Kandy

I deliberate at length about whether I should go to Adams peak or not. For a number of reasons I decide against it. Weather, knees, energy level and time to go anywhere else afterwards. Sp I’m on the kandy train and spend the first hour next to a railway security officer. Actually we would call him a guard. He is wearing a khaki uniform that doesn’t fit his skinny body too well. And is very tatty. His cap is oversize and black with a red badge. Yellow stained teeth. It seems a moustache is a prerequisite for the job.

Kandy seems like a metropolis compared with the hill country. Traffic, traffic jams, people, modern shops, a mall, a KFC. The centre is a lake, reminding me of Hanoi with the sacred holy tooth temple across the water, the chants of the monks atmospherically amplified bouncing around the hills. My guesthouse has a view of the place from the balcony which i nearly fell off so rickety is it.

Everyone is slowly re emerging from last nights drinking party. Which involved guesthouse staff, tik tuk drivers and travellers from disparate parts. Ralf tells a joke about Latin grammar then gets stuck into his first arrack experience. This takes him through many mood changes culminating in a mock hitler speech including gestures from the balcony. Unfortunately he cannot rise to the challenge of doing a papal address in Latin the the style of hitler. Maybe I set the bar too high.

Sleep is peppered with dreams of re visited pasts, alternative realities, seemingly centred around bath, captain bobs. Lee, again. 3 times I. Have dreamt about him since his death. I think there is some guilt or regret that I didn’t see him again, nor go to his funeral. Sleep is also punctured by a variety of crazy soundscapes: a dog fight and a drunken drumming an d singing party.

The morning has blue sky and intense sun. Fran and I go to the Muslim hotel restauarnt for breakfast. Fran complains about salty food and sweet drinks. Men pouring tea from cup to saucera nd sipping from the latter. I guess it cools it.

The town is busy, probably because it’s Sunday.small people pushing past with umbrellas against the sun. At the entrance to the temple of the tooth there are security checks and hoarders of locals.the queues are long and I don’t fancy the crowd, so I explore the surrounding buildings. A reclining Buddha temple, a boddi tree, a chelli, intermingled with some older crumbling Hindu temples. Most people are dressed in white. Grannies in saris, young boys in white polo shirts leading them into the temple. There is an elderly elephant draped in chains posing for photos. The usual burning of incense, lighting of candles. Monks a refew and far between.

Man circles the Hindu shrine 5 times clockwise with a coconut, at each complete revolution he kneels holds it to his heada nd bows. On completion he smashes it on second attempt in a cage in front of the shrine.

It’s actually too hot for me. I do a quick once around the town then a loop of the lake where I buy a holographic poster of the holy tooth shrine.at least I guess that’s it!

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