April 17, 2004

Kandy to Nuwara Eliya

Day 3: April 14, 2004

We had to wake up early to prepare ourselves for the journey at 7:00. Another journey through the hilly roads begins. The guide was enthusiastic to tell about all the landmarks we passed. He talked about the numerous Buddha�s statues in various postures (standing, meditating, reclining) that we have come across along the way. There was Ravana�s cave where Sita was abducted. We caught a glimpse of the Adam�s peak. We enjoyed the wonderful views of the mountain range. There were numerous water falls. Our guide was equal to his task by letting us know the geographic meaning of falls and hills to make sure that we do not question the authenticity of any of Sri Lankan natural wonders.

In the middle of the journey we stopped at a tea garden. Ceylon Tea is one of Sri Lankan prides. The British set up the estates almost 200 years ago. Now there are almost half of the estates (350) than the British Raj. One staff took us inside the garden and narrated the tea manufacturing process. There plant was close because of the holidays. We then had tea in the shop and bought some. Then we were back on the road again.

I could feel the height in the eardrums and the drop of temperature when we approached Nuwara Eliya. It is Sri Lanka�s premier hill resort situated at almost 7000 feet above the sea level. It is also a producer of the world�s best tea. You can see tree plantations all over the place with small agricultural strips of land and a few houses. It was picturesque. I was so amazed by all these. I thanked god for the opportunities I got to visit this place. I wish my wife could be here.

We entered the hotel & went straight to the conference hall. It was business all the way except for the lunch & tea breaks. In the lunch break we completed the checking in the hotel. There were disturbingly a large number of hotel rooms in each floor. Something like 70-80. The individual rooms are spacious and well equipped with heaters and so. But there was no TV. The lunch was not so good as Kandy; especially for the vegetarians (7 of us) who had limited choices to eat.

At around 8:45 PM we call it a day and went to our room to change. We went to a nearby Indian Restaurant. Here our vegetarian colleagues ate up to their hearts content. Then some of us had a walk towards the center of the town. It was a busy street (At 10 o clock in the night!) as there were decoration lights and parties everywhere. There was a fair going on which included concerts with a laser light display reflecting in the narrow clouds hanging over the town. It was another delight for us. There were sounds of motor cycle acrobatics, but we did not dare penetrating the buzzing crowd.

I tried the hotel for internet, but they did not have any facilities. I tried to call home considering high charges of the hotel, but could not connect. I was desperate, as I knew I would be busy with the training & meetings the whole day tomorrow. But luck was not in my side. There were plenty of people watching the only TV on the floor (Which was showing a a Sri Lankan channel) in the lobby. So we preferred going to the room and go to bed early.


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