The yachts at anchor in Galle's commercial harbour
Instead, the first disappointment came even before landfall, when the first
boats arriving in port alerted by e-mail that the Navy patrol inspecting all
incoming vessels for weapons (...) had been systematically robbing money for a
total of several thousand dollars from purses and wallets left too much in sight,
and that the scores of officials coming aboard were all requesting "bribes" in
the form of cigarettes, beers and even helping themselves from the yachts'
stores of expensive liquors...
(left) a peculiar fishing technique, typical of this area, and (right) a close encounter with an elephant
The disappointment continued during the coach-trip around the country which had been organised by the Rally: the countryside is beautiful, and there are lots of interesting historical sites to be seen, but in all tourist places we were invariably assaulted by all sorts of vendors, all very insistent and asking for inflated prices.
(left) the ancient city-fortress of Sigiriya (5th century C.E.) and (right) the cave temple of Dambulla (12th century)
Kandy: (left) pilgrims in the Dalada Maligawa temple cueing in front of the sacred relic attributed to the Buddha and (right) a traditional dance
In a country where a Tamil woman must work 8 hours on a hillside, bent to pick up at least 20 Kg of tea leaves to earn the equivalent of 3 Euros, one gets enraged at the wardens of a so-called "elephant orphanage" who offer to take your picture near a 35-years-old "orphan" elephant (???...) and then insist that you give them a tip in Dollars or Euros!
(left) the steep hills of the Nuwara Eliya region, covered by tea plants and (right) a group of "orphaned" elephants taking a walk in the river
Sadly, this is also a demonstration of the disasters that western tourists can
cause, having obviously spoilt these folks, as we already saw to a slightly
lesser extent in Bali: they are obviously poor and it seems right to help them,
but we have made a people of beggars out of them.
In the end, most yachts left ahead of schedule, bound for the
Maldives where we will have a short rest.
2 YEARS LATER, IN THE SAME WATERS.... (READ THE STORY OF "BACCUS")
Last Update: 21/09/2014
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