Pinnawala - Dambulla - Sigiriya

I went for a little trip here in Sri Lanka and ended up in Pinnawala, the elephant orphanage. I must say that I have mixed feelings about the whole experience - the elephants were adorable, I love them, I think they are just friendly giants. I stroked a baby elephant and its skin was full of really sharp bristles. It was sooo cute! And of course the bathing time was fun to see, all the elephants splashing around and having fun... but on the other hand you can tell that everything is about spending money there, if you want to take a picture with an elephant you have to pay, not to one guy but also to the other guy standing next to the first guy, and I'm like, why do I also have to pay to you, you didn't do anything?! Then at bathing time, if you want to feed elephants, you have to also pay to two guys and I don't know... I'm not a live money bank! Everybody wants your money and all at the expense of the elephants. I remember that one was missing a leg because he walked on a mine field:(

Then of course there is the elephant poo paper, which is a processed dung turned into paper for writing and sending cards... the finished product is actually really nice to look at, but the prices they demand there are totally European. It pays off more to buy the poo paper in Colombo:) It's 10 times cheaper.



Then off we went to the Buddhist temple in Dambulla on POYA, than is the day on every full moon and the Buddhists gather in temples to pray. All the shops are usually closed and no alcohol is to be sold or consumed. The Whole Dambulla experience was really cool - I love the Big Guy (the Buddha) and I loved the cheeky monkeys that were stealing everything that resembled to food - even the lotus flowers that I was carrying for my offering to the Buddha:P


In my experience, it is best to get up really (and I mean really when I say really) early in the morning for the Sigiriya climb because it's not so hot, there are few tourists and no annoying locals who want to give you the tour. I got up at 6.15 am and it was totally worth it - the view is spectacular!!! Dont'  believe me? Check it out:

          Sigiriya, photo taken from afar

The Sigiriya gardens are also a sight to be seen:



Colombo During a Tropical Storm

I have never witnessed tropical storm before, so when the opportunity presented itself, I quickly grabbed my camera and took a few snapshots. When it rains, there is so much humidity in the air that everything seems foggy. It's cool:) 

  - Teja


Colombo from above


First impressions of Colombo: colorful, crowded and chaotic:) You have to be really really careful when crossing the street because the drivers, the bus drivers especially, here won't hesitate to run you over. So you have to ''scan the area'' on the left and right at least twice before even thinking of crossing and when you do, extend your hand towards the car like a policeman in order for them to stop. Because then and only then will they stop. If you're lucky that is.

Dresscode for women: Dress discreetly. No slinky dresses, mini skirts or tops that show cleavage, especially when you're walking through the Muslim parts of the city. Wear loose clothes made of light cotton because the climate is hot and humid.

Otherwise, everybody is very friendly and smile all the time. So, I smile back:)

But I thought that in this post I would talk less and show you some long-awaited photos from Colombo taken from ''above'':)

More photos are coming up soon:)

 - Teja


Ayubowan, Sri Lanka!


It felt like the journey was never going to end!!!
First stop - Frankfurt. Right after stepping off the airplane, I witnessed a little boy throwing up all over the place:S It smelled horrible, so I quickly scurried away.

No time to stop for a cup of coffee, no time to go duty free shopping, because it was already boarding time for Bahrain. The flight from Frankfurt to Bahrain (nearly 6 hours) was pleasant enough with occasional turbulences, so I helped myself to ease my pre-take-off anxiety by taking a few deep breaths and my neighbor helped herself with a few glasses of red wine:) That's cheating, by the way:P

When I arrived to Bahrain, the same story, no time to take a break, because it was boarding time for Colombo again, so I basically, like, jumped from one plane to another. I think a steward on the Bahrain-Colombo flight fancied me a bit, so he upgraded me to business class - which meant a really great meal, great selection of movies to choose from (I chose Jane Eyre and Larry Crowne) and most importantly - a seat which was like a bed to me. Sure enough, I fell asleep and I dreamt that I was sleeping in my bed at home and when I woke up on the plane, it felt like the reality was my dream. It was scary!

When I finally reached my destination, I had to wait for a taxi driver named Rasika to pick me up. It was 4.30 am local time and my eyes were all red from the lack of sleep and my head felt two sizes too big. Of course Rasika got lost, so we were calling each other six times. The entire conversation looked like this:

Rasika: Hello?
me: Hello? Rasika? This is Teja. I understand that you will pick me up?
Rasika: Yes. I pick you up.
me: Great. I am at Exit S1, can you come and pick me up?
me: ok. See you soon.

5 minutes later:

Me: Hello?
Rasika: Hello?
Me: Rasika, where are you?
Rasika: At Chicken Drumstick.
Me: I don't know where Chicken Drumstick is. Can you come and pick me up at Exit S1?
Rasika: ok.

5 minutes later:

Me: Hello? Rasika? Where are you?
Rasika: At check in.
Me: No, no. I don't know where that is. Can you come and pick me up at Exit S1?
Rasika: ok.
Me: ok.

 After waiting for another 5 minutes, I lost my patience and asked a local guy to speak to my taxi driver and explain to him where I actually was. He talked to Rasika and explained everything to him. Did he find me? no. I went outside and found him. I was too tired to make a fuss, so I just smiled and gave him my luggage and off we went.

So, I got home at about 5 am and slept like rock until 10 am, not knowing after I had woken up, where I was, what day it was, or what time it is.

And that was my first morning in Sri Lanka.



Less than 24 hours till my flight... :o

Okay, you know how the Brits say:''Keep calm and carry on?'' This is not one of those times! The Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration decided that starting with January 1 2012, all travelers need a tourist visa - which should have already been published on their website in December 2011, but it was only published yesterday. Nice. Did I fill out the tourist visa application form as required yesterday? Of course not. I was far too busy packing, blogging, and telephoning five times a day with my sick grandpa.
Then, this morning, my dad called me via skype and asked me if I had done all the paper work for the tourist visa. Gulp.
Imagine my surprise and my complete and utter embarassment.Double gulp.

So, somewhere in Sri Lanka, right now, my dad is doing all the paper work after a night shift and probably cussing his head off, while I am having a morning cup of coffee and having a buttered toast, because let's face it - I really really don't have the time to eat anything more substantial.

Crisis solved: My dad just called me and said that my ETA application to visit Sri Lanka has been received. However, I must wait for their response for the next 24+ hours by which time, I will already be somewhere flying through the air, so this means logging online somewhere on the Frankfurt Airport, printing out the papers (if possible) and catching a plane to Bahrain (if possible).

Not to mention that my health insurance card is long overdue, so let's get back to my substantially longer to do list:

To do list:
 - eat the second buttered toast
 - call the insurance company
 - take the panama hat with you!!!
 - credit cards (no fun shopping without them)
 - mobile phone + batteries
 - labello SPF 10
 - bring a sweater!!!
 - pack ray bans
 - pack bikinis
 - pack 2 pieces of Nanoški sir (Eng: The Nanos cheese), dad's favorite
 - buy anti-bug spray to nuke the nasty mosquitoes
 - get a bikini (and all over bottom limb)wax
 - check the health insurance and take the insurance card with you!!!!
 - pack the address book
 - pack books to read
 - start praying to Jesus, Buddha, the Krishna and Allah that the plane will stay in the air and take me safely to Sri Lanka.



Packing for Sri Lanka

Less than 48 hours to go and visit my dad in Sri Lanka. My packing is very hectic: a dress here, a bikini there, all in random order and also, the weirdest things go into my baggage: oatmeal, my mom's marmelade, tuna cans (apparently there's no tuna cans in Sri Lanka).

I have to be dressed like an onion for the transition of the season: -1C in Slovenia, and +25C plus humidity in Sri Lanka:P Still don't quite know how to pull that off...

Making sure to pack only thin cotton T-shirts and blouses for the tropic weather. And lots of them, since I will probably sweat a lot, which brings me to the next thing to pack: a deodorant. 

Super. All done.

To do list:
 - pack bikinis
 - pack 2 kites to go kite flying with dad in Sri Lanka
 - pack 2 pieces of Nanoški sir (Eng: The Nanos cheese), dad's favorite
 - buy anti-bug spray to nuke the nasty mosquitoes
 - get a bikini (and all over bottom limb)wax
 - check the health insurance and take the insurance card with you!!!!
 - pack the address book
 - pack books to read
 - start praying to Jesus, Buddha, the Krishna and Allah that the plane will stay in the air and take me safely to Sri Lanka.