So I’m jumping on the blog-bandwagon. I figured that for the next year while I’m out of the country in Bangladesh, instead of bothering people with a flood of impersonal mass emails, I would post it all in a one of these hip and trendy blog thingies, so that those interested could read about my life as they pleased. I have an affinity towards digression and half of what I write will probably be more like journal entries for myself to reread one day than anything else... but enjoy...

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Road to Giritalle

Day 2 was spent fighting the new jet lag. Then off to our road trip on Thursday September 15. It was pops, Yas Maami, and Rookie Maami. Wonderful company… Rookie Maami brought several boxes of pastries which were eaten as breakfast and lunch.

Schoolchildren

We bought some handmade woven shirts on the way and saw weavers in action.

Enroute to Giritalle we stopped at the 1st century BC Buddhist caves of Dambulla (not allowed to take pictures of caves)... lots of adorable rabid monkeys running around...

Dambulla

Enroute to Giritalle we stopped at the 1st centuary BC buddhist caves at Sigirya, the Lion Rock. Legend has it that King Kasyapa murdered his father King Dhatusena by walling him up alive. To protect himself from his brother Mogallana who rightfully deserved the throne, he built the palace-fortress on Sigiriya. Kasyapa eventually committed suicide after his troops abandoned him.

I think the whole place is UNESCO World Heritage site… apparently there’s a petition for it be named the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World. It seemed a lot smaller than the last time when I climbed it, from how large it seemed when I climbed it a decade ago.

The Frescos are gorgeous… sort of graffiti from back in the day.

Banyon Tree near Sigirya

Sigirya



The Sigirya Frescoes

Before the summit, is a landing where there are the lion’s paws, the remains of what used to be a lion’s head as an entrance to the summit.

The "Lion's Foot" Staircase to the Summit

Climbing to the top

More Monkeys

The top of the rock was amazing… a truly breathtaking view. In the distance I saw many acres being burned, for the purpose of the old school slash and burn type quick n’ easy farming methods… sad to see people still using this unsustainable farming method that deteriorates the soil.



The Summit

I dragged my IPod up to the top and sat with my feet hanging over the edge, closed my eyes, and listened to an hour long mediation CD, witnessing my breath, and listening to my heart beat… it is very energizing to ponder the world from on top of the world. It’s amazing the high you can get from simply breathing… It’s funny, sitting on top of the world, observing beauty, my instincts would tell me to reach for a cigarette to help take it all in. But I’ve been good on this trip, with an intial impetus to not smoke due a wisdom tooth that I had removed. But I’ve kept it up… breathing a nicer high than nicotine.

It’s interesting how the IPod, yes obviously an overly trendy gadget in this day and age, has revolutionized the way in which I experience the world. Obviously there were CD players in the past, but you could never take your entire CD collection with you… now anywhere, anytime, on a whim I can bring about or accentuate an emotion… having a soundtrack to life makes it a bit surreal… makes it more colorful.


Chillin

Apparently pops got a shot of me while I was at the top... the world may never know...

Maybe Me

The last stop of the day was the Minneriya Wildlife Sanctuary. We took a little bit of a safari in a jeep and had an amazing sighting of over 150 elephants in about 4 or 5 herds… and about 30 baby elephants varying in age from about 2 weeks to about 2 months… awwwww… cute.









Minneriya Wildlife Sanctuary

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