Fiona and Ash's Gap Year Extravaganza travel blog

the cruelty!



Elephant Orphanage Me and Laura

The spice garden/outdoor massage parlour

A modest statue in Victoria Park

Hindu Temple

Laura Birthday

Mumsy and Dadsy

Hello! We're back from our holiday. Yes that's right you get holidays from all the hard work of gap yearing. We spent two weeks in the Mount Lavinia Hotel with my Mum and Dad and sister Laura. It was great to see them again I can't believe it has only been four weeks (six now) since we left. It feels like a year. It took Ash and I almost as long to get to Mount Lavinia as it did the other Whyties. Although it's a similar distance as from Leighton Buzzard to Milton Keynes we had to take three buses and a tuk-tuk. This resulted in exhaustion which meant all we could do for the rest of the day was watch ESPN (Ash), read on the balcony (me) and order room service. Having proper dairy for the first time in a month was great but I could only eat half my meal it seemed so rich.

At about 5am lozzy mum and dad got there. We had been waiting since 4 and were entertained by people leaving the hotel's resident nightclub "The Hut". They weren't being sick like they would be back home but there was a fight involving a very drunk woman who was slapping everyone and the police.

We took our time at the hotel very seriously. I made sure none of the money spent on the bed, hot showers and swimming pool was wasted. I got my moneys worth on the buffet as well! Yum! If I had actually lost any weight since I'd been here I would have easily put it all back on so its lucky I hadn't or it would have all been for nothing.

We had our first experience of Odels. Famously Sri Lanka's only department store and most expensive shop in the country. I got a French Connection shirt for £3 and a Triumph bra for £1.50.

A large portion of our time was invested in relaxing and swimming (or more accurately sitting in the pool). However we did manage to squeeze in a little culture. We went to a craft village where you could watch people make jewelry, lace, batik, leather etc and then buy it off them - hehe. Laura got a lovely ring.

We also went to Dambulla and Sigaria with the music teacher from our school Apsara, and her family. Sigaria is the ruins of a 5th century fort and palace on the top of a huge rock. It reminded me of going to Pompeii; they had loads of really clever architecture like the Romans such as ancient air-conditioning!! The view from the top was incredible. Dambulla is a cave temple with magnificent Buddha statues. There are hundreds of Buddha images all individual and beautifully decorated. Unfortunately we couldn't take any photos because it would damage them so you'll just have to take my word for it.

We went to Kandy (again) mainly to take The Whytes to see the Elephant Orphanage. Lauz and I both fed a baby elephant a bottle! Also we stopped off at a tea factory, maybe I have touched that cup of tea you're drinking right now; and a Auruvedic Spice Garden. I thought the spice garden was just going to be walking around looking at plants but we got cups of herbal tea and hot cocoa from a pod from the garden, and then we had massages with all of these products they were hoping you would buy. "All natural Madam, no side effect. You use this 12 months and then no problem ten to twelve years. Then all you have to do is drink some lemon juice after each meal"

It was Laura's birthday whilst they were here which was very exciting. We tried to go to an Art Gallery and Museum but it was another holiday so they were closed. They have a holiday about once a week here. Instead we went to the park, went to an aquarium and went shopping. Then it was back to the hotel for a swim and "High Tea" by the pool, followed by cocktails in the bar and all we could eat at dinner. Not bad for a 17th.

It was Sihala and Tamil New Year here also which they celebrate completely different to us. For a start they don't stay up til midnight. The celebration begins at the more auspicious time of about 6 in the morning when they all set off loads of fireworks. The rest of the day is based around auspicious times. ( I have no idea what this means but that is what they all tell you in their funny colonial English) These auspicious times are very precise. At 6:57am it is the auspicious time to leave for work and you must set out in a northerly direction. There are auspicious foods as well. These are all super sugary and if you ask what any one of them is, even though they all look completely different, the answer is: sugar, flour and coconut oil/milk/flesh and then you fry.

We're back in Wadduwa now and all unpacked. (Well I am) The other volunteers have gone away for the weekend somewhere so it's been boring today. Ash got a high score of 79,082 on Tetris. Lunch was horrible so we had to cheer ourselves up with a sacred Toblerone bar. Luckily dinner was absolutely delicious and we had a sort of macaroni cheese thing with loads of new year sugary stuff. We licked our plates.

I really miss Mum and Dad and Laura, having to say goodbye to them again was horrible. I'll be home in 127 days or 18 weeks and you'll have even more trouble shutting me up than you do already.

Now I'd better go and write in my proper diary because I'm two whole weeks behind. Oh yeah I had a shark steak. It was pretty good I'd eat it again. Kieran I have sent your postcard, I promise, you should get it soon.

Love Fiona x

p.s. got Reading tickets!

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