Serenity in Sri Lanka

My top 5 things to do:

  1. SIGIRIYA
  2. Visiting elephant orphanage
  3. Nuwara Eliya
  4. Anuradhapura
  5. Tooth Relic

After we spent a couple days in Manipal and roadtripped to Bangalore – we hopped on a flight from Sri Lanka.  Sri Lanka was an absolute dream, we had a packed schedule and a driver/tour guide the whole time we were there.  One thing, I immediately learned is that even though some Sri Lankans look Indian, the small country is mostly Buddhist.  Maybe it’s just me but the countries that are mostly buddhist have the friendliest, calmest people I’ve ever encountered.  I really loved the vibe I was getting in Sri Lanka.

The moment we landed, I was struck by a blast of heat.  I had some layers on the plane so I discreetly changed in the car – I was too hot to function!  Our driver immediately took us to the Pinnewala orphanage – he wasn’t playing when he said we had a full itinerary.  I loved seeing all the elephants and we even got the chance to wash and ride one!  After the elephant ride, I had a lady accident but I tried to not let it dampen my plans.  We also visited a ayurvedic farm and I tasted the best tea I’ve ever had and got some lotion and hair stuff.  We later stopped by the Tooth Relic Temple which is apparently from Buddha.  I didn’t like the crowds there but I enjoyed these murals that depicted how the tooth traveled and ended up in Sri Lanka.  Our first night, we stayed at a fabulous hotel and thank god because that was the busiest first day I’ve ever experienced when traveling.

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Our First Travel Adventure – Cambodia

Just a snippet of Cambodia…where do I even begin? I’ll just give a brief summary. We were planning this trip for what seems like forever…even before we started going out. I wanted to go the week of our anniversary so it would be more special but in retrospect that was a bad idea because Nelli had major visa issues when we came back to San Fran. Finally the day came…I was anxious but I was flying with an expert traveler. One thing I should do better next time is pack lighter and dress for the occasion. My duffel bag was filled to the brim and it was so heavy and difficult to travel around. Also a lot of the places were temples and wanted people to be dressed conservatively. Of course I brought all my cute tanks and shorts…so I had to wear tshirts and jeans which made me super hot…sigh. Oh and another thing I would bring hairspray and some oil wipes because of the humidity…I know #girlproblems. Anyway, we came into the Capitol which is pnomh penh and our tour guide got started right away. A few things I noticed is everybody was really poor I saw a lot of homeless people living on the streets. There was just a lot of activity in general very hustle and bustle. There were also a lot of motorcycles and way too much crazy driving. We visited a lot of markets and did some successful bargaining for gifts. We saw a lot of other tourists which was cool. The weather was great a little sunny but mostly overcast. We couldn’t see the palace because there was some political tension which made me nervous.

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Exploring Buddhism

I surprised Nelli and took him to this Buddhist retreat center in Santa Cruz. I researched the website and saw that there was a meditation service at 8:15 am. Eek! Kinda early but I made myself get out of bed. Of course Nelli had no issues getting up early. We went to the meditation service which was nice and relaxing and then explored the grounds. There were a lot of hiking trails through the redwoods which was awesome and they had little Buddhist sayings and prayer wheels along the way. I learned a lot about the Buddhist culture. Nelli really liked going there and said I earned 1000 girlfriend points. Winning!