CHRISTMAS KANDY (NO BEER FOR YOU)

EARL’S REGENCY

I‘d actually welcomea raging case of traveler’s diarrhea today because it would dispel these lingering doubts over my decision to wimp-out and travel to Kandy over climbing Sri Pada last night. On the other hand, it’s pretty nice to be sitting here in the sun, sipping hot coffee and enjoying the view — clean, warm, rested and free of blisters, aches and leeches. Plus, I’m glad to have the long, slow drive to Kandy behind me.

View from Earls Regency Hotel Kandy

TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH

Ravi and Pradeep drop me off in front of Kandy’s fabulously-named Temple of the Tooth and we agree to meet back here after tonight’s traditional dance performance.

The Temple of the Tooth is sacred because it houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha. Per ancient lore, whoever holds the relic holds the governance of Sri Lanka.

I maneuver my way into the masses and follow them through the holy site like a lemming. This place is interesting enough – I guess – but if we *did* pass the Magic Molar, I missed it, and this crowd is making me a little claustrophobic. I’m in and out in ten minutes.

Temple of the Tooth Kandy Sri Lanka

CENTRAL KANDY

Back outside, and away from the throngs (sigh) I walk the loop of Kandy’s lake, which kills another 30 minutes. Yup, it’s a lake. I’ve certainly walked better (I recommend Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis or Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi).

I take the path to the Friends of the British Garrison Cemetery, a graveyard I share only with a teenage caretaker. The engravings tell great, gruesome stories.

John Spottiswood Robertson, b. 1832  d. 1856: The seventh and last  recorded death of a European in Ceylon being killed by wild elephants.

William Watson Mackwood, B. 1847  d. 1867: Alighting from his horse, he was transfixed by a stake placed to mark out the ground.

G. & M. Wait 1873. A Small Memorial Stone for their five infant sons.

I need to modify my Lucky One Percent algorithm to include the additional variable of time! When I factor in the probability of being born in the Modern Era compared to all the souls birthed in earlier days (days of marauding elephants) I realize that, considering the additional dimension of time, I’m actually in the top .00..1% luck-wise of people born, ever.

The cemetery’s grisly stories are certainly captivating, but between the looming prospect of slugs attaching themselves to my ankles and sucking out all my blood, as well as my growing discomfort towards the adolescent caretaker, who has been itching himself through his pants something fierce for some time now, I’m losing my concentration. The nature of his action appears to be hygienic rather than sexual, but I’m not taking any chances. I’m outta here.

Now what?!? Rain is imminent and I’m not so sure there’s that much more to see in squalid, hectic Kandy.

I call Ravi to see if he can recommend a cute bar or restaurant where I can sip a beer, escape the rain and people-watch and he recommends The Pub, which is right down the street.

Perfect! I snag a seat on the balcony overlooking a chaotic street below (beating the downpour by only a minute) and order a Three Coins beer.

View from The Pub Balcony Kandy Sri Lanka

My server informs me that no alcohol is served today because it’s a holiday.

Wha-whaaaaaa?!? So much for visiting a Buddhist country. Plus, isn’t the whole point of holidays to drink alcohol? I console myself with the next best thing – french fries – which are my go-to food when the restaurant quality is sketchy.

Post-fries, I call Ravi, he meets me outside and I follow him to the crappy Toyota. Walking behind him I notice that the heel of one of his shoes is worn down significantly, to the sole. Hmmmmm. So he *does* have a leg injury, but it didn’t occur recently.

I am like a middle-aged Nancy Drew.

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