December 14, 2011

sri lanka! part 2 (and not getting any shorter)

hey! what up, guys? december is kind of killing me over here! not in a bad way, just in a HOLY SHIT HOW DO PEOPLE DO ALL THIS WORK AND ALSO PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS AND ALSO HOST PARTIES AT THEIR HOUSE AND *ALSO* FINISH BLOG RECAPS??!!?! way.

things are dire on the busy scale, is what i'm saying. i mean, i faceplanted INTO THE WALL OF AN ELEVATOR the other day and didn't even have a chance to tell you about it. (it was comical, i assure you. i have many bruises.)

but! the recap! it shall go on!

after surviving day one, we got up bright and early the next day to travel to Galle, in the south of the country.

The coast off the Galle Fort

Me & Alexis at Galle
Galle is home to a fort that was started by the Portuguese in the 16th century when they occupied the country, then was redone by the Dutch in the 17th century when it was their turn to occupy.
Clouds start rolling in over the fort..
so i probably mentioned this already? but HOLY JEEBUS is it hot in sri lanka. SO, SO HOT. as we were at the fort, some pretty gnarly clouds started rolling in because it just cannot be that hot & humid that long before a spontaneous thunderstorm develops.
The sky starts getting reeeallly weird..
as a result, you see people walking around under umbrellas pretty much at all times, since either it's 1 million degrees and so sunny you want to die a little, OR it's pouring on you.
Umbrellas are used all day long: to protect from both the sun AND the sudden rain showers.

we left the fort right as the rain started, and drove a few miles north to our hotel for the night, the triton.. and were promptly blown away. infinity pool? yes please.
Infinity pool
the hotel is RIGHT on the indian ocean, and the sun was just beginning to set as we headed down to the beach.
Alexis & Ravi at the Indian Ocean
..which resulted in some pretty outstanding views.
This looks like it could be a honeymoon shot, right? :)

I'm in the Indian Ocean!

the next day, we got an awesome opportunity to see "cinnamon peelers" at work. apparently cinnamon is one of the few products that we humans have not developed machinery to harvest effectively, so the process is still done (laboriously!) by hand.

first, a woman (it seems to always be a woman doing this part?) shaves off the tough outer bark:
First, a woman shaves off the tough outer bark

next, this guy rubs the peeled branch vigorously with a metal rod, then makes a vertical slice about a meter long...
Next, the branch is rubbed vigorously with a metal rod to prepare it
..and starts peeling back the thin layer of inner bark, in one giant piece.
Then a vertical incision is made in the branch, and carefully peeled back in one piece
(that guy in yellow is a local tuk-tuk driver, who brought us to these guys' house and showed us around.)

it smells DELICIOUS at this juncture, by the way, and is surprisingly juicy.
It smells delicious! There's oil dripping from the inside
after it has dried for several days, smaller pieces of bark are stuffed into the large "quills" to made a solid rod.
Stuffing the dried bark with smaller bark shavings
..and then they sell it to you. by the METER.
They sold us the cinnamon by the METER.

holy crap. how have i STILL only made it another day and a half in the recap??

ok. let's do some of this lightening-round style. ready?

flowering banana tree!
Flowering banana tree!

roadside dried fish stand!
Quick stop at a roadside fish market..

Rambutan, inside & out


giant lizard thing!
Hello, giant lizard creature


roadside monkeys!
Monkeys on the way to Kandalama

next up is our trip to kandalama and the ruins at polonnaruwa (which, i am not joking, took me about 3 days to learn the name of. polonnaruwa!) which is a post in itself.

and then there is still the THREE DAY LONG indian wedding to show you! anyone want to take an over/under on me finishing this before 2012??


  1. Wow. I want a detailed description of every picture. Each one is so interesting... But it IS December and we do understand.

  2. I'm a visual person, so I absolutely love your photographs of your journey! Screw the words, just make it a photographic journal! (I kid, I really love reading about your trip, too!).

  3. Loooove the pictures! And I can't wait for the rest of the recap (esp the wedding OMG), however long it may take you!

  4. Love the pics! Sounds like a fantastic trip!

  5. That trinity pool thingy place looks so awesome!!

    Love the pics Ms. Alice!

  6. WOW. Incredible! Who knew that's how we get cinnamon sticks?

    Love your photos, especially of all the crazy tropical fruits and plants!

  7. I'm giving you until Feb. 2nd, because if you wait that long, you can always pull a Bill Murray and Groundhog Day yourself until you get it all posted.
    Seriously, I want to travel with you. WOW.

  8. Now I will say that I am not so mad that a few sticks of cinnamon costs SEVEN DOLLARS! since I now know it is always made by hand. I guess? That validates the cost right?

    Anyway, beautiful pictures. The ocean is beautiful.

  9. Very cool! Everything is amazing! And I'm not sure how you motivated yourself to do any sightseeing after you saw the infinity pool!
    Take however long you like with the recap posts. I'm still not through with my Italy trip from June.