A Travellerspoint blog

Homecoming

overcast 6 °C

We're back in the UK now - can't say "back home" as we haven't got one any more.

When we planned the trip we thought March would be a nice time to return - the start of Spring with fresh new growth on the trees and daffodils brightening up the gardens. We can't believe how cold it is - although we shouldn't really complain since we've missed all the really cold weather. It was also really grey and miserable when we first got back - a real change from the vibrant colours of Sri Lanka - the blue skies, green sea, luxuriant plants and flowers growing everywhere. But the last two days have been sunny and a bit warmer and there are some signs of Spring.

Spring crocuses

Spring crocuses

We're now looking forward to catching up with family and friends and maybe planning our next trip!

We've really enjoyed our travels. It's really hard to identify highlights or the best bits but if we had to then our Oscars would go to:

Best Scenery: Nepal Himalaya
Best View: Machhapuchre (Fishtail) Mountain in the Annapurna Range
Best Building: Golden Temple in Amritsar (sorry Taj Mahal)
Best Fort: Mehrangarh in Jodhpur
Best City: Mumbai
Best Wildlife: Malabar Giant Squirrel in Periyar (sorry tiger)
Best Meal: Vegetarian thali at Keshari in Varanasi
Best Street Food: Tie between samosas in Jodhpur and rotis in Mirissa
Best Drink: Makhania Lassi in Jodhpur
Best Beach: Agonda in Goa
Best Journey: Flight into Kathmandu with views along the Himalaya
Best Bus Journey: No, we can't think of one

Posted by armrig 15.03.2010 10:14 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

West Coast

35 °C

We spent our last few days in Sri Lanka on the west coast. We caught the bus from Galle, with one of the craziest bus drivers of the whole trip. The buses tend to fill up from the back and we were sitting behind the driver with far too close a view of the oncoming traffic. Fortunately a policeman got on half way through the journey and sat right at the front next to the driver - who was then transformed into Mr Sensible.

We've travelled along nearly all of the south coast and half way up the west. The road hugs the coast and is really scenic - although there is much more evidence of the tsunami on the west coast. It was even hotter on the west coast than on the south - the sand on the beach was too hot to walk barefoot. Even the locals were finding it uncomfortably hot and the newspapers were attributing it to an El NiƱo effect. The west coast beaches aren't as picture postcard perfect as the south and the sea was still too rough to swim in.

We stayed in Induruwa, mainly to visit the turtle hatcheries there and in nearby Kosgoda - the beaches around here are the nesting grounds for five species of marine turtles: the Green Turtle, the Leatherback, the Hawksbill, the Loggerhead and the Olive Ridley. The hatcheries, which are supposed to greatly improve the baby turtles' chances of survival, were all destroyed in the tsunami but have now been rebuilt - thanks mainly to foreign donations and sponsored tanks. The eggs are collected by local fishermen and sold to the hatcheries (rather than in the markets, destined for omelettes) where they are kept in nests until they hatch. They are then put into water tanks for 3 days, until their navels close, and then released into the sea at night.

The hatchery we visited is funded by entrance fees and donations and the visit was much more hands-on than we expected. We were shown the nests then our guide started digging into one nest that contained a mixture of eggs and new hatchlings and took out two baby green turtles for us to transfer to the water tank.

Turtle nests

Turtle nests

Green turtle hatchlings in the nest

Green turtle hatchlings in the nest

Green turtle hatchlings

Green turtle hatchlings

Turtles in the tank

Turtles in the tank

The hatchery also has some disabled adult turtles - Sue was handed this incredibly heavy blind turtle and was afraid of dropping it. We weren't really sure that handling the turtles was appropriate, but we weren't given much choice.

Heavy turtle

Heavy turtle

We decided not to visit Colombo just passing swiftly through on the bus on the way to Negombo for our final night before flying back to the UK.

Posted by armrig 14.03.2010 11:05 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

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