• Tara B. Vasi

Day 28 Sri Lanka: Lion Rock, Jumanji Elephant Chase

I woke up and started the kettle in my room. The hotel room came with some tea packets, but its cool, I brought my own coffee packets. I found some Super Rich coffee packets, the same ones I had in Thailand that I loved so much.

We met for breakfast. I had some fruit.

It’s not raining in the morning, but we know it’s a race against time before it starts to downpour again.

Today, we hike to the top of Lion Rock, or Sigiriya, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. Lion Rock was the palace used by King Kashyapa. He stayed in the palace with 502 women. There are two motes around the Rock Palace, gardens, and temples within the caves. It is listed as a world heritage site.

The place was really cool. You could see where they chiseled steps in the side of the rock, years and years and years ago. As we are entering we see guys congregating and swimming in one of the motes. Come to find out the heavy rains have caused flooding and the night before the flood water pulled down someones motorbike into the stream and the guys were looking for it.

There are many stray puppies surrounding the entrance and in the parking lot. There are tour busses and crowds of people.

We hiked up the stairs all the way to the top. We take a few breaks so our guide can share some information. There is a man selling bronze singing bowls. He plays one with a thick stick.

We were told not to bring food of any kind because the monkeys would steal our bag and go through it looking for the food. If you swiped a monkey away, they would most likely attack, so its better to just not tempe them. We are told not to make eye contact or, again, they will attack you. I’m starting to second guess this hike into monkey hell. WTF Monkeys.

At one point in the hike, you have to climb up a narrow three or four flights of stairs that are packed with people, because it is so busy. This is when the monkeys really lay into you and walk up and down the railing, sniffing and hunting. They know we, and our snacks, are all like sitting ducks, and have no where to go.

A monkey grabs my bag (I have almonds. I am NOT going on a hike without nuts) and steals a bug repellent towelette out of my side pocket. He opens it and sniffs it and when he realizes its not food the mother fuckerTHROWS IT BACK AT ME!!

A monkey and a Chinese woman play tug of war with her purse. Other monkeys come to join and tear through all her personal belongings, destroying the purse, to get to fruit she was carrying. The guy she was with tried to hit the moneys off her stuff and one monkey lunged at the guy and then fled.

The top of the rock was absolutely beautiful. There was green all around us.

It starts to rain and it takes is for ever to get down because there are so many people going down at the same time. We are on the monkey stairs and I start to panic when I see a monkey come up the railing. I have no where to go! Luckily, he leaves me alone. Fucking monkeys.

Even though its raining a bit, after lion rock we opt to head to a National Park known for having a large number of elephants. Because of the heavy rains they all relocated to the higher ground at this park.

Its been a while since we had breakfast, but we didnt want to waste any time for lunch, so we bought coconut biscuits and sesame juggary candies to hold us over.

We saw SO MANY elephants and so many BABY elephants too. We were too close to one herd apparently because the group leader decided to trumpet and chase us away. I never thought I’d ever be chased by an elephant. Thats so Jumanji and so fucking rad!

The elephant that chased us away was not the mama. The group was all female and the group leader could be an aunt, or a friend.

The rain really starts to come down, so we decide to end the safari. We head back to the hotel and eat vegetable fried rice for our 4pm Lunch. We split and go our separate ways to our rooms and even though its 6pm, I go to sleep for the night. I wake up at 9pm wondering where the hell I am and if my day was all a dream. I eat dates, walnuts, and cashews for dinner.

Before I go back to sleep I get a text message saying we are going birdwatching at 6:30am and I don’t think I have ever rolled my eyes harder in my life.


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