March 24, 2013
I can truly say I have never been greeted at the port dock by an elephant before. It was unique but I felt so sorry for him standing there in the hot sun with everybody gathering around him wanting their picture taken. We did not have a ship’s tour set up and there is no shuttle service into town so we decided t o just wing it, there were a lot of market stalls right on the pier if nothing else. I was approached by a tour company offering a tour $20 pp., I gathered up three others to join us. We were told the drivers spoke English, well not exactly. Sri Lanka is predominately Buddhist so our first stop was a Buddhist temple, complete with a baby elephant, really! I Have never seen so many Buddha statures in one place. Off to a Hindu temple, where there was a service in progress, I didn’t understand a single word they said but it sure was interesting to watch. The men do wear shirts for the service or when entering the sacred temple within and there are no pews or chairs, everyone sits on the marble floor. When entering either the Buddhist or Hindu temple you must remove your shoes, luckily I had footies on but you can imagine what they look like afterwards, I will never get them white again.
Sri Lanka just opened up again to tourism after many years of civil unrest, we saw a very large military presence in the streets plus we had military boats patrolling with 50 caliber machine guns on board.
Have to say Colombo is not a very attractive city, the people were friendly enough though.