Our Digs in Kandy
It was pure joy to step out of our train carriage at Kandy to find the sun shining and feel its warmth. Nuwara Eliya was at 1,868 metres, cold and not called Little England for nothing, now at 488.6 metres above sea level and already feeling ‘more thawed’. I know I shouldn’t whine but we have acclimatised at thirty-eight degrees Centigrade and I know Plymouth was nine degrees yesterday making our eighteen nothing to pinch lips at but.......... just saying. Leaving the railway station and facing the mob of taxi drivers, one bullish chap said “2,000 rupees” and in seconds at my horror came down to “1500 best price”. We stepped outside and a handsome young tuktuk said “300” and in we got without bothering to haggle. I for one, am now getting a little tired of men seeing white, tourist older woman and thinking they can fiddle me.
Our chap, Chanaka chatted away in good English. We turned right at Kandy Lake and he pointed to the golden roof which is The Temple of The Tooth or Sri Dalaga Maligawa. We told him that we had indeed been to Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal and seen two of his teeth in Myanmar. “No, but this is more special”. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple. OK then.
All the buildings in the picture are part of what was The Royal Palace, I was more interested in the pretty, white building seen on countless tourist advertisements - Ulpange or Queens Bathing Pavilion. Standing partly in the waters, the wives and concubines of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe used the pavilion when bathing in the lake. After the British captured the city, they added another storey and used the building as a library. It is currently used as a police post.
The lake itself is artificial and was commissioned by the king and completed in 1807, before it had been a paddy field. The lake has a maximum depth of 18 metres, surface area of 47 acres and a shore length of 2.1 miles. The white wall (Walakulu Bammathat meaning clouds wall) surrounds half of the the lake and was built to look attractive, the triangular shaped holes in the wall were used in the past for lighting oil lamps on festival days. The king did not see it finished due to the city being captured by the British and King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe was forced to relinquish his Kandian kingdom.
I mention all this now in case we get no closer, we are here just two nights and the reason for our stay is to go to the Botanical Garden.
Chanaka took a road to the right at the corner of the lake, up a steep hill and pulled up to what can best be described as an unfinished project. “Look” he said “right address”, wrote his mobile number down, shook our hands and disappeared. Mmmm. Through the door we found a lounge and a sort of reception area. Beyond, was a room with bits and bobs.
One of the ‘bits’ on the floor brought back memories of long ago telephone calls.
The next room back.
Outside, Mmmm and almost a stream at the back.
Slight concern at this point as I sashayed past the rubbish and suggested Bear telephone. The ‘boss’ answered and told us to go upstairs for a proper welcome. To the left side of the building – yep – steep, disabled unfriendly stairs but at the top we were met by a lady worker. The boss had said she spoke little English but understood much.
We followed the pointing finger and Beds settled in a flash.
Our bedroom tiles, not the wildest bathroom we’ve had (great looking shower and Bear’s towel in bright pink will only cover from waist to nether regions.....), a narrow balcony with chairs and table. I took hold of the table and it is now in use as a desk beside my bed (two singles pushed together) and once I had taken the ticking clock off the wall, removed its battery and took down the bright pink, low hanging mosquito net all seemed perfectly comfy. Boosted as soon as our dear lady had brought extra pillows (Bear still coughing like a park bench tramp) and made a massive pot of tea. We thought about early supper but by four the loudest crack of thunder and the heaviest rain. Maybe later then.
View from our balcony.
Looking right, dead centre of the picture is a tiny building in the distance and if you screw your eyes up, there is Kandy Lake.....
Bear was soon test-driving his bed until a snore so loud, woke himself up. At this point having got well into the swing of our room, I wrote this blog in front of so many I am behind on. Now I leapt up as I felt, dear reader, that I had not done a thorough enough job with our room.
Our fancy door complete with hanging hooks. The edges each side could do with a little more finishing, methinks.
To the far side of the sink is a glass panel, shelves crossing on the other side and the window bits covered over with cardboard. Cannot fathom the bare brick above Bear’s attractive towel.
I don’t think the towel rail is there to last, the knob comes off and should be screwed in but there is just the hole of the rail itself so all free and easy. Behind the door is another glass panel similar to on the left. Bear tells me the other side is............a bookcase. Note – this B&B has only been ‘open’ a few months....... Anyhoo, after a shaky start our new digs have passed muster, five-bar wi-fi and at £15 a night with the promise of a massive breakfast, happiness reigns.
ALL IN ALL ANOTHER GOOD LAUGH
INITIAL BUILDING SITE BECOMES PANDORA’S BOX