Wow, what a day! Started at 6am with an attempt on Sigiriya Rock and being hopeful of reaching the Lion Fortress at the top. Finished with me driving a bullock cart… oh and us drinking beers and G&T’s..
There should really only be one 6 o’clock in the day,the one in the evening, but today we find the other one. The one where the sun comes up. We left our hotel as the sun was peeping up over the rainforest and headed off with Susantha to the Rock. After the usual queue for tickets we started our ascent, Susantha disappeared to go move the car to the other car park and said he’d see us at the fresco wall. Helen and I headed up the steps, believe me there are lots of them and they can be a little uneven.
Even at 6:30am the humidity is in play so we paced ourselves knowing we were in no rush. As we neared the fresco wall we found the second ticket booth and our first hurdle, we didn’t have the tickets, Susantha did. The guard was very apologetic but he couldn’t let us through without, so we had a pause. When Susantha appeared a few minutes later we set of again and passed the Mirror Wall, when first created the daube coating had been polished to a mirror sheen. Today you can get remnants off the effect in small spots along the wall.
After another steep set of stairs, my watch tells me I climbed 27 today, we reached the Lion Paws, the entrance to the summit. We paused for photos and then set off, at the second landing on the metal ladders my irrational fear of heights kicked in. The shake in the ladders had defeated me and I could climb no more, after regaining some composure I turned and headed back. Looking out at nothing on the way down was harder than going up! Stupid I know but that quickening of the heart rate and the shallow breathing is not fun. Strange because on the rock stairs I was fine but the metal ladder like structure just got me. After a few rest breaks we made it back to the bottom, the views are amazing, I was just angry with myself that I couldn’t make the top.
Back at our hotel we had a well earned shower and headed off for breakfast, it still only being 9am. What better way to while away a few hours than a dip in the pool. Here a friendly monitor lizard decided to wander under my pool lounge on his way to the garden, I think I jumped a little as he appeared.
After this interlude it was off on our local village tour. As with many things in our lives we did it the other way! We started with a tuk tuk ride to a local family home where we had the most amazing lunch. We did try pounding some rice but I only managed to make a mess and through stuff over the floor, I felt bad but she just laughed it off. We watched as the matriarch of the family whipped up up the most delicious coconut sambal in less than five minutes. She opened the coconut in moment on a blade fastened to a piece of wood, then she used a machete to open the coconut, the fresh juice is so sweet. Once open she shredded the flesh, then on her trusty rock pounded out some chilli, tomato, onion, salt and the shredded coconut into the most unbelievable sambal. This was served with rice, dried fish, picked cucumber, mango and baby egg plant, all so full of flavour. She and her brother showed us all the uses for coconut, from spoons to rope and floor sweepers to body scrubbers. As a way of thanking them we ‘bought’ a body scrubber.
Next was a boat ride across the lake, I did feel sorry for the bloke with his paddle lugging us across the lake but he just laughed and paddled. Part way across he stopped and scooped a few lotus leaves from the lake, they were quickly fashioned into a couple of hats and the lotus flowers on their stalk turned into lotus necklaces. As we reached the far side we stepped off and headed down a dusty trail, a noise in the reeds made us both jump, sounded like a snake! Turned out to be #25 our bullock for the next leg of our journey. He was a feisty character, was not too keen on going to the cart wanted to stop every few steps for a feed. Once harnessed though he was fine, even let me take the reins for a while.
Tour over we headed back to the pool, didn’t stay long though as a thunder storm swept overhead. Bloody glad we’re by the pool and not up on the rock in this! Been raining now for almost an hour, must be brutal at the top!
Time I think to settle down with a good book, a drink and the amazing views.
Till next time