I woke up in Kandy, ready to conquer a day full of traveling & hiking (after having toast, jam & tea, of course).
Today I am tackling Sri Lankan buses.
Once I get to the massive bus station I start asking all bus driver’s assistants where the bus to Dambulla is (I don’t know what this job is called, but there is a bus driver & then there is a guy that stands in the bus collecting money & shouting what stop we are at). Everyone is so helpful, they always point me in the right direction. I load up onto the bus & for 190 rupees ($ ) I am off on a 2.5 hour drive to Dambulla where I will get onto yet another bus to Sigiriya.
The buses here are insane. They own the road & will drive through anything in their path. Except for the old ladies that magically stop traffic with a simple hand to the side, like in Harry Potter. The buses fly through traffic honking their horn telling cars, motorbikes & tuk tuks to get out of their way. Then, when they pull up to a bus stop, they don’t even stop. They slow down just enough for people to run up & jump on while the bus is still moving.
Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress that dates back to 477-495 CE, when King Kaspaya built his palace on top of the rock. The rock is 900 feet high, it really makes you think about the tools & methods they used to build something so high up.
The entrance fee to Sigiriya was $30, which could be spent between 2 days here. I couldn’t justify spending that when Pidurangala rock is next to it for $5 & it’s a challenging hike to the top.
The walk to Pidurangala was 2 miles from the bus station. As I was looking for a Tuk Tuk to drive me over there, a guy pulled up on his motorbike & asked if I needed a ride. By this point, I was on a dirt road that led straight to Pidurangala, so I said sure why not. As I was hoping off, burned my leg on the exhaust. I guess that’s what I get for expecting rides from strangers. Ouch. Note: 2 days later & the burn still stings. I would post a photo, but I’ll save you from the sights of the fresh flesh & blisters. It’s the size of a golf ball on my inner calf.
I read that the hike up Pidurangala would take 2 hours, I did it in 30 minutes & was a little disappointed in the “challenging hike” that I read about. Though, there were some cool parts. There were rocks that I had to climb over & in between & spaces I had to leap across, but that equated to 15 minutes of the climb. It wasn’t as challenging as I expected, but the views were just as beautiful. Here I am looking at Sigiriya rock.
I used my new tripod to take these photos. Unfortunately, it was really cloudy that day.
After a 3 hour journey back to Kandy, I set off looking for dinner. While people in Sri Lanka are hospitable & nice, the men on the streets are another story. Per usual, I got the hellos, how are you, where are you going, etc. But tonight a man asked to walk with me to practice his English. We walked together for a couple minutes before he asked to buy me a beer, I replied thanks, but I don’t drink & walked away.
A few minutes later another guy (in his 20’s) started walking beside me. He kept asking where I was going & I said just walking. He kept asking me questions & after 10 minutes of me walking in circles trying to get this guy off my back I said, I’m looking for a good, local, cheap place to eat. Unless you can point me to one, I’d rather walk by myself. We walked across the street to a restaurant. I said thank you & walked inside. He followed. I turned & said you’re not eating with me. After 5 minutes of going back & forth, I just sat at a table & ordered. He followed. I was so hungry & annoyed at this point that I just let him sit with me. He kept trying to make conversation, but it was hard for me to understand him. He ended up paying for dinner, which was really nice (& insanely cheap for him. It was 189 rupees for both of us, but if I would have ordered that for just me, it would have been 250-300 rupees. UGH).
After dinner, he asked for my number, but I bolted into a Tuk Tuk & drove back to the hostel.
Does this mean I just went on a date with a Sinhalese? Oh boy.