This Is Little England

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We arrived at Colombo International airport after dark where a hoard of hungry rickshaw drivers awaited us outside the terminal. I started an auction to see who would take us to the city for the best price. A bidding war commenced, the winner was a driver with the most wobbley head I’d seen in a long time. We were, without a shadow of a doubt, in Sri Lanka.

Now over the last six months, I’ve stayed in some pretty rough hotels and guesthouses, but you know you’re not onto the a good thing when the guy showing you the room comes out with this, “A few things you need to know, keep the doors closed, keep the windows closed and what ever you do, never open that window over there, because if the rats get in, we have a problem.” After a sleepless night I didn’t quite understand what he meant, there was never a chance of the rats getting in, as this place was so dirty even the rats turned their noses up at it…

I’ve passed through Colombo a few times before without having any desire to look around this sprawling city, and I still don’t, hence we headed straight up to the hill country. It’s difficult to get a seat on third class Sri Lankan train, time to use my imagination…

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The scenic seven hour train ride to Nuwara Eliya makes its way through some lovely vallys, pretty waterfalls and many small Sri Lankan villages, including Alawwa, the town where the phrase ‘Alawwa the shop’ was coined…

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It’s a long journey for some

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Like a Sri Lankan Stand By Me

Nuwara Eliya is one of Sri Lanka’s highest towns, and the climate is a lot cooler than the rest of the country, perfect. The town itself has generated the nickname ‘Little England’ for its resemblance to my motherland. I don’t mean the urban decaying, 80’s council estate England with an alarmingly high rate of knife crime, I mean the pleasant, countryside England where you’re likely to find Toad of Toad Hall…

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The post office is oh so very English

We took a walk to ‘Lovers Leap’, a waterfall that, legend has it, was the location where a couple of star crossed lovers leaped to their fate. What I think really happened is this, after a long sweaty trek up the hill, the lad had enough of the lass’ moaning over the mild heat so threw her over the edge, only to slip and fall down after her, a situation I could totally relate to by the time we’d reached the top of the waterfall…

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After only a few weeks I was reunited with my good friend, the Lionel Richtea plantations. Ceylon is one of the world’s leading suppliers of tea. The most famous company being Dilmah, whose name you will find in the small print of a Tetley tea bag. Walking through the plantations for me, was absolutely stunning, every tea plucking lady we passed give us a huge smile, a cheeky head wobble, and seemed thrilled just to hear us say ‘hello’, to which they normally reply with ‘is it tea you’re looking for?’

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We’ve originally made this detour to Sri Lanka, a country I’ve become ever so familiar with, just to fix up our Indian visas. In the short time I’ve been back, I’ve remembered all the other things I love about Sri Lanka, looks like I’ve found what I’ve been looking for. Welcome back to the Subcontinent.

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Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “This Is Little England

  1. Mavis

    Just back on the site lost link. wonderful experience in pictures. gaining experience with the camera. You have a nice way of giving commentary I am expecting to see you looking older the months are passing by. Your mother is thrilled to see you on Skype makes you close they both miss you here. Will look closer and read more when get jobs done in garden. Take care of yourselves. Mavis neighbour who gives your dad a headache.

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