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TUK TUK FROM RUINS TO A BIG ROCK

A QUICK ESCAPE FROM THE TICKET GUARD AS WE SPED OUT OF TOWN AND TOWARDS A BIG ROCK

Sunday 17 Nov 13 (day 78)

Last night at some ungodly hour, some kind of procession passed by on the street. No idea what it was about, a lot of men wailing or I guess it could have been singing - I don't know. Not sure what time it was but it was still pitch black outside.

Next thing we know we wake up at 11.30am - just before receiving a phone call from reception to remind us that checkout was at 12. Shit!! How did we manage to sleep so long?? I know I stayed up late watching movies, but Lyn slept for almost 16 hours!! Guess we must have needed it.

A quick scramble to get up and dressed and our gear packed and into the tuk tuk. Staff again watching amazed that we are driving our own tuk tuk. Staff again trying to get us to hire them as a guide for the local sites. No thanks, and goodbye.

This town of Anuradhapura is a world heritage site, used to be the capital at one stage and has many old ruins of palaces and temples etc etc. We were really not that interested in visiting all this old rubble and stuff and especially since the entry free was USD $25 each. I suggested to Lyn we head over towards the old part of town and just have a quick drive around and see what we could see without entering the official site and having to pay the entrance fee.

We drove a few back roads and came across a huge dagoba (= Buddhist monument composed of a solid hemisphere containing relics of the Buddha or a Buddhist saint - also called a stupa). This one was called Jetavanarama Dagoba and stood about 70m high - built in the 3rd century. Pretty impressive and there were lots of tourists about, as well as lots of monkeys. As there was no sign that this was included in the pay part of the site we stopped and had a look around. We had to make sure that everything left in the tuk tuk was secure as monkeys climbed in to see if there was anything worth while taking or to eat. They took a good look inside a plastic bag that had my smelly shoes in it and decided nothing edible here and left again, leaving behind dirty foot prints all over the seat.

Back in the tuk tuk I asked Lyn to do a quick circumnavigation of the stupa. Big mistake as of course on the other side of the giant ruin was a guard who was checking tickets and quickly stopped us to ask for ours. A bit of quick thinking and I said we would just go back and collect our other friend and return to him in 5 minutes with our tickets. Of course he did not believe this and was very hesitant to let us go. As Lyn slowly inched the tuk tuk away from him I was hanging out the side saying just wait we will be back in 5 minutes. Of course we hightailed it out of there and hit the road out of town. We didn't want to cheat on not paying the entry but really where we drove in did not say anything about entering the world heritage site. Where the guard stopped us was an obvious entry/exit gate. If the entry fee had not been so high we would have happily paid it and visited the rest of the site but $25 each is a bit over the top.

The road today was again in good shape and a pleasant drive through mainly rice paddy fields. Still the roads are lined with fruit stalls (mainly bananas and mangos) and a few thousand scabby dogs. We drove in a south easterly direction heading for a place called Sigiriya, where there is a 200 metre rock outcrop that I wanted to visit.

It was about 3.30pm by the time we reached our destination and decided to stay the night and visit the site in the morning. Again to find a hotel! We drove into a very flash looking place and knew it would be way out of our price range but I did the exercise and went to reception to enquire about a room. Unfortunately, they were completely booked out for the night so we were not able to stay and pay a minimum of USD $125 per night for a room. Wow it would want to be fantastic for that price.

Back in the village Lyn looked at the next place which we rejected at Rs7000 ($58) and we went and had a late lunch. A nice little restaurant served fresh fruit juice shakes and an avocado salad with roti. After lunch across the road was another guesthouse that had a bungalow for Rs5000 ($41) but it smelt too musty. Flower Inn won us with a plain room with attached bathroom for Rs1800 ($14.70) - they started at Rs2500. Bargaining for a room is pretty easy, just look a little disinterested, ask for a better price or walk away. If they can come down in price they follow you and the price lowers.

We could park the tuk tuk in the yard so it was off the street also. Took our bags into the room, I laid down on the bed and promptly fell asleep and slept for 4 hours. Wow didn't see that coming, although both Lyn and I did seem a little lethargic today. Too much sleep, or not enough or not enough coffee or just not enough water, but we both seemed a little off today.

9pm we wandered back out to our lunch restaurant and had lite dinner. The mother was happy to see us back again in her eating establishment but come 10pm said we had better return to hotel otherwise we would be locked out as the gates closed at 10. Not sure if she just wanted to get rid of us or if the gates were usually closed at this time, but they were still open when we glided back in at 10.15.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 04:50 Archived in Sri Lanka

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What a couple of fare dodgers you are lol!Wish I was there to witness it!x

by Dolly Torkilsden

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