After an early morning run on the beach in Tangalle and a nice discussion with the owner of Sandy’s Cabanas. http://www.sandycabanas.com/
Chaminda is a former cricket player who survived the tsunami by hanging onto a palm tree and showed us pictures of the devastation to his property. He also explained the Sri Lankan government was of litle help and most businesses depended on foreign aid to rebuild. He lived in Germany on and off for awhile and was a great resource on all things Tangalle. He served the best REAL coffee (not Nescafe!) I’ve had so far and is so cute that I’m tempted to blow off our party in Colombo to stay here in the sun with him!
Gihan takes us to Udawalawe National park-a place where elephants, water buffalo, spotted deer, and all sorts of birds live in their natural habitat. Unlike Pinnewala which is an orphanage with the largest elephant herd kept in captivity, Udawalawe keeps the elephants wild with the intention to release back into the wild. A female elephant comes upon our open-top Jeep and circles around us several times and almost every male elephant we pass seems to have 5 legs?!?!?! I’m not sure what inspired their excitement but I couldn’t help but to take several photos.
Then, perhaps to cleanse our souls, we had to Matara where the largest statue in Sri Lanka of a sitting Buddha exists. http://worldcafemiddleeast.com/destination_guide/asia/sri-lanka-maldives/historic_sites.php
Wewurukannala Temple also has a large rooms of demons and sinners showing penance for your sins including being boiled in cauldrons for infidelity to eating hot coals resulting from too much gossip! The murals are very colorful and graphic and they have plaster life size models of demons and sinners-one even shows someone being sawed in half!!
They didn’t have a penance for taking pictures of 5 legged elephants, but I give an offering and receive a prayer from the temple monk just in case!