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Paul & Luiza´s World Tour

A trip to Ski Lanka and India in 2003 - blood, sweat and beers!

SRI LANKA | Tuesday, 15 April 2003 | Views [86]

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

We are now in 2017 and this is the second "previously" story we're adding to the blog as it was an amazing trip undertaken before we started recording our travel stories.

The year is 2003 and we are living in Perth, Western Australia. To celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, we decide to go to Sri Lanka. After decades of civil war, the country is finally opening up again for tourists and we want to get there first. We know there are still parts of the country inaccessible to tourists but we decide to give it our best shot. I'm not going to claim I remember all the details, but again, we'll do our best!

We fly from Perth to Negombo, Sri Lanka and when we get there, there's an email from an Aussie/Indian friend, who has a house in Goa saying, "I'm here, come over for a few days!" and so we do. We catch a flight to Trivandrum, in Kerala, Goa and leave Sri Lanka to be explored on the way back. We are on a very tight schedule to catch our train to Goa but then Paul trips over a chain on his way to the ATM and is seriously hurt, including breaking several front teeth. We are so freaked out, we go inside the bank branch and the lady who work in the bank lent us some cash. Suddenly, we are on a rickshaw on our way to a hospital, then to a nice hotel followed by a visit to the dentist the next morning. It's a very stressful beginning on what turned out to be one of the most awesome trips EVER.

After a few recovery days, we finally make our way to Calangute, Goa to met up with our friend. Calangute is a very nice seaside town with a chilled atmosphere and a great restaurant scene. We're welcomed into our friend's home followed by an unforgettable lunch at the Golden Eye Restaurant, Paul's first meal in a few days. We enjoy the beach, the food, the cold beer, long walks and even long talks. Also staying in the house there is an old school friend of our Australian friend, with another friend and they invite us to see Mumbai, and of course, we say, YES! We catch a train to Mumbai and it's such a vibrant, amazing city, and even better if you are staying with friends who show you around and take care of you. They take us everywhere, we eat everything, from Bombay Duck (fish) to the best street food you can think of! We see temples and monuments and we are awed! On the last they, they take us for lunch at a posh Chinese restaurant, near the CBD where I mistakenly feast on the most delicious chili crab. The result? Food poisoning, me vomiting in technicolor at the train station, with the nice, concerned Indian ladies asking me if I am pregnant, in deep need of sympathy, I say, YES!

We manage to board the train going to Kerala where we make a pit stop and repay the nice lady from the bank who lent us money, she couldn't believe we went back there just for that, but seriously, we had to pay her back and say thank you for organizing the hospital for us. After spending some time in Kochi and Kovalam Beach and having the best Ayuverdic massage ever we hire a car with a driver for the day and get to see some amazing temples and also visit Kanyakumari, an incredible island with a temple where all the writings from a hermit Prophet are written on the walls. As there weren't many tourists around, we become instant celebrities and have our photos taken with loads of local tourists and school kids, it's hard to be famous! It now time to go back to Sri Lanka.

We fly back to Negombo and from there to Unawatuna beach. Obviously it all changed after the Tsunami the following year, and even more now with the heavy influx of tourists from all over the world, but it was a stunning beach, lovely warm ocean, surrounded by Buddhist temples and pagodas and fringed with coconut trees. We then decided to do a full road trip, hiring a car with a driver for 7 days. Our driver, Ruckman, is a young Hindu guy who is constantly puzzled by our willingness to see the Buddhist sites as well as the Hindu ones. It's a sensitive conversation but we get there in the end. We visit some incredible places, from Colombo, to Khandy (Temple of the Tooth), Nuwara Ellia (fantastic tea plantations), the unforgettable Dambula Cave Temples to the unique experience of the elephant orphanage. We also visited a unique temple complex where Buddhists and Hindus could worship together, build by a Hindu King and a Buddhist princess, under the reproachful eyes of our driver. After 5 days, we decided to go back to the beach. We had very stressful jobs at the time and needed a rest before we went back to Australia. We ended the road trip two days early and got almost killed by an electric storm on the way back to the beach, adventure is our middle name! After a few days on the beach, we went back home with some amazing photos and incredible memories from, as I said before, one of our best trips, EVER! That's it for now, till the next trip!

 

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