Tuesday 23 September 2014

Day 149: To Kandy - Spices and sceptics

Entrance to the temple at
Nalanda Gedige
After bidding farewell to the amazing food at the Sigiriya Travel House (highly recommended, if you're ever passing that way), and to friendly fellow-travellers there - a Kiwi envoy to Saudi Arabia (as one is), an Italian investment banker who would rather be teaching yoga in Sri Lanka (I'll sign up for a yoga break here), and a group of German backpackers - we headed for Kandy.

But first we had to visit the sights along the way, requiring the removal of guess which items of clothing?  Hats off; shoes off, please sir.  In this case both Vishnu and Buddha had to be happy with our attire, as the Nalanda Gedige temple holds statues sacred to both faiths.  It is a very peaceful spot, although not as peaceful as it used to be, when it was located underwater.  Fortunately the archaeologists and government rescued it from a watery demise.

Our next stop was not only peaceful but wannabe zen.  Our guide around the spice garden showed us not only the vanilla, ginger, cardamom and pepper plants but also informed us how we could cure all potential illnesses by eating herbs and spices without recourse to surgery or other types of medicine.  My particular favourite was the Sthula Mardhani recipe, of which you can take a spoonful a day for four months and have a slender Hollywood body at the end of the course (even if you stuff yourself with chocolate cake the rest of the time?).

Colourful sculptures on the
Hindu temple in Matale
It's official, Virgin Active is no longer necessary (small blessings, I suppose), nor is an occasional break from over-consumption.  You just need this herb.  Oh yes, and carrots cure cancer too.  (Our guide didn't actually give us that last tip, but you get the idea.)  We just about restrained ourselves from saying that we believe in double blind clinical trials and peer reviewed scientific analyses of the results.  I am of course very happy to review my opinion of the slimming drug when provided with the same.  In the meantime, could someone pass me the steroid creams please?

Skipping the offered consultation with a herbal medicine doctor and the head massage, we made as quick an escape as we could and continued the journey to our hotel near Kandy.  It was a beautiful spot in the hills but they wanted to serve us a three-course European-style dinner, which wasn't our plan at all.  We managed to negotiate for an excellent rice-and-curry main course instead (do I sound obsessed with rice and curry yet?) but still received strawberry cheesecake for desert.  Bad plan.  I'm in Sri Lanka.  I want bananas and pineapples not a pink concoction that defies all strawberry cheesecake recipes known to man.  We'll settle for an episode of a Western drama before bed though: Breaking Bad Season Four.  Only one season to go.  Any recommendations for what to watch after that?

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