Driving Through Sri Lanka
I started in Negombo, walking through the city watching how the locals live. I love wandering down side streets to find little gems that are often missed my tourists. I found some fun local eateries and then went on a boat tour of the area. The tour itself wasn't all that exciting, but it was fun to pick the brain of a local.
From Negombo I headed south with a first stop in Hikkaduwa. I walked through the town and found a place to go diving. I had pretty low expectations of the diving here based on the water conditions, but was pleasantly surprised by the quality of small see life and terrain. It was basically a big boulder field with all kinds of short caves to swim through. From Hikkaduwa, I headed south for more water time in Mirissa, then bolted across the country to the East side where I could surf a little in Arugam Bay.
I didn't get the best surf (especially having just left Indonesia), but it was still a good experience. There was an old man in the water with a flute of some sort and we would catch a wave and ride it while playing tunes. That was definitely the first time I've seen something like that! From Arugam Bay I headed inland for a little hiking and a train ride.
I stopped in Ella and hiked the Ella Rock trail. It was pouring rain and there was quite a bit of lightening, but I got through it unscathed. The end view was somewhat covered by clouds, but it was pretty cool to feel the exposure of a pretty high cliff with no one around. The trail was semi-unclear but there was a dog that led me the right way. I know that sounds crazy, but this dog would wait at every branch in the trail to make sure I went the right way. I had never experienced something like that! I wanted to give him a treat at the end, but he took off once I got back.
I heard a train ride through the tea country was a must do, so I hopped on the train from Ella to Kandy. It was a LONG ride in a very crowded train. It was nice to see, but I would not do it again. Because I had a car, I had already seem a lot of the countryside people enjoyed seeing by train. Either way, it was a unique experience and I got to hang off the side of the train, which is something I would never get to experience in America. After taking the train back to Ella, it was time to head back towards the major city of Colombo for my flight home.
I booked a flight with a day layover in Tokyo on the way home so I could explore another city. I love Japan the first time I went and was excited to eat more good food and check out some shrines. I lucked out and ended up there at the tail end of cherry blossom season so that was a nice treat. I visited one of the local parks and wondered for a few hours before searching out some local food. Then it was time to head home and get back to work.