I went for an 8-mile run through the streets of Anuradhapura. There were so many stray dogs, it was crazy. Some of them were pretty scary, barking a lot and chasing after me. I also saw a lot of monkeys. Some on the ground, some in trees, and others climbing across telephone wires.
Other than dogs, there were also many men shouting at me. I had no idea what they were saying, but it didn’t sound friendly. One guy followed me on his bike for a while. All in all I didn’t really appreciate the men I encountered on my run.
Once I was showered and dressed, we went down to have breakfast in the guesthouse backyard.
We had such a giant, amazing spread. There was roti, paratha, bananas, daal, pumpkin curry, jam, and coconut sambal. I loved the sambal and pumpkin curry best, although it was all great. I wanted to just eat and eat forever.
Across from us was a Chinese family from Shanghai. When I told them I was Japanese, I found out that the mom spoke Japanese. We chatted for a few minutes, and it was nice to be able to practice my Japanese. It has gotten so bad since I never get to practice it anymore.
Our tuk-tuk driver arrived promptly at 8:30 and we made our way to Mihintale, the location of a huge historical buddhist temple and the birthplace of buddhism in Sri Lanka.
Once we were there, we first climbed up a long set of stairs to get to the entrance of the temple. There were several sites to visit within the temple— the big buddha, the viewpoint, and the temple itself.
We decided to first tackle the big Buddha. As we were climbing up to it, a bunch of monkeys suddenly came running down the hill. There were at least 20 of them, and it really scared me. It was like that horrible recurring dream I aways had as a kid– I would be going down a hill and suddenly a bunch of wild animals like lions, elephants, and tigers would run up and stampede me.
I quickly made my way back down to the bottom. I genuinely thought they were all going to attack me. Adrian told me that they were only coming down together because they were afraid of the people ahead of us who were already at the top of the hill. He was probably right— they most likely didn’t care about me at all and were coming down for reasons totally unrelated to me.
I slowly, cautiously made my way back up to the top. There were no more monkeys, thank god.
We then went to climb up to a view point. It should have only taken 10 minutes to reach the top, but it took about 40. There were so many people and not enough space for two paths— one for those going up, another for those going down— so we always had to wait for the people going down to pass us. It was pretty incredible how long it took. So many kids making their way down were crying and wailing because they were scared of slipping. It was steep and there weren’t a lot of footholds so I understood their fear, but it was like this was the scariest thing they’d ever done in their life.
We eventually got to the top, took some photos, and then went back down.
We climbed to the temple next, which was really beautiful. It was a huge, strikingly white temple with many people walking around to pray and give offerings. The views were really nice here as well.
We walked around it a couple times before going back to the tuk-tuk.
Our driver took us back to the guesthouse.
Adrian went to the barber shop with Sarath, the owner, and I blogged at home.
Adrian came back with rice and curry from A-one, and we ate it in the garden. Another amazing, filling meal in Sri Lanka.
We also ate our bag of rambutan and were so full after, so much so that we had a little siesta.
Around 6, we went downstairs because Sarath had told us he’d take us to town for dinner.
He wasn’t there, so we waited a few minutes. The other lady working tried to call him, but he wasn’t picking up.
He eventually called back and told us he was on his way. I guess he got the times confused because he thought we wanted to get picked up at 7, not 6.
He came a few minutes later, and we were dropped off at a big market.
We thought it would be a night market with food stalls, but it was more like a produce market.
It was crazy: you could get everything you’d ever need there. All sorts of greens, every sort of fruit you could imagine— watermelon, mango, papaya, mangosteen, rambutan, longan, banana, pineapple, apple, the list goes on— fish, snacks, pumpkin, potatoes, carrots… ok you get the point.
We wanted to get rambutan, so we approached a vendor selling some. We asked how much 1 kilo would cost.
He told us,
“50 pieces for 100 rupees.”
“50 pieces for 100??!?!”
How is that possible? That is so much rambutan. Even though it was cheap, we didn’t want to be carrying around 50 pieces, so we asked if we could just get 25. He told us no, but that the yellow rambutan next to the red ones were 20 for 100. We took those instead.
We then walked over to the main road to find dinner.
We eventually walked into a place with lots of curry options.
We got the veg curry and rice, which came with all the vegetarian curry options available.
All of it was really good, and they even gave us free refills of both the curry and rice. I asked for more of the pumpkin coconut curry.
Sarath came and picked us up and took us back to the hotel to watch the soccer game, which was Argentina vs France.
Once he was finished setting up the TV in the garden, he went out and bought some sprite for the whiskey he had. We each made some drinks and watched the game.
Next to us watching the game was a Polish couple who had just gotten married and were on their honeymoon. It was so cute! I would never think to come to Sri Lanka for a honeymoon, but it’s not a bad choice.
The football game was actually pretty good— there was a lot of action and goal-making.
After the game ended, we sat around for a bit longer and chatted before going to bed.