A relaxing change from the congestion of Colombo
07.01.2009 - 10.01.2009 31 °C
A rooster crows in the distance, a dog barks, crickets chirp, voices of people are heard, a cool wind blows in through the slightly opened window. I feel a slight chill in the air as I get up to turn off the ceiling fan that I turned on last night, wrap the bed sheet around me, and turn over in bed for a few more minutes of rest. More roosters.....now the birds are starting to chirp, the sound of buddhist prayers can be heard from loudspeakers at the nearby temple. (at least there is no competing hindu temple, church, or mosque) There is no way I can stay in bed, there is too much going on....it seems all of nature is awake and life is passing me by.
I wake up and drag myself to the porch to see what's going on. I see nothing except for darkness and a few lights. It's 5:00 AM. This is how every morning starts out here.
We travelled to Minuwangoda, which is about 30 miles north-east of colombo to stay for a few days with Nipunee's other aunt and cousins. I expected it to be boring for me, stuck in the house with in-laws for three days. But it wasn't too bad. We didn't do much but, I had a chance to relax and sit by myself for some time. I don't get a chance to do that often these days. My "cousin in-law" (which I'll refer to as my cousin) was great. She's rather quiet and unassuming but she's very hardworking. She teaches english to primary school kids at a nearby school. We ate lunch until she came home.
A typical simple lunch.
We waited until she came home and she took us for a tour. I took some shots of flowers around the house as we were walking around. I don't know the names of the flowers and don't really have the time to look it up....
There was a stand of maniocs (aka casava) in the land next to theirs.
Maniocs are somewhat like yams if you've never heard of them. They are a starchy root and you can get a lot of carbs from them. There were a few plants in their yard as well and when I inquired about how they are harvested, she quickly proceeded to dig one up. After some time, I was able to convince her to let me try it....
I felt bad that she dug up one of only a few plants just for us, until she explained that you can let the dug up tree dry for a few days, cut the trunk up into small pieces, and replant it. How's that for a sustainable food supply!?
They also had mango, guava, coconut, banana, ebony, teak, cashew, jakfruit, papaya, and king coconut trees. Here's a papaya tree (without the fruit!)
and a king coconut tree
King coconuts are like regular coconuts except the trees are shorter and the leaves and nut have an orange tint. The water inside the king coconut is better tasting than the water inside the coconut and is nutritious. It's sold everywhere on the street and is a safe and cool thirst quencher, much safer than water in some parts.
Here is a bunch of king coconuts cut down from the tree.
If you take a coconut with the outer husk in place, let it dry and plant it, it will grow a new coconut tree. Some people (my wife and cousin), like to dig up these poor baby coconut trees to eat the insides of the coconut seed. It tasted like eating a sponge (not quite the consistency...it actually almost melts in your mouth) that was filled with coconut flavored water. I just didn't get it.....
Now these are different from the "baby" coconuts that fall from the trees before they are mature.
They are just like the big ones, just smaller.
Every part of the coconut tree is used from the leaves (thatched roof), trunk (construction), coconut husk (coir for rope), as well as for food. They even take the coconut shell, polish it, attach a handle to it and make spoons.
This was an interesting few days. From here we visited a buddhist temple that was built into the rock around 24 A.D. and then visited a local Hindu temple. I'll post some pictures soon. Then we went back to Colombo and made some more one day trips to visit relatives. Last weekend, we climbed Sri Pada (Adam's Peak, Samanala Kanda,) which is about 8300 ft in elevation and the 3rd highest peak in Sri Lanka. That was quite an experience! I'll write about it soon. I've been on the go so much that I haven't had time to post anything. This week, I'm back in Kalutara at my uncle's place. We have a few trips planned from here (to the beach finally!).
Till next time.....