After lunch we got back into the Jeep and climbed to the top of the hill country. The view was amazing and I’m thankful for all the extra film I picked up in Kandy. There was so much to see I couldn’t possibly take it all in. The top of the mountain was covered in tea plantations. Creon used to be a tea taster so he showed me how to taste the leaves. The leaves we tasted were not “Grade A” leaves. They were just “average” though honestly I couldn’t tell the difference between any of the leaves, so I took his word on it.
On the other side of the mountain we stopped in a valley to swim in the river, it was so hot that we needed to cool off. At first we were all really nervous because all the villagers were watching us when we pulled up. The girls wore Sarongs in the water and I wore a t-shirt and shorts. There were all sorts of little fish in the water that kept picking at the dead skin on your feet. They literally came up and started chewing on my feet. I was a little freaked out at first, but it didn’t hurt and was an interesting way to get your feet cleaned.
Just before we got to the river we picked up a Buddhist monk. He was on his way to one of the temples and was looking for a ride. This was the first monk I have ever seen. His robes were very bright and he only spoke Sinhalese. He sat in the front of the jeep while we swam but got impatient and decided to keep walking.
The closer we go to the park the greener and more beautiful the views became. It is so lush and tropical in Sri Lanka. There is life everywhere and it is all connected by a very elaborate irrigation system. Some of the canals are large, some small. There are always people doing their laundry, bathing and washing their live stock in the canals. We passed an incredibly beautiful lake full of wildlife: water buffalo, ducks, herons, cattle, and millions of other things I couldn’t even begin to name.