Monday, 12 August 2013

Day 8 aug 12 hills to coast 102 km

Another day of dramatic changes in the scenery. We started in the hills and pine trees and biked down past a huge waterfall attributed to Ravanna. Then down to the plain. Here the cicadeas started up again and paddy fields replaced the tea bushes. We then came to a much drier scrub-like area but then came to lagoons as we approached the coast. At the end of our ride we had a long detour though villages on a sandy road. But this attractive detour was at 95 km and my appreciation of village life was being set against the pleasure of getting into a swimming pool. I was biking with the Irish girl and it was the first time she had done 100 km.

The countryside was also far more Buddhist with white diagonals and saffron clad monks with their begging bowls on the road , some only about 10 yrs old.

We went to a Hindu Pooja that is held for a fortnight every year at a Buddhist temple close by. It was a magical event. We bought a plate of fruit on our way in, with eight different fruits nicely arranged. We mingled with the crowds end went to a Hindu temple where the priest received the fruit and then handed half of it back to be shared. Then we had wrist threads tied on by a Shiite priest . The dancing girls were starting, and everyone was watching the temple elephants plod around . There were thousands of people there and it had a very festive, lighthearted air. It was an amazing mix of Buddhism and Hinduism. This needs to be promoted because ther are a new group of Buddhist fundamentalists who want everyone to be Bhuddist and they were responsible for the sacking of the mosque in Colombo last week. I have also noticed how people speak very dismissively about the Muslims. The taxi drivers claim that Sri Lnak would have a 100% literacy rate were it not for the Muslims pulling them down. At least the Buddhists and Hindus mingle.

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