After a massively exhausting travel day, Lexi and I are in Sri Lanka! We left Seoul at 11:30 PM, arrived in Sri Lanka at 4:30 AM, and bounced from bus to train to tuk-tuk until we finally got to our hotel sometime in the afternoon. It’s strange to be back in a world of tuk-tuks and aggressive vendors after spending a few weeks in Japan and Korea, which were so clean and polite, but we were both at least more prepared for it now that we’d been to Cambodia and Thailand.
Travel here is somewhat terrifying. The first train we rode on shook as though it had been caught in an earthquake every time it started to move, and after the shaking the cars creaked and groaned in protest of the weight they had to bear down the tracks. Reserved seats do exist, but only on certain cars, and Lexi and I were not fortunate enough to get them. We found ourselves on the “unreserved” cars, which cannot sell out. This means they are absolutely jam packed, to the point that some people literally hang out of open doors at the end of each car. A packed train car on a 90 degree day after so much travel is not the most pleasant experience, but we made it work and found our way to Anuradhapura.
In Anuradhapura we had one day to see everything, and fortunately it only takes about three hours. We set out early and were back by noon, having seen ancient meditation spaces (there are old carvings and grooves worn out in the stone where people used to meditate, it’s actually very cool), stupas for various religious purposes (including one built because a guy felt bad about eating a curry or something. It seemed like something straight out of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), and the oldest tree in the world with a known planting date, said to have been a sapling from the tree under which the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment (over 2500 years old). It was actually a very cool day, and I was glad that we had come out to see everything here, even if it was a tremendous hassle to actually get there.
We’re now in the south of Sri Lanka, preparing to spend a couple of days on a beach before heading onwards to Greece and the rest of Europe!