What a weekend.
Friday morning we were up at 6.30am to be in the bus at 7am. A few people were really hungover from going out the night before but we were all on time.
Our first day was travelling and a tea plantation. We had been told there was a morning of travelling, so I jokingly said it would be 5 hours and then stop for lunch. This turned out to be true.
The bus was air conditioned so it wasn’t too bad, but it was a long journey. We stopped for a buffet lunch for an hour and then back to the bus.
We asked Kasun how much further, and he replied 2 hours. 4 hours later, we finally arrived at the tea plantation!
We piled out the bus, glad of the fresh air and to be able to stand up. We were ushered into a group and the man explained that it was a working tea plantation that produced black, green and white tea, all from the same leaves.
He took us inside the work house where there was a dark room with rows of tea leaves being dried by huge fans.
We then went downstairs, into a room that smelt of tea. It was like being enveloped into a cocoon of tea. As a huge tea lover it was such a comforting smell and I’d have loved to just curl up with a book in the corner!
There were sacks and sacks of tea, which had been fermented and made into black tea. He took us through the sacks and out the other side.
That was the end of the tour, we were then shown to the tables outside where we were each given a cup of fresh tea. Even without milk it was delicious.
We were quite shocked at how short the tour was. We were not shown the living plants or anything in detail. After travelling 9 hours to get there it was quite disappointing.
Back in the bus, down the really swirly roads, we had another 2 hours of driving before we pulled into Ash Ford Hotel.
We had rooms of 4, so Rhian, Jemma, Jenny and I shared. We have grown close over the past few days and it was so nice to share a room with them.
The room was spacious and had 2 large double beds and an ensuite bathroom.
We had a little down time together before dinner, where we just chatted and giggled.
At dinner, we were joined by a group of Canadians who are coming to the house on Thursday. We sat with some of them and had fun swapping stories.
One of their girls had swam head first into the wall of a pool and split her head open. We thought this was so funny, as she must have been swimming so fast!
After a giggly dinner, one of the Canadians said I was the funniest person she had met and she had laughed more in the last 20 minutes than in her week so far! Everyone at the table agreed which made me blush – I wasn’t being funny, I was just being me!
We couldn’t wait to get back to the room! We had a WARM shower each and got into our pyjamas. As we were up in the hills the temperature was a lot lower and so we had duvets on the beds! It was so nice to get into bed and have something over me. At the house I sleep with nothing but a fan directed onto my bed and in Goa it was a sheet sometimes.
We put on a film and chatted, so happy to be in bed!
We all slept well, and when the alarms went off at 4.30am it was so difficult to get out of bed.
We met everyone downstairs at 5am, tired and cold. Some people in the group were annoyingly loud, which is just not what I need at that time in the morning.
Kasun was late, appearing at 5.40am, which we later found out was because he felt ill. Some in the group were annoyed and said silly comments to him, which I thought was a bit mean. Sri Lanka time is very flexible, and so 40 minutes late to them is nothing.
On the bus, we had a 2 hour journey which was climbing up a steep hill. It was really windey, and I thought I was going to be sick.
Near to the top they handed out breakfast which was a boiled egg, mustard sandwiches and a banana. I couldn’t face any of it and just drank the water.
We arrived at the top where we were going to hike. It was still cool and so we all had jumpers on!
We set off, with the 15 of us in a group which then gradually separated. The four of us were at the back, not on purpose, but just because we were chatting and walking.
We were walking through the forest, along narrow paths that had stones and roots sticking out and I was glad I had my walking boots on.
Our first stop was Little World’s End, looking over the edge into nature. Everyone was taking photos and selfies on the edge when we arrived. We patiently waited our turn and Jemma was first up to sit but just as we were taking the photo one of the medical students came back and asked her to move so he could get a final picture. How rude!
They all carried on but we were not missing out on the photo opportunity so stayed behind to take our pictures.
We got some individual ones as well as a group ‘squad’ photo!
We carried on and hiked up to World’s End. This was surrounded in clouds so we were glad we got the photos below.
We took more photos of us in the clouds, being left behind again! Aran joined us too in the back group, taking a group photo of us.
We thought we were making our way back to the bus, but we seemed to be climbing further up the hill.
It was getting hot and we were tired from the early start. We had a biscuit stop and powered on.
We arrived at Baker’s Fall, a beautiful waterfall. There were 2 levels of platform to take pictures. The lower platform was full of our people so we stood on the top and huddled in for a photo.
All of a sudden, Jenny grabbed me and we were falling backwards! I managed to grab the railing and Jemma and Rhian grabbed us too.
It was so scary!
Jenny’s foot had slipped off the edge of the platform and the barrier was only low so she would have gone over, accidentally dragging me too.
We were pretty shook up and had to sit down for a bit to recover. Everyone else left us again, but we didn’t care.
We had another biscuit to bring our blood sugar back up and we set off again.
The sun was properly up now as it was gone 9am and we were flagging.
We finally got back to the bus at 10am, the others had been there for ages. We didn’t feel guilty as we had walked as fast as we could!
Another few hours drive and we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. We could order whatever we liked from the menu so I ordered a ham and pineapple pizza! It was so good! We were also allowed pudding, so I had banana pancakes but they weren’t very nice.
Another 4 hours drive (definitely the theme of the weekend) and we arrived at our new hotel – Lake Hill View.
We had the same room split and so the 4 of us were together again. This time it was a double and 2 singles, Jenmy and Jemma took the double.
We had 30 minutes at the hotel before leaving to go to a temple. We changed into long trousers and covered our arms, meeting the others outside.
It was a lovely hotel with views over a lake and a small swimming pool. It would have been nice to just relax before dinner but we were due to go to a temple.
We discussed skipping it but didn’t want to be disrespectful to Kasun.
Back on the bus, and just a 30 minute drive this time. We parked at a fruit market and had to walk through to the temple. It was dark with sand on the floor and lots of people begging on the side of the paths.
We had to give our flipflops in, like when you go bowling. The sand was course under foot and I didn’t want to think what we were stepping in with all the stray dogs around.
The courtyard of the temple was very busy. People come with gifts of fruit and flowers which they queue for hours to give to the God. These are then fed to the temple elephants each day.
There were candles and statues around the area which had people praying in front.
We walked along a long stretch towards the temple itself. Everyone was dressed in white and I suddenly felt very out of place. Here we were, a group of obvious tourists, dressed in dark clothes surrounded by local people. They were here to offer their gifts to their Gods and pray, we were there taking photos and just looking around.
If someone did that at home, whilst a service was happening, it would be very disrespectful.
You aren’t able to go inside the dome temple, but walk clockwise around the outside.
Kasun bought us all a Hindu band which was cute, a reminder of our visit.
We all walked back towards the bus, following Kasun. Jenny and I had got into a deep conversation about homesickness, as she has been away for 10 weeks, going home in 2. We got back to the bus which was in a different place to where we had got off. Somewhere along the way Rhian, Jemma and a couple of the boys had dropped back and we had lost them.
Kasun told us to get into the bus, none of us have phones so it was a bit worrying that we couldn’t contact them.
Kasun went back on foot, and the bus drove back to the original drop off point. Luckily they were there and we then pick up Kasun. Disaster averted!
Back at the hotel we went straight into dinner, which was a buffet of rice, chicken and chips. Delicious fruit for pudding.
We were in bed by 9pm and all fell asleep quickly, alarm set for 4.30am again.
I slept well, although I woke with cramp in my legs at 11.30pm. I had already been in such already deep sleep by then, it felt like the early hours of the morning.
The alarms all went off at 4.30am and we all looked shell shocked and near to tears.
We got dressed and packed up our stuff. We met everyone else in the entrance hall where we had a cup of tea. Bliss.
Our bags were to stay at the hotel as we couldn’t take them on safari with us so back to the room we went to dump them.
Breakfast was handed out and we separated into 3 jeeps. The ‘squad’ was joined by Aran and Meghan, a French/Scottish girl.
Our jeep driver was crazy. We left last but he went so fast he over took the other 2 and we arrived way before them. We all put our seat belts on for the first time since leaving home!
When we arrived at the park, there was a queue of jeeps, at least 20 lined up waiting. We ate our breakfast whilst we waited – slice of pineapple, banana, tomato sandwiches and chocolate cake.
Once it got to 6am, the gates opened and all the jeeps were allowed in. It felt so crowded and a lot less authentic than the elephant one we had done.
We were overtaking and being overtaken. We could always see another jeep, and the road had speedbumps in it every 20 metres or so.
Our driver was still quick, slamming the brakes on when he spotted a peacock or a mongoose.
The park is known as ‘leopard’s paradise’ and we were hoping to see a leopard and also a sloth bear.
Our driver took a phone call and then went speeding off, he was going so fast and whizzing past all the other jeeps. We then hit a traffic jam of jeeps, and realised he had had word of a leopard being spotted and so had rushed to get there. The same as all the other jeep drivers.
Of course, the leopard had not hung around with 40 jeeps all driving up to the spot, engines roaring and roads creating dust.
Who knows what we missed as he had rally driven through the park.
We did see a solo male elephant and later a family of females and a baby elephant. I was pleased that we had seen a large animal, as the others were pretty annoyed everytime he stopped for a bird.
The same as usual, as I was sat not talking to anyone, my mind was flooded with thoughts. I have not heard from him since Thursday, and my message about having sad moments was the last one – I received no response.
I guess this speaks volumes, as he hasn’t tried to make me feel better and so I am taking it that he doesn’t feel the same. Horrible but I suppose it will give me closure to try and move on. I will still hope and pray that in the future we will be together, but right now he is enjoying travelling alone and I need to do the same.
Whilst on the safari and going through all this in my head, I decided if I saw a leopard it would mean we wuld see each other again. A risky game and as soon as I thought of it I regretted it, as what if I didn’t see one!
We stopped to look at a crocodile in the water, and there on the far bank in long grass was a leopard. She was sat down, but I could see her ears and she shook her head. I spotted her as we were driving away, and to my shame I didn’t shout out. I kept quiet and just enjoyed the split second moment.
The safari was over by 10am and we made our way back to the hotel. We were all irritable, and feeling unwell. I think it was just over tiredness, but we all felt a bit sick and all had almost fell asleep at some point during the safari!
Back at the hotel, Kasun told us we had until 12pm when we would leave the hotel. We still had our rooms until this time and so the 4 of us all got straight into bed.
I set my alarm for 11.45am which gave us just over 90 minutes and I fell into a deep sleep.
Rhian and Jenny were feeling really ill, with Rhian being sick twice. When my alarm went off, I felt worse. I had gone into such a deep sleep, waking up made me feel even more tired.
We packed our stuff and got onto the bus. Only 10 minutes down the road, we stopped for lunch.
Another buffet and I treated myself to a Sprite. Rhian didn’t eat anything and looked awful.
On the bus, she swapped places so that she was close to the door, just in case.
We had a 5 hour drive home. Luckily, as I didn’t have to conserve battery for the camera, I was able to listen to music a blend drown out the talking on the bus. After all those hours on the bus, the were some people who I really wanted to push off a cliff! They had the most stupid, pointless conversations at the loudest volume so that everyone on the bus could hear. It was so frustrating and so I was glad to be able avoid them for the last leg home.
We got home and sat on the sofa waiting 40 minutes until dinner was ready. It felt the longest 40 minutes ever!
Dinner was rotti and dhal, which I had a small portion. Rhian asked the sites for toast and Jenny had nothing and went straight to bed.
After dinner we sat in the living room for a bit, but then I decided to go to bed. It was only 8.30pm but I was so tired and felt there was no point in staying awake for the sake of it.
It was a good weekend, and I’m so glad to have bonded so well with the ‘squad’ girls. There was just too much driving! Hours upon hours in that bus was not fun!
I have decided not to text him again. Well I’m going to try anyway. I know talking to him doesn’t help me, even if I miss him. I have also stopped looking at Facebook. I can’t stand to see him tagged in photos with all these other girls. I know they are probably just friends, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking the worst.
I am busy here and need to make the most of having my mind occupied during the day and tired at night.
I also have C to deal with. I don’t know why I started talking to him again. We can’t work, we both know that and it’s like a test to each other of who collapses first and suggests it could be different this time. However, this time I am going to win because I don’t feel that way. I’m the other side of the world and besotted with someone else! C has already asked me to come home, to which I obviously said no. He has said he would come out but he has a little boy who he can’t leave – phew! I should probably stop talking to him, but I’m thinking what’s the harm? We just have funny banter throughout the day, and it’s not like I’m there to complicate stuff and make anything real. And it’s a good distraction for me.
Although tired, I have felt more like myself this weekend. I have made people laugh and have managed no tears. Come on Sazzle!