I was woken by the rustling of the leaves around the ecolodge. We then had a fine morning ride. The countryside was lusher and richer than before. The houses in the trees were larger and the bright pink paint salesman had been very successful recently. At small town there was a commemorative clock tower opened to celebrate the opening of a garment factory 20 years ago. In another town we saw an extraordinary road widening scheme, the front 10 feet of the shops had just been bulldozed away leaving bare walls. The shopkeepers were restating their shops further back. I have seen this 15 years ago in Hyderabad and it amazed me then.
In the evening we heard the Kandyian drummers beating away complex rhythms and then fire swallowing. I wandered the town with an Ozzie couple, Helen and William farmers from WA. They had never been in a mosque so we went into the main red and white one. The Muslims were just breaking their Ramadan fast so we were plied the dates and rice pudding. The Imman spoke excellent English and was so welcoming and explaining how Allah was everywhere. We found a point of contact because the Ozzies supplied meat to the middle east. We then went on to a Hindu temple and saw incarnations of Shiva, Vishnu and Ganesh. Here the fat priest was taking coconuts from the devotees. There was also a Buddhist temple there with a Buddha statue and bodhi tree. Here the priest blessed us and tied white threads round our wrists. It was amazing to have such direct experience of all three major religions . The Muslims were the most cerebral and giving.
More Buddhism tomorrow.