Something that I’ve kept true to this year, is travel. Taking up all offers, and opportunities that come my way - or at the least, try my best to.
This tour to Sri Lanka started as a flat out no, at first. Since that would mean traveling with family - something, I admit, I am not very fond of. Not because of anything else, but that that my travel ideas are much different from theirs. Add to that, traveling alone is something I’ve fallen in love with.
Coming back to the this trip - I realized that I was being closed minded. I wasn’t being open to this opportunity to visit Sri Lanka, for the fist time ever. And, as I sit here in Kandy, and write this post - I can only look back, and smile that I did change my mind, and I am writing, and publishing this while in/from Sri Lanka!
Shy, introverted, and a caveman - that’s me. As such, I really don’t connect with too many people on my travels; keeping to myself, for most of the time.
But, today was different. The Sri Lankan trip started with a chance encounter; a splendid one - running into intelligent, passionate, lively people who do look up, who do think magic exists, is not something that happens to me every day. So, when I did run into someone exactly like that; someone with whom it was easy to talk, and open up to - I was stoked. Still am!
I think it’s an awesome day, if I can make a new friend today. And, for this alone my trip has been more than a successful one - this the first day itself.
(Thank you, for an awesome flight - you know who you’re).
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
After disembarking, we headed towards Kandy. Out check-in was scheduled for the afternoon, and we landed way too early in the morning. That led us to head out to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
Before heading to Sri Lanka, I had had the opportunity to look up some attractions here. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was one of them.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is, as the name suggests - an elephant orphanage. It’s sponsored by the Government of Sri Lanka. It’s also one of the major hot spots for tourists who’re on their way to Kandy, etc. Pinnawala is not the only orphanage here. There are other elephant orphanages run by private institutions. At the time of writing this post, there are currently 70 elephants here, including 9 baby elephants.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage does not release the elephants back into the wild. And I wanted to know why that was. So, I started researching a little about it. Digging into its background further, led me to the conclusion of giving this place a skip. I did not want to become a part of the reason that the elephants here are poked, forced, and pained. Because that’s what I found, while reading the recount of experiences by fellow travelers, online.
In short, the keepers poke the elephants so that they may stay in the river or sit in the water because the tourists want to see them that way. They are chained, and made to lure in tourists.
According to the rules here, you’re not allowed to touch the elephants. But, the keepers do let you - for a tip. That introduces more prodding, and poking on behest of the tourists who did like to say hello.
Not that I am blaming the orphanage entirely here. I think it’s our responsibility too, to make sure these elegant beings don’t suffer on our behest, no?
Since, I was in a way forced to attend the orphanage, I decided to take some photographs that would bring the problem to the notice of anyone, and everyone who may be wanting to visit, or maybe the government (I do really hope that happens).
Chained, and Hungry.
Chained, Poked, Pained and Prodded.
End Of Day 1 In Sri Lanka
Except for the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, the day has been splendid. The food is awesome; do try the Sri Lankan grub - curries, kottu, etc. You can also buy “lunch packets” that are quite affordable, and mostly home cooked, by and from the individual street vendors. These usually cost less than ~2USD. There’s everything for every kind of palette, available here.
Sri Lanka: Yum Lunch / Dinner Packs.
The people are helpful, cordial, and polite.
The weather is plain awesome.
And the country had a freshness that is not easily found, back home.