Leaving tissa, arriving in Ella
Today is poja, the full moon. It seems that everyone is doing something special. The safari park for example was visited by many locals. In the road I see many boys in white sarongs returning from the temples. On the veranda at travellers home the tv is showing a Monk delivering prayers to an outdoor crowd. Before leaving I take some pics of the workers in the muddy paddies, say goodbye to the guide, Simla, who is already on his bike heading home. I make fond goodbyes to umani and Ivon sings me another song, one he wrote. About love, quite sad, but joyous at the same time.
Ebert hears from a driver called gamini who is returning to Ella, so he organises a cheapish ride for me. The journey includes a stop at a roadside Curry shack, where a 1950s valve radio is broadcasting jolly Sri Lankan music.
From the car I see smartly dressed kids, families stopping to buy melons at fruit stalls. Lazy dogs skulk over road or lie in the middle. They are king. One bares his teeth at another Gamini tells me he needs to keep down the speed
Cops often stop and pocket a bribe.
Then I remember the rather comic and slightly disturbing sight from the day before of a Motorbike driving school behind tissa bus station. Wobbly new riders Weaving around 4 cones. I wonder whether there really is a licence, and what it means.
We take a short detail through some villages, along dusty tracks where kids are playing cricket, past more peacocks fanning their tails to a a temple grounds. We are here for me to view the 9th. Century 52 ft high buduruwadala Buddhas carved into the rock face.
As we climb through Ellagap we arrive at the foot of Ravana falls. Gamini oddly gets his car washed while I wander among the locals. An old barefoot man in a baseball hat pushes some crystals into my hand. I later give him some English coins. I snap some pics of a jolly family on a day out, on the bridge. Ther are guys roasting corn over fires, betel stained old men offering to be my guide. Meet me at the curd shop…a couple of awkward shy monks. I plough into a conversation which is rather undeveloped. The focus is reversed when he asks me about my religion, so I wax lyrical about Buddhism as the most acceptable one.
We arrive in Ella at dusk. Gamini takes me to a “friend'” ‘ s guesthouse above a place called fish an d chips. I immediately sense it is a dump, and foolishly check in then check out again 30 minutes later.the noise and rattle and shake from the traffic,passers hand music from the restaurant are unbearable. The owner is reluctant to let me go and tries to persuade me to stay in another property which is off the road in the darkness, it feels a bit lonely and creepy. I pay off the disgruntled owner and climb in the darkness 100 meters to ravana holiday resort . I follow a German couple who happen to be my neighbours: Yvonne and giacomo. Wee chat on the veranda and they invite me to share their amazing banquet of curries.
It’s rainy, misty, a bit chilly. I can’t reach Fran, though I know she is in Ella somewhere.