From the Coast to the Highlands

The Serendib Chronicles – Day 4
1st Nov10, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

So having decided to go ahead with a driver and van for the next 6 days, we planned our route to see the main sites in Sri Lanka. With a vehicle, we would be able to see more, and spend less time waiting for buses and public transport. In the end, it would add up to be cheaper to go ahead with this arrangement, especially since there were four of us. The downside would be less interaction with the populace.

So the driving route today was to follow the coast from Hikkaduwa all the way to the next big city Matara, before heading inland to Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya is 1880m above sea level, and it would be a major change from the sunny beach weather we had been having over the past few days.

Breakfast. In one of the restaurants just out of Hikkaduwa, serving a buffet of (140 Rp) of rotti, string hoppers (a noodle like dry flour staple), with some dhal and other side dishes. Basically, rice and curry, or a flour variant in this case.

During the journey inland, the altitude began to rise, and soon we were in cooler weather, passing by Rawana falls, which has a backstory that I cannot recall. Headed towards Ella, and the journey from Ella to Nuwara Eliya is punctuated with spectacular views of the hills below, the tea plantations spread across the hill slopes, and villages duly equipped with the obligatory resthouse for travelers.

Nuwara Eliya is Sri Lanka’s hill station, set up by the Brits stationed here long ago. The architecture of the houses are unlike anything I have seen in Sri Lanka so far, and most of them would not look out of place in the English countryside. It is pretty surreal, since I was not expecting little pastry shop huts, golf courses side by side with temples and mosques. The weather was also much cooler than in the lowlands, and I had to put on 2 layers and a windbreaker to keep out the cold. The city centre where we went for dinner was pretty much like any other Sri Lankan town, albeit it was much cooler. The unusual dinner dish we had was kottu rotti, which is basically roti prata with some sort of meat, in this  case chicken, chopped to small bits till they resembled noodles instead of roti prata. Oh, and we had hoppers, which is like the mee chiam kueh in Singapore, except its an unwrapped bowl shaped version.

After dinner, did some strolling in the local Nuwara Eliya bazaar where I made the best buy so far! I was hunting for a souvenir Sri Lankan tshirt, with an elephant print on the front, which I saw an angmoh wearing, when instead I came across a Sri Lankan national cricket team jersey. Blue and yellow, I look fantastic wearing it. (yes, I know, my skin is thick, but we all know that don’t we already 😉 )Bargained it down to 1100Rp. The quality seems ok, I just hope it doesn’t come apart after one or two washes.

CSC = 3 (what else, the cricket jersey!)

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