Grin and Diana

Our travels around the world

Southeast Asia


Our plane landed at 8:15pm and after exchanging money and taking a half an hour taxi we arrived at our place at around 10. It wasn’t until the morning that we realized we had not only three bedrooms but also 3 balconies overlooking our tiny street noisy only with bird chatter and with a great view over the city.

View from our appt in Colombo

National Hospital

This is where Diana will be working! There are ~50 male patients on one ward and ~50 females on another, all cared for by one attending or “madame.” That’s what they all call her but when I picked it up one of the “registrars” (residents) shook his head and said “it’s a strange tradition that we call her that much less you.”

The walk home is ~1/2hr so I’ll probably usually take a tuk tuk (once I learn how to tell them where to take me). But most of the walk is through Viharamahadevi Park which is really quite lovely.

Red marker is the hospital. Blue dot is our apartment. national-hospital-this-is-where-diana-will-be_1 national-hospital-this-is-where-diana-will-be_2 national-hospital-this-is-where-diana-will-be_3 national-hospital-this-is-where-diana-will-be_4

Galle Face Green

We wandered around Galle Face park a little north around sunset. Many schoolchildren were playing and these snake charmers were happy to be photographed for a tip. Then went out to dinner at a little cafe.

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First Few Days in Colombo

On our walk home from Galle Fort we checked out Seema Malakaya meditation center situation in the mittle of South Beira Lake.

Commones cafe is really delicious as well as convienant, and cheap by American standards if not Sri lankan (our tab was ~$10 for us both - one standard “rice and curry” meal is ~200 rupees / ~$1.50). Looks like the pictured chicken kottu and veggie curry rotti might be staples in our diet.

We’ll stop with the balcony pics after this but it’s really pretty nice out there. In the mornings there are usually groups of rose-ringed parakeets that fly by as well as healthy looking crows everwhere and chimpmunks scurring across the rooftops.

first-few-days-in-colombo-on-our-walk-home-from_0 first-few-days-in-colombo-on-our-walk-home-from_1 first-few-days-in-colombo-on-our-walk-home-from_2 first-few-days-in-colombo-on-our-walk-home-from_3 The largest of the 3 geckos I've spotted in or around our house Commons cafe first-few-days-in-colombo-on-our-walk-home-from_6 Amazing sunsets

Train to Kandy

Train ride was fantastic. The scenery was beautiful and we got to stick our heads far out the window and feel the breeze the whole way there. The people on the train were friendly, and the kids loved us. Stayed at a lovely Blue Haven guesthouse outside the city where we saw this crow amid the mist. Asked if a plant was papaya - turns out it’s “king coconut.”

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Helga's Folly

We decided to walk to dinner from the train station to take in the city. It was pretty dark at this point, but the walk along the lake was nice. After the walk, we hiked a small hill to get to Helga’s Folly - a hotel/restaurant inspired by Dali’s art. The lights were dim, walls were covered in paintings and murals, and the whole place had a somewhat dreamlike quality to it. The food sucked, but we didn’t let that ruin the experience for us.

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Blue Haven Guesthouse

We wanted to spend the night at Burmese Rest, a super-cheap super-basic hostel run by monks, but our tour guide convinced us to go to the Blue Haven guesthouse. It turned out to be a great choice. The guesthouse is nestled in a quiet valley outside the city. There were tons of birds in the morning amid the mist and king coconut growing right outside our window.

blue-haven-guesthouse-we-wanted-to-spend-the_0 blue-haven-guesthouse-we-wanted-to-spend-the_1 Breakfast terrace at the Blue Haven guesthouse in Kandy blue-haven-guesthouse-we-wanted-to-spend-the_3 blue-haven-guesthouse-we-wanted-to-spend-the_4

Udawatta Kele Sanctuary\_Kele\_Sanctuary

The map of the trails left something to be desired, but we still stumbled upon a tribe of around 20-30 monkeys playing. A monk came by as we watched and seemed amused at our excitement, noting that they are “everywhere” and that many creatures can be seen in these woods if we approach quietly. He spoke superb english and also gave us the handy warning that there are many leaches in the area but they are really quite harmless.

udawatta-kele-sanctuary_0 udawatta-kele-sanctuary_1 udawatta-kele-sanctuary_2 udawatta-kele-sanctuary_3 Spot the Crocodile? udawatta-kele-sanctuary_5 Giant bamboo next to the hermit's hideout See the Toque monkeys hiding in the leaves? udawatta-kele-sanctuary_8 udawatta-kele-sanctuary_9

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic\_of\_the\_Tooth

Arrived during puja (prayer time) to hear chanting and be swept amid a large mass of people through the central area where theoretically the Buddha’s tooth is housed in a series of 6 gold dagoba caskets.

temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_0 temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_1 temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_2 temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_3 temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_4 temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_5 temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_6 temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_7 The tree under which the Buddha meditated for 7 straight days temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_9 temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_91 Central area of the temple very crowded during puja with people carrying flowers and babies temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_93 temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_94 temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic_95