Flanking our hiking trip we stayed in a few non-descript towns with little in them aside from a smattering of shops and a grocery store. One such town was Bandarawela. There is little point to visiting here, other than as a jumping off point for hiking. Luckily, our tour included a cooking class in a private home just outside of town.
I generally enjoy cooking classes, though to be honest, I almost never actually cook the specific dishes once home. But, I do like being able to observe and participate in the process of preparing a cuisine. Sri Lankan food is simple and similar to Indian food, with slightly different spices and methods of cooking. Traditionally, you cook all of your various vegetable/meat sides for your curry in large clay pots over fire, which is what we did. The process is pretty simple. Chop ingredients and stir fry with coconut oil and various spices. Our meal included about 5 vegetable sides, like eggplant and potatoes, as well as chicken. And of course the ubiquitous red rice and pappadam.
After our hike we headed south towards the beach, stopping halfway to visit an elephant transit orphanage. Essentially the initiative gives orphaned baby elephants the care they need before reintroducing them into the wild. We arrived at feeding time and spent the better part of an hour watching baby elephants eat, which as you might imagine is pretty adorable.
Our hotel is right on the beach, which I didn’t have particularly high expectations for. I’m not really a beach person, though I love the ocean, and had for some reason assumed Sri Lankan beaches would be just average. And while it’s not perfect white sand, it it soft, and beautiful with crash turquoise tinted waves.
Running here has not been as challenging as I anticipated. With seven runs done and two left before India I’m pretty excited that I’ve managed to stay on schedule thus far. The humidity and heat has been difficult, but I just view it as mental training. Plus when I get back to more temperate climates running should be much easier, right?