Kandy, Sri Lanka

Extrapolating from our love of sugar laden snacks that we would love the city of Kandy may have been unwise. We were covered in sweat by the time we stepped onto the busy sidewalk. The smell of exhaust hung thick in the air and horns blared. Our backpacks made us double-wide and hurried pedestrians pushed us out of the way. Rickshaw drivers converged on us all trying to shout over their adjacent competition. It was a bit overwhelming, and we were starving, so we picked a direction and proceeded to flee.

We found a small restaurant. Sri Lanka seems to share a similar delusion with Australia in regards to the word Hotel. Rather than a place to rest your head in Sri Lanka a “hotel” is a restaurant, in Australia it’s a pub. To further confuse things a hotel may also actually be a hotel in both countries. Anyway we were happy to eat our dahl curry and potatoes no matter where they came from even if we’d severely confused our waiter by ordering a room.

After a lot of walking, confusion, and tuktuk (motorized tricycle) refusals we did find a room, next to the prison. An evening stroll around town taught us to never engage in conversation with the locals lest we have an hour to kill and a thesaurus open to the page about not being interested. We weren’t loving Kandy. The next day was better and included watching two touts almost coming to blows over taking us to a Kandyian dance recital, the actual dancing, and The Temple of the Tooth which is the holiest site in Sri Lank and said to hold the tooth of the Buddha. Everything was a mix of frantic, desperate, and over-crowded but the food was amazing, we were one of the lucky few to see the sacred tooth chamber, and the dancing was quite entertaining.

We ended our day trying to book bus tickets out of Kandy. It turned out that first class was full and second-class could not be reserved. No matter, we’d show up tomorrow morning and see what happened.

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Scott Dusek is a writer and photography originally from Seattle, Washingon.

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