14 May 2012
Alas, it is our last day in Sri Lanka. After a quick dip we have breakfast where we are entertained by the antics of a couple of friendly local squirrels. They like Jack-fruit but not mango – picky little buggers. But sooo cute.
The ever reliable Joseph picks us up at midday to head back to Colombo and the airport. Along the way we stop at the tsunami memorial I mentioned in a previous post. The woman at the coconut stand was a survivor of the tsunami. She told us how she was at the beach the day the wave came and was swept 800 m inland by the first wave. She miraculously survived but her 22 year old son, who went to the beach to find her, was killed in the second wave. The second wave, which was the biggest was over 15 m high, higher than the coconut trees in the photos.
Our next stop was at the Natural Moonstone Mine and Gem Palace. There was also cinnamon tree farm, where they were preparing the spice for sale. Howard brokered a good deal for a post (KMW) business sale reward. A lovely single sapphire to be made into a ring when we get back home.
Along the way we passed a tea plantation. Joseph stopped and we speak to the old lady picking the tea leaves. She has to pick at least 25 kilos per day, or risk being paid for only 1/2 a day. For 100 RP she let us take her photo and explained the picking process.
We then ventured onto the new inland toll road – it was gloriously empty. I think there were actually more police cars and maintenance crews than cars on the road. It cost 300 RP and saved 3 hours compared to the coast road. However nothing could save us from traversing the congested roads of Colombo to get an hotel near the airport hotel. Joseph to the rescue again, finds us a hotel and drops us off for dinner and a few hours sleep before returning and picking up us at 1:00 in the morning.
We are on a 3:15 am flight to Dubai and then on to Athens. Yeah!