Monday, March 18 - The Long Road and the Fateful Milkshake

Our goal for Monday was to reach Katie's village. Since this entailed some serious bus time, it was decided that we should start early. We arose and found a gentleman willing to give us a ride to the center of town.

We found a restaurant that made nearly traditional western food, and found it to be fairly tasty. I was never in the habit of drinking pop (soda to you non-midwesterners) when I'd been in the States, but I'd gotten used to Sprite pretty fast after thinking about the risks the water posed in Sri Lanka. (Monica drank a lot of Sprite, too - she doesn't drink it anymore here in the states.)

Katie noticed that milkshakes were available and decided to order one, though Monica and I decided to forego the pleasure. We were being perhaps overcautious, but since we never got sick on the trip, I'd do the same again.

Upon our arrival at the bus stop we discovered that we had an hour or so to wait. While the mountains of Kandy were definitely cooler than the coast, it was still plenty warm enough for us Michiganders. We stood for quite a while, while Katie asked around and tried to find us a faster way.

The bus stop on the way to KT
's village.

The bus stop on the way to KT's village.

While Sri Lankans will wait in an orderly line, as soon as the bus arrives, the line dissolves into chaos and whoever is fastest gets on first. Being westerners, we were offered seats, and Katie insisted it would be very impolite to turn them down.

The bus ride was about two hours higher still into the mountains, with a stopover at a restaurant with a dramatic overlook of a valley below. With western toilets, Katie said it was her favorite stop on the bus ride. Monica and I got some more Sprites and eventually we were on our way again.

We arrived in Nuwara Eliya and searched, again, for a bus to Veliulla, which was the next stop on the way to Katie's village. After yet more Sprite, we found it and went on.

On the way, we saw our first elephant - we were in such a hurry to take the picture out of a moving bus that we got this:

(jpeg)

Our first elephant picture!

We finally pulled into town in the very late afternoon. We had a small meal at a kade while we waited for the final bus to come in. I found a rock in my breadroll; I had some more Sprite and kept eating.

We finally got off the last bus as the sun was setting. We walked the half-mile or so into Katie's village and got to her house just as it was getting dark. A brief meal of rice and vegetables and it was time to get ready for bed. Monica and I shared the bed, while Katie slept on a mat on the floor. She swore that she was quite comfortable that way and slept over at her friend's house all the time on just such a mat.

We accepted this dubiously, but we were all tired enough that guilt didn't have much of a chance to take root. Monica and I both discovered the joys of eastern-style toilets, but I must say I'd rather be a man and use one than a woman.

After a long day of travel, we slept very well indeed.

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