Surviving Sri Lanka part 7- Safari time
It goes without saying that I was still a bit sore the next morning, but I was feeling good enough to try riding again. The hardest part was my hip which was still quite stiff and sore from my crash the previous day, but as they say, “get back on the horse that bucked you,” so I was determined to get back on the bike. Sure I took it a bit slow, but it was a fairly decent ride as long as the weather held off.
Sadly, the weather did not hold off and it was back to the rain. It was a warm rain, but my concerns were more about the wet roads and not about the rain. There was one downhill that was particularly troublesome as it felt like the back tire of the bike was trying to slide out from under me. This was not my imagination as I rode the brakes down the mountain, but a flat tire, from a slow leak that happened as a result of the crash the day before. The second guide of our trip, Sanpat, was able to fix the tire in the rain in record time and we continued on our way through a town to catch up with the rest of the group.
The town was a bit harrowing as there was no sidewalk and we were weaving between cars, tuk-tuks, trucks, and vans. In one particular instance I was told to go around the truck only to be sandwiched between the truck, and a van coming in the opposite direction. To say I felt like Indiana Jones in the classic Venice boat chase in the Last Crusade would be an understatement. No crashes, though, even if it was a bit of a tight fit. After catching up with the group, the weather cleared up and it was a rather uneventful ride to the hotel, where the real fun began.
Yes, you heard that right, I got a chance to experience a safari. Now I have no basis for comparison as it was my very first, but it was still highly enjoyable. Frankly half the fun was just watching the unbridled joy of Kristen and Lupa as they got the driver to go faster. The highlight of the trip was a leopard that the other half of the group was able to see, but my car just wasn’t in the right place at the right time. I wasn’t really broken up about it as I wasn’t guaranteed to see it anyway and that how it goes sometimes. I did, however, have the chance to see and photograph plenty of flora and fauna of the park.
Wild Boar, or as my brother would say, “You are going to taste delicious.”
Peacocks- and yes, they can actually fly
Random tropical birds- and did you know birds have now been reclassified with reptiles?
Probably my best bird picture of the day
But, hey, the scenery was nice too
The hotel that night was quite nice, much better than some of the previous nights, but not the best hotel of the trip, but certainly above average. This was a welcome respite after the safari and while there was no hot tub, a soak in the pool was highly enjoyable. As you may remember, the trip picked up a few more people a few days ago at Kandy. However, on nights where we had more freedom for dinner it was interesting to note that our little band of four stayed together as something of a mini group separate from the rest of the tour. I don’t think that this was due to any sort of plan, but just happened and I think a major reason for it was that all of our additional travel buddies were husband and wife pairs or friends going on a trip together. Either way it was kind of nice to always have my little group for dinner.
Day 13- More rain… Well kind of
Day thirteen and the second to last day of the trip began with rain lots of rain, but seeing as this is the tropics I really can’t complain.
The ride this time was nice and flat- yes, you heard me right, completely flat with no hills. My legs rejoiced at this and it was a very enjoyable ride. It did, however, clear relatively quickly.
Day 13 was not without its own excitement and it didn’t involve me for once, though I did have a front row seat. While riding down a deserted stretch of highway a peacock of all things took flight right across the road, nearly hitting the riders in front of me. I was a bit late on the camera though.
I did finally get a nice closeup of a rather large monitor lizard, something I wanted since I almost ran over one earlier in the trip.
The final night of the bike tour was spent in a hotel on top of a mountain, in the middle of the rain forest. I feel some of you cringing as I type this and don’t worry, the hotel is nothing like staying in a ger in the Gobi Desert. It is something of a luxury resort and rather posh given the location.
Yes those are individual little bungalows that we had to walk to, but even that was on a nice well lit path.
Sadly, my camera is not adept at taking at taking pictures of the night sky, but it was a feast for the eyes. High up in the mountains with almost no light pollution the stars were out in full force. The night life also chimed in with a variety of animals putting on an evening orchestra that provided some interesting background music. It was not so loud as to be a distraction or prevent me from sleeping. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the food was good too.