|Purple waterlilies sold outside the Dalaga Maligawa|
Below are thus a series of photographs that I took during my trip. It covers my visit to the Dalaga Maligawa (Temple of Tooth Relic) in Kandy, some food fest (God, those delicious SL dishes!) and a bit of saree spree... Oh, and a bit about the traffic in Colombo, tho you can't truly "appreciate" the chaos until you set foot in Colombo. Enjoy!
I arrived in Colombo about 30 min after midnight on 21 February 2016. That day I spent exploring Colombo (looking for the best place for saree shopping, to be exact). I also bought a local SIM card (Dialogue) to communicate with my local friends (and to know where I am using Google or iPhone maps). Very cheap. Don't buy at the airport, they overcharged you as per usual. Buy in downtown, but you need to present your passport (true!). I spent less than 250 SL rupees (less than $3) for a 1.5 GB data and 50 rupees of texting and calling. Pretty much what I needed for a week's visit in SL.
|Jamz's lunch feast for me...|
The next day (22 Feb) I went by train to Kandy (that's in the middle of the island, in a mountaineous region) to meet Jamz, a friend I knew back in 2014 from a workshop I organised (for free) in Malaysia (those free works apparently paid off eventually!). Jamz treated me to a very delicious, home-made Sri Lankan lunch. Total fest! As you surely know, if you go to a place and haven't had home-made dishes, you haven't truly got the local taste...
Jamz and his mother cooked me a very delicious meal as seen on the right here. From the top, clock-wise, we have cucumber-apple-celery salad with yoghurt, some chicken curry (I don't eat chicken, so I passed this one), delicious (oh totally delicious) banana flower curry, delicious bitter gourd curry (it's not bitter at all!), yummy creamy dhal (that's a bit Indian, but Jamz peppered it with enough curry leaves to make it Sri Lankan), a crunchy spring onion curry and last but not least SL fish curry. And delicious basmati rice in the middle. My mouth is salivating now as I type this. Total fest!
Then we went to the Dalaga Maligawa (Temple of Tooth Relic) in downtown Kandy. I was so blessed, it was Poornama that day, so the temple (and all other temples in SL) had prayers the whole day. People came from all over Kandy (and also from all over SL if they actually hail from Kandy) to make a prayer that day. It was a very beautiful experience to offer some lotus, water lilies and jasmine to Lord Buddha. I can't explain it with words; it will just reduce the beauty. The photos also don't do justice. The peace was... wow... I'd gladly experience it every day, every minute, every second of my life... Thanks Jamz for taking me there...
|The entrance to the Dalada Maligawa|
|The universal Buddhist flags inside the temple|
|A little Caucasian girl offering flowers to Lord Buddha|
|The main stupa of the temple with the Bodhi tree and an old church at the background|
|A gorgeous artificial lake outside Dalaga Maligawa|
After the temple visit, we had a delicious juice break. Sri Lankans love their fresh juices, and you'll find a lot of food stalls selling freshly pressed juice made to order in Colombo, Kandy and other towns. They also put a touch of salt in the juice that enhances the flavour. It's really delicious! Below is the juice counter at my hotel (Taj Samudra). They didn't sprinkle it with a touch of salt, but it was still delicious. The ones on the street will usually have salt in it; request no salt if you prefer, but I'd say try with salt first. It truly enhances the flavour.
|The Taj Samudra juice counter|
|Me & my baby blue saree|
Then we had a walk along the Galle Face (that's a stretch of promenade along the beach in front of the 5 star hotels at Colombo 3 - by the way, I didn't have $$ to stay at Taj. I stayed there because the organisers paid for it...). I saw some food stalls there, but I was so stuffed, I didn't try anything anymore (plus, my heels were killing me...).
|Street food at Galle Face, Colombo 3|
On the final evening, the host treated us with delicious dinner. Below is the taste of what I got that night. On my plate I had hopper (appam - that funny bowl-looking stuff with egg in the middle, tho you can have hopper without egg as well), fish curry (the dark stuff in the middle), some small prawn curry, some delicious vegetable curry, string hoppers (that's the noodle-like food on the left hand side), and something similar to Indian paratha. Total fest again!
|West end of saree center Main Street in Colombo|
|The usual Colombo traffic, this was near Main Street|
Oh but there was another reason I didn't indulge in saree shopping that afternoon: I had to go to Anouk's place for dinner. It took me 45 minutes to go to Anouk's place for a distance that I could cover in 20 min in my home town, but it was worth it. I've known Anouk for five years now, and it was an honour to dine with her, her mother (the 90 years old lady used to do Kalamkari/saree painting!), and two Thai friends at her place. For us, Anouk prepared the followings: string hoppers (with white and red rice flour), onion and potato curry (totally delicious! My potato-lover, vegetarian partner would love it!), fish curry (again, feast!), egg and small prawn curry, some tomato curry sauce for the string hoppers, and chicken curry for my Thai friends. Oh Lord Buddha, what a dinner!! Thank you (and thanks Anouk) is not even enough!
|Farewell dinner at Anouk's place. Total fest again...|
|... and thuk-thuks are not the only street users in Colombo...|
Next time I will come for the elephants and other things SL offers, including tea plantation visit.