"I Want Kandy!"
It seems so long ago when we left Koh Lanta and the beautiful Andaman Sea, yet it was really less than a week ago. It was one of our longer days of travel, but quite eventful. We hopped a mini-van at 11:30am, took two ferries, and once again were bounced around in the same “shock-shot” vehicle we took a week previously. Nothing like symmetry. After this 3 hour bumpy ride, we were dropped off at the airport, where we awaited the first of our two flights we would be taking that day. Although the day started promisingly, with blue skies and bright sunshine, this was not to last. While waiting at our gate, the dark clouds started rolling in, and thunder rattled the windows. Let me tell you, having the power go off (twice!) in the airport before you take off is somewhat unnerving. We were directed to our exit to board the airport.
It was at this point that we all realized we were going to get drenched in the next few minutes. We were all to board a small bus that would drive us out to the airplane, where we would then get off the bus, and walk up the staircase that they had pushed to the door of the plane. I’m not sure I have been in heavier rain. Certainly not while trying to board a plane. The bus had a steeper than expected last step, and Michelle slipped, but luckily landed on her feet. I wish I could say the same for myself. I misjudged the step, my heavy backpack shifted, and down on my knees I went. Not my finest moment, that’s for sure. As usual, actually boarding the plane after climbing the stairs was a slow go, as the first in were putting their baggage away while the rest of us were having a shower outside the plane. Lots of grumbling ensued. One man even had the nerve to push his way past Michelle and the kids so that he could get in before them. What a gentleman. You learn a lot about people in moments such as this. The flight attendants passed out wads of paper towel to everyone to try to help us dry off (with minimal success, but we appreciated the gesture).
On Saturday, November 15, we went to the train station in Colombo and bought tickets for the 3½ hour train ride to Kandy. We elected to buy 1st Class tickets in an air-conditioned car. That may sound swanky, but the tickets came to a grand total of $18 CDN for the four of us. It was a nice way to see some of the countryside, and allowed us to really notice that we were slowly climbing in elevation.
A brief note about our first tuk tuk driver here in Kandy: he was unfailingly polite. “Good day, Sir”, he said to me. “Good day, Miss,” to Michelle, and “Good day, children” to Bereket and Eskedar. And when he asked how we liked Sri Lanka and Michelle said it was beautiful, he beamed and said, “Oh, thank you, Miss. Thank you! Welcome to The Kandy.”
We live way up on a steep hillside in a beautiful apartment that Michelle found on AirBnB. The road to our apartment is like a steep road in Nelson, B.C., only on steroids. It’s good exercise for us…and a real struggle for the tuk tuks we have taken on occasion, too.
It is a Buddhist temple located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, and it houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988, partly due to the temple.