Mom and dad are enjoying a king coconut while looking out at the Indian ocean on top of the Galle fort.

Three weeks of holidays is coming to an end. We arrived back in Colombo last night and spent today devoted to some GTL (gym, tan, laundry). Tomorrow it will be back to reality as we return to work, but the adventures are only beginning for Bev and Randall who set off with our driver and friend Moto / Mutu on Tuesday to tour the cultural triangle.

We saw so much together of this beautiful island in the last couple of weeks. It’s impossible to know what to write about so I thought I’d give you the highlights through memorable quotes and pictures.

This photo of the sunrise and prayer flags was taken just before our camera decided to break down. Fitting that it might be the last picture it ever takes.

“The day sure is long when you wake up at 2 a.m.” – Shaun

5,500 stairs later and we ascended Adam’s Peak to see an unbelievably beautiful sunrise. The site is the largest pilgrimage site in Sri Lanka attracting pilgrims from all faiths. Each faith claims that on top of the mountain is the sacred footprint of one of their prophets.

“People are all people.” – Randall

Dad got all philosophical when going over to a Tamil family’s house for supper. He met this couple on the train and promptly had us all invited over for supper. There we were served rice and curry and tried to engage in conversation which can be awkward when you don’t speak the same language and come from two totally different cultures. Dad worked very hard at trying to have them understand him by slowing down his speech and breaking big words into syllables. Unfortunately, he did this to the point that even we couldn’t understand him. Finally, out of what could only have been desperation, out of nowhere, he uttered the above mantra.

Here we are pictured with the Jeyasselans.

“Shaun, this man is lucky – with leopards.” – Moto / Mutu

Our favourite driver and friend wanted to make sure that we had a wonderful trip by putting us in touch with a good safari jeep driver. Mutu has always seen leopards when he goes with this man to Yala. We took his word and he was absolutely right. Mutu couldn’t join us for our whole trip, but he did phone mid-safari to check up on us and was thrilled to learn of our sighting.

“Do your parents speak English?” – Chandira

When my parents first arrived, they were pretty jet lagged. Throw in heavy accents, colloquial Sri Lankan English and dad’s hearing difficulties and you have a recipe for disaster. A Sri Lankan friend of mine invited us all over to her house for lunch on our way down to the southern beaches. During lunch we carried on a conversation of which I had to translate everything to my parents. The funny thing was that the conversation was entirely spoken in English. When we were in private, Chandira politely asked me if English was my parents’ first language. I had to explain to her the other communication barriers and we all had a good laugh in the end.

Pictured from left to right: Chandira, Ravindu (her 12-year-old son), me, Muditha (her 16-year-old son), Mutu, Bev, Shaun, Beautiks (Chandira's husband)

” I don’t like Nuwara Eliya; this place is a rip-off.” – Trina (to hotel manager)

Upon arriving in our hotel in the highest, coldest and rainiest city in Sri Lanka, we soon learned the manager of our hotel is very good at taking reservations but not so good at keeping them. I had spoken to him two days prior to confirm our booking only to learn that he hadn’t written our reservation down. We managed to get this sorted out and the price whittled down when I found out that it was not possible to light a fire in the fireplaces in our rooms. According to the manager this is due to the high winds (the winds couldn’t have been blowing more than 5km/hour that day). My patience was wearing thin since the only reason I booked this hotel was because of the balcony views and the fireplaces. Without those features, the place was a complete and total dive. However, we were trapped because of the busy season and the fact that every place in town was overpriced.

“I try not to say anything funny.” -Bev

Mom rises above the clouds at the end of our hike in Horton's Plains.

This was my mom’s response when we asked her input for a funny anecdote she said on our trip. She replied with the above straight faced. It appears she is worried that we will write about it on the internet. Well . . . that backfired on her.

“Finish this blog so we can go to bed.” – Shaun a.k.a. my editor

Good night!