A few weeks ago I wrote a post on 20 of my favorite places in the world. I decided that I wanted to share some of my travel stories with you from a few places on that list. So today we’ll start with Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka was one place that left a lasting impression on me. I traveled there while I was still working as Emirates cabin crew. I was super lucky to get a rare 3-day layover in Colombo and couldn’t be happier about it. The first day we arrived to Sri Lanka I felt totally blissed out. Our hotel was right on the beach and as I sat there drinking my coconut water (out of an actual coconut of course!) I knew it was going to be a great trip. While traveling in Sri Lanka a few interesting things happened that I’d like to share with you.
Meeting the fishermen
As mentioned above, our hotel was located on a beautiful beach in the city of Negombo close to Colombo. On our second day there I strolled along the shore and about a mile away from the hotel I came across some fishermen. At that very moment I felt like I was in a page of the book The Old Man and the Sea.
The fishermen were using thread to sew up their fishing nets. It looked like a rather complicated process, but I realized that they were experts in what they did. I remember standing there and thinking that these men go out nearly every day of their lives to fish for their livelihood. The fishermen—like most people in Sri Lanka—were a jovial group and joked around asking if I’d like to come fishing with them.
Well, I’m glad I didn’t take them up on their offer! Later in the day I saw some of the fishermen out at sea in their boats. It was torrentially raining and I could see their sails—which looked as if they were made from blankets on a bed— flailing around in the wind. Those men were truly hard workers! I’m glad I took that stroll along the beach and got to see their lives in action. I bet they are out to sea as I’m writing this.
Elephants are such magnificent creatures
Another highlight of my trip was going to Pinnawalla elephant orphanage. The orphanage first started off as a sanctuary for wild Asian baby elephants that were found roaming in the wild. Since then it has grown not only into an orphanage, but also a nursery and captive breeding ground for Asian elephants.
When I went to the orphanage there were a few baby elephants and a large herd of adult elephants. I think it was about 80-90 elephants in total. It was really magical seeing the elephants in their natural environment. We even got to see them when they went for their daily bath in the river. I’ve got to admit, there is nothing cooler than seeing a herd of elephants playing in the water together! They are such amazing creatures.
(As an aside, I’d like to note that I am a huge advocate for proper care of animals and the kinds of nature parks I visit. Since I traveled to Sri Lanka in 2013 I have read several accounts of tourists that they believe the elephants at the orphanage are being mistreated for tourist purposes. Although I cannot attest to this, I would like to tell you that it is important to research the state of the animal parks before you go to them. The point of visiting these places should be for educational purposes. Not to exploit the animals.)
My pen pal Mr. A. Wiggin
One of the best parts of traveling in Sri Lanka was meeting my wonderful pen pal Mr. A. Wiggin. While we were on our road trip through Sri Lanka we stopped at the Temple of the Tooth, which is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy. While wandering outside of the temple, I came across an older gentleman who was using a typewriter for his work.
My father used to always write on typewriters and loved using them. So I went over to the man and asked him if I could take a photo to send to my father. He didn’t ask any questions and just nodded his head and said yes. After we took the photo he quickly started typing something on his typewriter and pulled out the piece of paper and handed it to me. On the paper it read, “please send me a copy of the photograph,” with his name and address written below it as well. I smiled and told him that I definitely would when I returned to Dubai.
When I returned to Dubai, I made a copy of the photograph and sent him a letter explaining that my father also loved using typewriters. From that moment on, Mr. Wiggin and I have been pen pals. We write to each other every couple of months to keep in touch. He keeps asking me when I will return to Sri Lanka with my boyfriend, because he and his wife would like to show us around. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that sooner than later we will find a way to go to Sri Lanka and meet my dear friend Mr. Wiggin.
If you asked me what one of my favorite things about traveling I would definitely say meeting amazing people is one of them! Meeting people like Mr. Wiggin makes traveling worthwhile.
Would you want to go to Sri Lanka?
I can promise you that any place I write about on my blog is a place I highly recommend visiting. By far, Sri Lanka is definitely one of them. Although I just pointed out a few details from my trip to Sri Lanka, there are so many other wonderful aspects of the country. What I can tell you is the people, the landscape, the culture and the food are all amazing. It is a place I would go back to in a heartbeat if I had the chance. So, what about you? Have you been to Sri Lanka? Or would you go if you had the chance? Let me know in the comments 🙂