TRAVEL REPORT ON THE VISIT TO SRI LANKA

TRAVEL REPORT ON THE VISIT TO SRI LANKA ON APRIL 3 AND 4, 2012 TO CONDUCT AN OCULAR INSPECTION OF THE PLACE OF VENUE OF THE NINETEENTH (19TH) APPA ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND TWENTIETH (20TH) PUBLISHING FORUM TO BE HELD ON NOVEMBER 16 TO 19, 2012 AND TO BE HOSTED BY THE SRI LANKA BOOK PUBLISHERS’ ASSOCIATION (SLBPA) AT THE CINNAMON GRAND HOTEL,COLOMBO,SRI LANKA WITH MR. SHAN RAJAGURU COORDINATING THE ACTIVITY AND THE SIDE TRIP TO THE WORLD HERITAGE SITES OF SRI LANKA FROM AUGUST 5 TO AUGUST 10,2012
A. On August 2,2012 I together with Krisvi and Breezy took the Malaysia Air Line flight for Colombo taking firstly the flight to Kuala Lumpur under MH 705 at 1505 which took three (3) hours and thirty five(35) minutes arriving thereto at 1840 and finally the flight for Colombo under MH 179 at 2305 which took three (3) hours and twenty(20) minutes arriving thereto at 2355;

B. Upon arrival we were welcomed at the airport by the driver authorized by the SLBPA to fetch us carrying with him a banner with the name of Sonia Santiago;
B.1 We were brought to the five(5) star Cinnamon Grand Hotel which is truly reflective of its name in view of the grandiose appearance as exemplified by its spacious lobby and royal decorations and the impeccable service of efficiently and promptly attending to your room requirements;
C. In the morning ofAugust 3, 2012 we had an ocular inspection of Colombo which included a visit to the National Museum where we learned even in a superficial manner of the rich cultural heritage dating back to the Pre-Sixth(6th)Century BC of the country, its demon masks, puppets, the presence in its surrounding waters of the “Moby Dick” or blue whales.

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D. On August 3,2012 at 1700 we were welcomed by Mr. Shan Rajaguru with erstwhile President of SLBPA Mr. Weeraman and some Directors whom I recognize as they could have been President at one time or another of the SLBPA as Chief Delegate to APPA events but whose names I could not recall;
D.1 The welcoming car was a chauffeur- driven 2011 Mercedez Benz which I found out later to be owned by Mr. Weeraman who is reportedly the founder of the SLBPA;
D.2 We were brought to a new government building being constructed with the financial support of the Chinese Government(wherein the SLBPA is similarly holding its office) as Mr. Rajaguru and the entire members of the Board including its new president Mr. Ranjit welcomed us and pointed to us the places where the AGM and the Publishing Forum would take place;
D.3 Thereafter we met at their Board room with Mr. Rajaguru acting as the Presiding Officer where Pres. Ranjit made the welcome remarks and I, in my capacity as incumbent APPA President, delivered a speech congratulating the SLBPA for serving as the host for this year and the country in general for the perceived economic breakthroughs as manifested by the grandiose buildings like the Shangrila Hotel,Hilton Hotel and the like unlike during my first visit several years ago when there was an on-going war with the Tamil Tigers;
D.3.1 Incumbent APPA Secretary-General in the person of Breezy had also the opportunity to speak lengthily;
D.3.2 While APPA would finance Five Thousand Dollars ($5000.00) for the AGM and Publishing Forum, the SLBPA would reportedly shoulder the entire expense of Thirty Six Thousand Dollars($36,000.00 including the side trip to the Holy City of Candy (which is a World Heritage Site) including the Elephant Orphanage;
D.4 We were brought later to the Hilton Hotel for the lavish dinner of Sri Lanka food delicacies intertwined with cognac,wine and beer with music provided by the local band;
D.5 During interaction, we learned that most of the publishers are also printers creating upon us with the impression that the association are well-funded;
E. On August 4, 2012 as promised during the preceding night, Pres. Ranjit fetched us to show the places to purchase antiques and/or cultural objects although he was a bit late as he had to attend with his tennis schedule which was cut short when we requested Mr. Rajagurun who was on his way to the airport to catch the flight for Singapore to remind him of our schedule;
E.1 We firstly visited Laksala store,secondly followed by a visit to his relative who is a retired Major General who was selling his antique ebony furnitures ( due to the absence of interests on the part of the children with whom I said that I would firstly study the same to which the former yielded ) and thirdly and finally we went to the more expensive shop which is named the Gandhara;
F. On August 5,2012 we were fetched by D Holiday’s Travel Agency Chauffer Guide Mr. Laxman through his Toyota vehicle at 0700 for our four(4) hour trip to Anuradhapura and Mihintale;
F.1 We made two stopovers firstly at one of the rest houses where Krisvi was requested to change her dress to something which would cover her knees in view of impending visit to the above-cited holy places and secondly at Nomembo which is a fishing village where we requested to be allowed with few minutes visit to the Catholic chapel as well as to take photo of the Dutch-influenced architecture of the houses and the numerous fishing boats similarly designed and of uniform sizes;
F.1.1 Along the way, the guide pointed to us the location of big tanks (which could not be easily seen by the naked eye) enclosing the wide spaces to serve as reservoir by King Mahasena but which we were told that there had been drought for the past four(4) days beyond the anticipated rainfall date thus making the area totally dry;
F.1.2 We also saw an elephant being held in a compartment within a truck which our guide claimed to be domesticated to respond to their household and field requirements;
F.1.3 Due to the moderate to slow driving wherein the driver had to observe speed limitation of one hundred (100) kilometres per hour coupled with his extreme care for his car(which is owned by him) we have arrived at our destination at 1200 after the lapse of five(5) hours where the rays of the sun were at its strongest;

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F.1.4 Before stepping out to visit the oldest structure in Anuradhapura which is the Isurunumuniya rock temple built in the third (3rd) century BC, we were requested to remove our shoes but nevertheless allowing me to wear my socks to somehow    withstand the heated   ground but not with Krisvi who filed immediately her complaint  that she could not continuously join us because her feet were devoid of any protection like socks;

F.1.5 Sensing that she could not really make it (aggravated by a recollection that she suffered recently from a foot accident when a   spare banana cue stick punctured  the back of her foot) I pressured  her to wear my socks to which she finally yielded  only during the duration of the visit to this Temple as she would later put her own socks when we would return to the car;

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F.1.6  After the visit to the rock temple we went to the nearby IsurunumuniyaArchaelogical Museum where we were introduced  to the various parts of the temple like the moonstones (which is placed prior to the entry  of a temple which is illustrative of the various cycles one must pass through to reach nirvana and the various symbols  incorporated thereto like the elephants which are symbolic of strength,etc.) followed by the rectangular guard stones where the image of guardians was carved thereto with the presence of two(2) dwarfs  which appear to be stout and always wearing a smile who would serve as protectors;

F.1.6.1  We also saw the famous rock carving which is called the Isurunumuniya Lovers;

F.1.7  Thereafter ,we proceeded to the pathway leading to  the Sri Maha Bodhi;

F.1.7.1While walking towards that direction, we noticed the presence of greyfacelangurs and then we saw a glass compartment  which houses the statues of India’s King  Ashok giving the Bodhi  tree  and the King of Sri Lanka receiving the same as  symbolic of the conversion of Sri Lanka to Buddhism;

F.1.8  We saw also along the way the remains of  one thousand eight hundred (1800) columns of the gigantic Brazen Palace which  allegedly used to be a nine(9) story structure which used to house approximately  one thousand (1000) monks and attendants under the then golden roof;

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F.1.9  We finally reached theSri Maha Bodhi,or sacred Bo  tree (ficusreliogosa) which is the oldest recorded tree(which is more than two thousand (2000) years old) in the world which was brought to Sri Lanka from India by Princess Sanghamitta,a Buddhist nun;

F.1.9.1 The tree is a sapling of the Bo tree inBudda Gaya in India under which Prince Siddharta attained Buddhahood;

F.1.9.2 Buddhists throughout the world respect the Bo tree as the living relic and as symbol of gratitude for having provided shade to Prince Siddharta in order for him to attain enlightenment;

F.1.9.3 Today the Sri MahaBodi is the most venerated of the eight(8) religious sites in Anuradhapura  which also include the Brazen Palace(which was cited earlier),the Ruwanwelisaya,the Thuparama,the Jethavana,the Abhayagiri,the Langkarama and the Mirasawet.”;

F.1.10  Thereafter,we visited”theRuwanwelisaya,standing at three hundred (300) feet,which is the oldest but the smallest of the three(3) giant  edifices in brick in the world;

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F.1.10.1 The stupa,decorated with coral brought from the Meditteranean by an envoy of the Sri Lankan king who had an audience  with the Roman Emperor Ceasar Augustus,was restored by successive rulers;

F.1.10.2 The stupa,built by King Duttugamunu is surrounded by an elephant wall,a restored design of an earlier expression;

F.1.10.3 The design has been repeated in Thailand,Burma and other countries in the east where Buddhism was taught  by priests from Sri Lanka;

F.1.10.4 The shrine room in the courtyard of the stupa has standing Buddhas from the eight (8th) century which have been renovated from time to time;

F.1.11  After visit to the other highlights of the area, we made a stopover in one of the hotels for a snack before proceeding to Mihintale;

F.1.11.1 At Mihintale, we went by car to the midway of the one thousand(1000) steps  thus leaving five hundred(500) more steps to reach   the exact  site where Buddhism was brought to Sri Lanka;

F.1.11.2 Before proceeding with the climb, we made a stop at the reflectory;

F.1.11.3 Although our guide cautioned us not to entertain people offering their services as helpers as they would be subsequently charging exorbitant amounts, a person posing as such nevertheless continued to accompany us although we did try to avoid or discourage him stating that Krisvi would be the one to serve as helper to me;

F.1.11.4 We finally reached the site  where  the ceremony took place after King Devanampiya of Sri Lanka( who was on a hunting expedition)became a disciple of Buddha after a Buddhist missionary in the person of Prince Mahinda,the son of Indian Emperor Ashoka, preached a sermon in 247 BC;

F.1.11.5  Thereafter our guide showed to us the exact site where Prince Mahinda preached the sermon which was on top of the treacherous rocky hill which is nevertheless being reached out through climbing by numerous  visitors,old and young alike;

F.1.11.6 Posing a great challenge I decided to climb the treacherous rocky hill with the unwelcome helper practically providing assistance all the way up to the exact site of the introduction of Buddhism in the country prompting Krisvi( who similarly and courageously climbed)to utter that after  all he was indispensably needed to visit the very highlight of the place considering that our fifty(50) year old guide,who was earlier discouraging us from entertaining the helper, would not probably be of much assistance during the climb;

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F.1.11.7 After  Mihintale, we proceeded towards the direction of Harabana where the guide encouraged us to avail of the Ayurveda massage before proceeding to the Cinnamon Lodge where we would  stay for two (2) nights;

F.1.11.8 At the spa area  while we were inquiring from the manager(whom the guide whisperingly informed us to be a burger which is defined as Sri Lankan  of  either a  Dutch,Portuguese  or British ancestry), who happens to be the owner,  on the services being offered which would include a full body massage,thermal bath with margosa leaves at your back,steam bath and culminating with an allegedly refreshing dripping of water at your forehead through a hole in a hanging  pot which would cost us Fifty Dollars($50.00) each, the spouse of the manager-owner approached us and introduced that she is likewise a Filipina from Bicol where we expressed our delight that we had met her and that we were amenable to the services to be rendered at the price quoted;

F.1.11.9  While we were experiencing  the services, it crossed upon me that the reason why I was restless  and not enjoying was that  the agony of earlier being exposed to the heat of the sun was being prolonged by immersing ourselves to the heated thermal  and steam baths instead of exposing  reversedly  our bodies  through a cooler place like an airconditioned room or a swimming pool;

F.1,11.10 Thereafter,we proceeded to the Cinnamon Lodge;

F.1.11.10.1 Anticipating that the place would be comparatively smaller considering that the word used was “Lodge”   unlike that of their hotel in Colombo where they used the word “Grand”  I was truly amazed that the place could even be bigger  than the latter as it took at least twenty(20) minutes to reach for our room passing through their dining place where multitude of people were dining amidst vast array of food delicacies;

On August 6,2012 at 0700 I took a dip at their Olympic-sized swimming pool before taking our breakfast;
G.1 Thereafter at 0830 the guide fetched us  and drove towards the direction of Polonnaruwa National Museum where we would be given a briefing of the highlights of Polonnaruwa, the medieval city of the twelfth (12th) century  and the second capital of Sri Lanka, before proceeding to the actual site;

G.2 Along the way, we made stop on the short bridge above a river where giant monitor lizards popularly known in Indonesia  as the “Komodo dragons”abound and could be the subject of photoshots as they had become tame ( unlike their wild predisposition  in Indonesia ) through the courtesy of a young man who reportedly has been taking care of them by constantly providing them with food;

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G.3 After visiting the Museum the guide pointed to us the largest tank or irrigation reservoir covering five thousand nine hundred forty (5940)acres which could irrigate eighteen thousand five hundred (18,500) of rice paddies;

G.4 Thereafter, the guide persuaded us to visit the handicraft manufacturer which he claimed to be producing high quality products  although at premium  (higher) prices;

G.4.1 Due to the high pressured selling efforts,I could have been gyped  when I was made to pay an outrageous price of One Thousand Seven Hundred Dollars($1700.00) for one bigger picture frame with eighteen(18) masks representing various ailments incorporated thereto and one smaller picture framer with nine(9) masks representing  similarly various ailments incorporated thereto;

G.4.2  Until this writing I  maintain the sentiment that  the guide and the seller jointly overcharged me  especially when Krisvi narrated to me  that on the same place she was being  offered to buy a small elephant  for Two Hundred US Dollars ($200.00)when we learned later that the same object  could be bought for  only five(5) US dollars or less;

G.5  At the actual site of the ruins,we firstly visited  the Parakramabahu’ seven (7) story palace;

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G.6 We then visited  the” royal baths,known as the Kumara Pokuna,which have a network of underground pipes to the ParakramaSamudra;

G.6.1Along side the baths were the changing rooms and pavilion probably meant for the elder royalty  to watch the royal children bathe;

G.6.2The toilet unit attached to the edifice has an excellent drainage system.”;

G.7Thereafter, we visited  theParakramabahu’s Council Chamber which is “three(3) tiered structure supporting a wooden roof;

G.7.1 It is in the style of an open mandapa ,but discreetly elevated to provide privacy necessary for the royal council;

G.7.2 The   sculptures for each tier are objects of exceptional art and grace;

G.7.3 The elephants, lions and dwarfs are all well placed thereto to manifest respectively strength, courage and protection.”;

G.8 We later visited the”Vatadage or Circular Relic House,dating from the seventh(7th) century,was part of the monastery which flourished in Polonawara when the capital was still in Anuradphara;

G.8.1 The Vatage has a stupa with four(4) Buddha images facing the principal directions;

G.8.2 Even though badly damaged, the images retained fine features particularly in the headdress;

G.8.3 The moonstone to welcome, and the guardstones to ward off evil, reflect traditions of that time;

G.8.4   The architecture is unique to Sri Lanka;

G.9  Thereafter,  we visited the Thuparama which is an “ image house” meant for a colossal seated of brick and stucco;

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G.9.1 The brick edifice is vaulted in its interior and is the best preserved vaulting  in the country.

G.9.2The characteristic of the arch and vault in the edifice provide scientific details of a structural form that was special to South Asia;

G.9.3 The limestone sculpture of the images found within the shrine dates back to seventh (7th) century  and distinctly reflects the early use of marble;

G.9.4The two (2) large standing images are among the best in their class.”

G.10  We later saw the LataMandapa,which is an elaborate stupa house;

G.11 We then  visitedAtadage which is the first Tooth Relic Shrine in the area built by Vijayabahu 1 in the eleventh(11th) century;

G.12 We later visited the Hatage which is the second  Tooth Relic Shrine built in the twelfth(12th) century;

G.13  We also saw the Gal Pota or Stone Book which is eight(8) meters long and four (4) point twenty five(4.25)meters wide  which contains the inscription of King NissankaMaila relating to his invasion of India and his relation with other countries;

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G.14  Our penultimate stop was at the Gal Vihara which is comprised of the  finest group of sculptures  of the Buddha images carved from a single granite wall;

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G.15  We lastly visited  a series of crematoriums which ended up at 1300;

G.16  This particular tour from my perspective is an extremely strenuous tour in the light of my aging self as it would require walking from one place to another which at times would require climbing steps;

G.16.1 That one has to remove his/her foot coverings and hats and umbrellas under the unbearable heat of the sun upon entry to any temple or place of worship;

G.16.2 That meals oftentimes were skipped due to the numerous places to be seen and experienced within a time constraint;

G.17 Our last program for the day was to join the photo safari at the Minneriya National Park which would require two (2) hours of traveling from the site;

G.17.1When we arrived within the vicinity of the Park we were given an opportunity to have snack wherein I chose the green salad and a cup of tea;

G.17.2 At the Park we predominantly saw elephants and domesticated cows and birds which include the pelicans, egrets, etc.;

G.17.3 We learned that an elephant  grouping  is comprised of female elephants and their offsprings and a male elephant  which is called the” bull” the progenitor of  all the members of the grouping;

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G.17.4 No other matured male   elephant could join the grouping otherwise the bull  would retaliate;

G.17.5 It is likened to the situation in Antartica where the big sealions maintain a harem-like coexistence;

G.17.6  That tusks could rarely be seen in the male elephants in the area although we are fortunate to have seen one hidden the bushes;

G.17.7 That homosexuality exists among the elephants;

G.17.8 That their sense of smell is strong  thus making them sexually proactive if they would smell scent in their subject of  affection;

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G.17.4 No other matured male elephant could join the grouping otherwise the bull would retaliate;
G.17.5 It is likened to the situation in Antartica where the big sealions maintain a harem-like coexistence;
G.17.6 That tusks could rarely be seen in the male elephants in the area although we are fortunate to have seen one hidden the bushes;
G.17.7 That homosexuality exists among the elephants;
G.17.8 That their sense of smell is strong thus making them sexually proactive if they would smell scent in their subject of affection;

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H.2    The principal shrine at Dambulla which is called the RangiriDambuluViharaya has five (5) temples;

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H.2.1      “The first temple has seven(7) images-the Buddha passing away,his disciple Ananda,Vishnu and four(4) other Buddhas;

H.2.2  Vishnu is the lord of the gods in the Hindu pantheon,but is also worshipped by the Buddhists;

H.2.2         The second (2nd) temple has sixty (60) images of the Buddha,Naathabodhisattva,MaitriyaBodhisattva,GodUpulvan,God Saman and King Valaagamba and King NissankaMalla;

H.3 This impressive cave has several significant paintings in its ceiling – the life of the Buddha, enlightenment of the Buddha, the migration of Vjaya, the official  of Buddhism, the planting of the Bo tree, the wars against the invaders, etc.;

H.4  The third (3rd) temple,built by the Kandyan king on the advice of a monk,has a thirty(30)foot reclining image which separates it from the fourth (4th) cave;

H.5  The fourth (4th) temple, small but unique,contains several images of the Buddha and a miniature stupa;

H.6      The fifth(5th) temple is the most recent and has a reclining Buddha surrounded by a number of Buddhist images;

H.6.1  This temple houses also  images of Kagtaragama,Buddhist god,DevataBandara,a local god and Vishnu,the god who alleviates the suffering of the people”:

H.7   After descending from the cave, the guide reminded that the seller was already at the parking lot to discuss with my earlier proposal to return the smaller picture frame in exchange for the big mask containing the eighteen(18) ailment-representatives and to reiterate their promised accommodation that they would ship other items which I  have bought and would be buying as sort of trade off;

H.7.1   As anticipated the manufacturer through his glib tongue was asking once more an additional seven hundred US($700.00) dollars which appeared to have been  tolerated by the guide in the absence of any objection from him;

H.7.2 Again I had to finally yield to the proposal in order to save on time together with their commitment that they promised that they would be accepting shipment free of charge of the other things I already bought ( like coffee table book on elephants together with toiletries I accumulated from the hotels where we stayedand) and  would be buying like the Shri Lankan fan with a long supporting pole;

H.7.3 It was at this point when I was surrending the reading materials including the coffee table book on elephant and the toiletries to the manufacturer  that the guide instead of supporting me objected that the shipment of the long pole and toiletries would not be possible prompting me to respond in a loud voice that it was my first time to receive an objection considering that I have visited already two hundred (200) countries and that I being a lawyer would not know of any laws or regulations prohibiting the same and that this reaction  is also a violation of their earlier commitment of accommodation aggravated by the fact that it was him as our guide who was supporting the manufacturer-seller instead of us his client;

H.7.4 My anger was reciprocated by an affirmation that they would be accommodating in the shipment the additional things cited above;

H.8 On the way to the Spice Garden after my anger appeared to have subsided the guide reminded me that the aching foot which I intimated to him earlier would be eased through the brief massage they would provide free of charge and that if I feel satisfied with their explanation about the spice garden it is up to me to give a correlative token;

H.8.1 After the guide in the Spice Garden explained about the various spices and herbs, we were brought to a covered area where the young masseurs as per instruction were waiting for us to massage our aching body or parts thereof;

H.8.2  I was told to shed off my long pants which fortunately could be converted into short pants by unzipping the same to which I complied;

H.8.3  Later in order to have an effective massage he further suggested removing my short pants together with that of  Krisvi thus leaving only the underwears   to which I  without malice complied but definitely not with Krisvi who interposed a loud objection;

H.8.4 After my massage,my masseur went to Krisvi to assist the other masseur in jointly massaging Krisvi;

H.8.5 It was at this point in time that the local guide was suggesting that  we were intelligent people from the Philippines and we should be paying ten thousand (10,000) rupees for the services rendered which was contrary to the suggestion of the guide that the massage was free and the tip to the guide would be within our discretion to which I grudgingly paid at least two (2000) thousand rupees;

H.8.6  Immediately after this incident Krisvi informed me that my masseur overextended her massage to her almost touching her private parts and correlativey made provocative sexual gesture like slipping in and out his tongue in a snake-like fashion  and that he would be doing further massage at the Kandy Hotel where we would be staying that night if he would be able to ascertain our phone numbers;

H.8.6.1  Krisvi  even asked whether or not we would give him our phone numbers to which I nonchalantly gave permission;

H.8.7  Realizing  that what transpired was indeed immoral,we purposedly did not tell the development to our guide hoping that we could use this situation as a further ammunition should we express our grievance later on  the exorbitant prices on souvenirs,etc. ;

H.9 After at least three(3)  hours of driving we reached Kandy and the   guide  pointed to us  the lofty spot on the mountain where our hotel which is the Amaya Hills Resort is situated;

H.9.1 We were welcomed by a staff wearing traditional Kandiyan attires;

H.9.2 Upon entering the hotel premises, we looked through the terraces of the Kandiyan architecturally-designed   hotel and saw the view of the valley stretching across miles and miles across the horizon and  multi-colored flowers blossoming surrounding the hotel;

H.9.3 After unloading our things at the assigned room   which has equally a commanding view of the beautiful sight cited earlier  we hurriedly took our luinch and returned back at the reception area at 1530 where the guide would fetch us to catch up Kandiyan folk dance  which starts at 1730;

H.9.4   Although the guide was offering to visit the shop where they sell sarong,I requested to visit the handicraft store where I found I had been looking for like antiques which include decorative Kandiyan dagger,dwarf images likened to that in the temples,nude lady surrounded by cobras, trumpet during the British colonial period,etc.  at reasonable prices;

H.9.5   We now proceeded to the see the traditional Kandyan and low country dances of Shri Lanka as follow:

H.9.5.1 Blowing of the Conch Shell is the traditional welcome prior to the rendition of musical numbers of an orchestra  with five(5) traditional instruments(panchaturya) which is played three (3) times during the service at the Sacred Temple of of the Tooth Relic;

H.9.5.2Next dance is the  Pooja Dance which is a dance to pay homage to the deities and the guru(dance teacher);

H.9.5.3Next dance is the  is the PanteraNatum whose name is derived from the instruments(pantherun) which is similar to the tambourine where is provided by accompanying drums;

H.9.5.3 Next dance is the Cobra Dance which depicts the movements of a cobra and its taming by a snake charmer;d

H.9.5.4 Next dance is a Mask ance which takes place in the low country south of t Shri Lanka showing the killing of a snake by garuda(a mythical bird) which is usually performed to drive away evil spirits; it is likewise used for psychiatric treatment;

H.9.5.5 Next dance is the MayuraWannama which is a dance belonging to the Vannam tradition which emulates the graceful movements of a peacock;

H.9.5.6 Next dance is Raban Dance  which comprises of a rhythmic pattern,woven to the beat of a single faced drum,which is skilfully spun in the air and balanced on sticks in a group of several drums which is normally accompanied by ballad singing;

H.9.5.7 The last dance prior to the National Anthem is the Ves( which is the traditional attire of the Kandyn  Dancer which is comprised of sixty four(64) ornaments to complete an attire)Dance;

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H.9.5.7.1 It takes years of rigorous training before one could be considered a Ves Dancer;

H.9.5.8  After the dance the National Anthem is sung followed by manifestations on the power fire;

H.9.5.9 The last performance is the fire walk where the artists  enter intio a trance and walk over burning coals and that the devotees performing this  act seeks the blessing of Goddess Pathini before performing the ritual;

H.9.5.10  We did not finish the fire walk ceremony to catch up with the ritual at the adjacent temple of the tooth relic to see the gold encasement of the relic;

H.10  At the temple before seeing the gold encasement we visited other religious areas like the place showcasing the various Buddhas donated from various Buddhist countries like that from Thailand,Cambodia,Myanmar,Laos and other countries:

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H.10.1  After viewing the gold encasement we visited the other rooms with precious relics and writings on palm leaves,etc.

H.11  Upon arrival we had dinner;

H.11.1After dinner I tried their full  body massage wherein the masseur(as they do not allow female masseuses for male clients) just applied superficially  herbal  concoction to my body without any effort to recondition my muscles;

H.11.2 He thereafter inquired when I was dressing up on whether or not I was satisfied with his massage prompting me to ask myself whether he was kidding or not,thus to avoid once more any argument   I did not bother to answer as I hurriedly left  the parlor;

  1. On April 8,2012 we went to the “upper lake area of Candy to catch a bird’s eye view of the fascinating lake city and the great temple cluster”;

I.1 While we were on our way to the Royal Botanical Garden I felt it was the opportuned time to reveal the sex maniacal approach of one of the masseurs of the Spice Garden together with the overpricing of massage services at five thousand (5000) rupiahs each  person by the  local guide contrary to what was said by the guide that it would be on a voluntary basis at our option thus causing the ire of the guide when he heard the report;

I.2  The guide deemed it proper to just allow to be on our own for one(1) hour at the Royal Botanical Garden presumptively to castigate the erring people at the Spice Garden;

I.2.1 The Garden is indeed worthy of admiration because of its hugeness and the variety of plants being planted thereto varieties of bamboos,palm trees,grasses and many more;

I..3  Thereafter  the guide told us that our next destination would be Galle which would be a lengthy drive not  less than three (3) hours prompting us to request to take first our lunch before continuing with the journey;

I.3.1   It was a big relief when  we reached the midwayroute there was newly built freeway which leads to Galle among others thus releasing finally from the local traffics of every town;

I.3.2  While cruising through the freeway we learned from the guide that the trip to the Sinharaja Rain Forest which we would visit the following day would require sturdy rubber shoes and supplementary in the form of thicjk and knee deep socks because of the sure presence of leeches thus prompting to ask ourselves why were not immediately apprised of these circumstances;

I.3.3 Thus, instead we just prayed that there would shoe stores that would still be open upon our arrival;

I.3.4 While cruising through the freeway I inquired  whether or not we would have free dinner  to which he categorically affirmed  that was a free dinner similar to the Cinnamon Lodge as we were on half board;

1.3.5 Erroneously I told him that we were for  charged our meals including dinner at the Amaya Hills causing again to be angry again as he hurriedly reached for his cell phone;

I.3.6  When we arrived at Galle we were lucky to have found a shoe store whose owner tried to speak Filipino as he called me “Pare”(Guardian in Filipino) also “Putang Ina”(Mother Fucker in Pilipino)  where he admittedly  learned the same from our Filipino brothers  when they were assigned in Saudi Arabia;

I.3.6.1 Due to his perceived sympathy to Filipinos,it did not take us difficult time to get a reasonable discount for the purchase of two(2) pairs of shoes;

I.4  We arrived at the Lighthouse Hotel  with the sun about to descend and before reaching the reception desk we had to climb a spiral staircase with metallic sculpture design of  depictingfighting during the colonial period between the Portuguese Dutch and the natives;

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I.4.1  When we arrived at the front desk we have a panoramic view of the Indian ocean with the fighting waves of the setting sun;

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I.4.2  I was later informed that the hotel was designed by the famous Shri Lanka Architect JeoffreyBawa where it was at this point in time that the guide said that there was no mistake in the billing in Amaya Hotel where the billing for the massage I mistook for the dinner to which I apologize;

I.4.3  Before dinner thinking that there would be no time to appreciate Galle I rented a tricycle and request the driver to provide even a glimpse of the famous place;

I.4.4  I visited the renowned hotel which is the Amangalla Hotel which is the sister hotel of the AmangPulo in Palawan,Philippines;

I.,4.4.1 I requested for a photoshot with the  old lighthouse at my back;

  1. On the following day  April 9,2012 we left the Hotel with our bags inside the room at 0630 where we made a brief stopover at a Resthouse to eat our packed-up breakfast before proceeding with our trip to the Sinharaja Rain Forest;

J.1  We  parked  our car in one of the houses at the lowlying area before taking the tricycle that would lead us to the entrance of the Rainforest;

J.2  Before commencing the walk,we ensured that our pants are beneath the thick socks in anticipation for the invasion of leeches;

J.3    We saw lizards, green snakes,giant squirrels, huge trees,etc. before reaching the final destination;

J.4 The final destination would require traversing the deep river to see the waterfall which necessitate the removal of pants leaving behind the underwear to which of course Krisvi would not avail of coupled with the discouragement of the guide that waterfalls are same everywhere;

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J.5 Notwithstanding my aging self and feeling unaccomplished if I would fail to see the supposed highlight considering all the trouble in going to this area, I  decided to further pursue with the journey thus I removed my pants in a cavalier manner while Krisvi told me to handcarry the pants and wear the same after traversing the river unmindful of the discouragement of the guide;

J.5.1 I therefore pursued the journey with local guide while our guide stayed behind to accompany Krisvi:

J.6  After swimming at the shallow part of the waters near the waterfall,  members of a family reportedly from England arrived;

J.6.1They (including their female companion) immediately removed unveil their outer clothings leaving behind their underwears to swim;

J.7 After returning to the Gate we were told that we travelled six(6) kilometres all in all three(3) kilometres going to and three(3) going from;

J.8After the Rainforest,we proceeded back to Galle where we had our lunch;

J.8.1 I was given the opportuinity to buy some antiques :

J.8.2  We visited the Historical Mansions filled with antiquities and gems but noithing so far merit any purchase from  us;

J.8.3  We thereafter hurriedly got our bags from the Hotel and proceeded to Ambalangu;

J.8.4  While cruising through the highway we witnessed the long parade likened to that of the Kandyan processions where numerous well-decorated elephants could be seen leading a group of dancers prom pting our guide to say that we are indeed lucky to see once in a lifetime event;

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J.8.5  We finally reached Ambalangu where at the outset the guide expressed  pessimism that the manufacturing shop for masks and puppets could already be closed due to the lateness of the hour but again he was excited to learn that the shop was still open;

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J..8.6.  I was privileged to buy the big puppet depicting a king after haggling at a very reasonable price;

J.8.7  Contrary once more to the pessimism  of our guide  that  the turtle exhibit area would be closed due to the lateness of the hour, he was surprised to learn that the exhibit area was again open creating an impression from my mind that the guide could be thinking that we were that lucky;

J.8.7.1  We were showed the impact of the tsunami on the turtles,among others;

J.9  We finally reached the Cinnamon Hotel where the receptionist could still recall my first name to which I expressed my elation;

  1. On August 10,2011 unrestricted by any tight schedule we savoured the bountiful breakfast and thereafter went for a swim to kill time before the shopping centerr would open;

K.1  AfterLaksala, we proceeded to the high-priced Gandhara where I finally bought the pair of Kerala headdresses to be shipped to Manila;

K.2  Before going to the airport to take the Kuala Lumpur (KL) flight through Malaysia Airline at 0058 arriving thereto at 0700 after three(3) hours flight with due consideration to the two (2) hour time difference between KL  and  Manila, we ate dinner at the McDonalds where were provided with three(3) Olympic glass souvenirs from Coca Cola where we gave the two of them to our guide sensing he was truly interested as he kept on tinkering the same prior to the donation;

K.3    We left KL at 1100 arriving in Manila at 1400 thus ending once more a wonderful journey through God’s blessings.

 

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