Half showered, we settle in bed and fall quickly asleep.