Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why it's hard to leave Portugal behind...

Job crisis, strikes, criminal politicians, poor social support, very poor health support, not so much "fiesta" as in Spain where you can meet your friends everyday (here you have to ask them "common! just one beer..."), BUT then you have this, and this is something you really miss...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

SRI LANKA - Hand shaped island

Exactly as its shape, Sri Lanka is a whole hand of richness in nature and heart-felted people. Nature is lush and varies a lot from the West part, to the Hill country, changing again in the East Coast. The same happens with the people who live in those areas.

The West is more business oriented and the rhythm is faster than anywhere else in the island. The East is chilled, is honest trust and "pay me later". It's the sun and the ocean in everyone's eyes. The Hill Country is the greenest green, and is far (with all the winding roads, 100km can take you 3 hours to do by car). Covered with tea plantations, here is where you most feel the British dominant influence. Colonial houses, hierarchies and too much tourist exploitation (for example, as a tourist you will always pay 5 times more than any local. Proof? The entrance for the famous Ancient City Sygiria costs 50 Rupies to locals, and 3700 (=30$) for tourists)

The surf is great! Warm water, nice waves (a bit too crowded) and welcoming surf locals. I rented a surfboard which costs around 7€ a day, but, don't expect to get a nice cool balanced board. Most boards are like decomposed corpses. Old, sun yellowed, easily breakable... but, I'm kind of glad I didn't bring mine. Dinging a board is for sure on the menu.

Sri Lanka is a great approach to Asia, for it's manageable, friendly and safe. No vaccines required, mosquitos will surround you and bite you more than once, but nothing crazy. Citronella is the key to keep them away! The people are appreciative of what they have, and most definitely you can sense their gratitude towards having survived the 2005 Tsunami (30.000 people died, many lost all they had), and gratitude for having finally peace after the Tamil Tigers civil war, that ended in 2009.

There are many interesting things to do. For me the best were surfing and climbing up Adam's Peak.

Adam's Peak is a mountain (2300 meters high, 5000 steps, 7km up, two and half hours non-stop climbing up, 2 hours climbing down) that is known for being sacred (like most of nature is for them*), and people climb it during the night to watch the sunrise on the peak. That sunrise is to be felt as a miracle for the new day, the new opportunity to do it right, the perfect time to ask god for some enlightenment. Really special : ) But be prepared, your legs will hurt for at least 4 days. People will notice you've done it ; )

The other special moment is too watch again the sunrise, but standing on your surfboard, in blue warm waters, with big turtles surfacing to catch their breath and diving in again. A-wait for it- mazing!

Here the pictures of the big adventure! Thank you!

*We asked to one of our drivers: Was anyone ever killed because of a coconut falling in their head, there are so many... Answer: Oh! Never! The palm tree is a sacred tree, it gives everything a man needs, from it's roots to the leaf! Palm oil, fabric, wood...