That might look like a word pun shoehorned into a blog post title with utter disregard for whether it works but it’s not. This is because Day 4 was a trip to Anuradhapura, the capital city of Ancient Sri Lanka. And it was VERY Buddha-y, the base for a whole load of Buddhist initiates at the nearby Buddhist University, where we had a very disappointing picnic, during which we ate biscuits. See? It works.
Our guide was rubbish but I just about made out that the main attraction in Anuradhapura is the sapling of the Indian Bodhi tree that Siddartha gained enlightenment under. Flowers pile up and rot under it in abeyance and homage to the big B and then people queue up to get their horoscopes from some monks (true) and get a white thread tied round their wrist. It’s all as bonkers as you’d expect from a religious place.
There was also a lovely big Buddha outside the temple, the oldest in Sri Lanka and capable of giving you three different facial expressions, depending on which angle you look at it. Above angle is ‘happy Buddha’. I know, tough crowd. It’s another chance to dump your rapidly wilting lotus flowers and ask for help, say thanks, whevs. I asked for a very specific bit of help and then walked off and immediately stubbed my little toe on a rock nearby. I think that was a big STFU & FO from Happy Buddha.
A couple of dagubars (the awesome, Star Wars-esque name for a boob-shaped pile of bricks with a relic in the middle of it) and an ancient monk-bath later (the Twin Ponds – actually very important and I’m sorry I gave them such short shrift… except I’m not really) and we get to the main event: Eddie driving a tuk tuk. Look at his little face!
Oh heavens to buddha, look at the guide’s little fingernail… I hadn’t noticed that. Gulp. Anyways, onwards. In the afternoon we drove to Mineriya Safari Park where the big draw is the possibility of seeing wild elephants. We definitely did do that and here they are, japesting around in joy that they’re not at the Millennium Elephant Foundation with leg irons on getting scrubbed by overexcited white kids.
And here are said kids.
Other than the elephants, the best bit was the moment we left. Our jeep last knew the feeling of suspension sometime just prior to the Second World War and our guide/driver had such a rudimentary command of English, he merely occasionally slid the window back between his cabin and ours and grunted, throwing in the odd mangled English word that I swear he must’ve been taught about 10 minutes before we got in. ‘Hruh mumf spleurgh lizard mrurh grahh humf’. It was like Attenborough after a particularly bad stroke.
But just when we thought all was lost, we spotted a langur. It was our first langur moment so I enthusiastically set about capturing it for posterity in all it’s long-limbed glory. But we’ve since seen about 800 more that I plan to bore you with so I’ll just leave you with this one shot which I’ve named: EYEBROW GOALS.