Countries Visited

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Myanmar Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fasso Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria
Map Legend: 28%, 75 of 263 Territories

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sing, Muse, of Singapore (and its food)!

(We actually spent a couple of days in Malaysia between Sri Lanka and Singapore, but we're going back there later, so we'll write about it in a different post.)

Singapore! So clean, so safe, so air-conditioned, so much public transit, so many cheap ethnic eats = something to sing about, indeed.

But, it's crowded. And there are SO many malls. You could get lost for days and never see the sun! Plus, hotels are kind of expensive. Proper restaurants and all that nice public transit don't come cheap, either.

So, Singapore's not perfect. But, after a long stretch in mostly "developing" countries, we definitely enjoyed spending a couple of days in this supermodern, space-agey little city-state.

After getting settled in at the cheapest hotel we could find (perfectly clean, but with separate by-the-hour prices and a couple of bonus ladies of the night permanently hanging out outside the main doors), we decided to plunge right into Singapore's superdeveloped we hopped on the MRT and headed to Sentosa.

Sentosa is an island in the harbor that has been completely kitted out for tourism, Singapore-style...which means that tons of sand have been imported to set up a fake beach, concrete "nature trails" have been laid down and escalators installed to take you up hills, huge hotel and restaurant complexes have been constructed, and everything is linked by light rail. I'm not sure why we thought that this would be a fun place to visit, but we checked it out anyway.

The view of the harbor from the light rail is nice.
Sri Lanka has its plastic yellow buddhas...Sentosa has its plastic yellow lionfish.And let's not forget the merlion. In the 1960's, someone decided that Singapore needed a wacky statue to bring in more tourists, so this half-lion, half-mermaid monstrosity was born. The original one on the mainland apparently spits water like a fountain, but the Sentosa version has cool glowing eyes...
OK, the real reason we had gone to Sentosa was because we read that there was a fun "luge" there that we could ride. Putting nothing past technologically advanced Singapore, I had assumed that there was going to be an actual icy slide, like in the Olympics...but we were dismayed to discover that it was just a concrete track and that the vehicles were more like carts that you sit in. So, we chose not to pay $15 for a ride...

Then we were going to try to visit the casino, but they charge you by the hour to store your backpack (they won't let you carry it into the casino), so we left in a huff. Andy, a much more experienced gambler than I am, insists that a casino should never charge you in any way--that way you'll stay longer and lose more money. I guess that's the logic behind all the free food and drinks in Vegas and such. Anyway, it seems Singapore hasn't caught on to the international gambling etiquette.

So Sentosa was a curiosity, but kind of a bust. We did much better on our second day, when we visited the Singapore Zoo. It was probably the best zoo I've ever been to. It's located in Singapore's remaining patch of rainforest, and many animals can even range freely over large areas. We got to see a lot of funky Southeast Asian animals, as well as some worldwide favorites.

Mouse deer are not really deer (or mice), but are funky little creatures found in various places in Asia.
Proboscis monkeys are the largest monkeys in the world and have awesome Gonzo noses! They live only on Borneo, and we saw many in the wild when we went there a few years ago. We won't be back on this trip, so we were happy at least to be able to see a few of our favorite monkeys at the zoo.
We caught meerkat feeding time and learned that they love a snack of cockroaches.
Andy posed me next to a reticulated python, the longest snake in the world, just for comparison. These guys are found in SE Asia, so we'll be on the lookout.
We never saw mandrills in the wild in Africa, but they are still awesome.
Bat balls! Bat balls!
The zoo had a few Komodo dragons, which got us excited for our upcoming trip to Komodo National Park in Indonesia...
There was a special section devoted to animals you find in Ethiopia, which we thought was awesome. We never saw this walia ibex in the wild there, but the zoo had several specimens. It's a goat, not an antelope, but still has pretty impressive horns.
Favorite animal in the zoo: the pygmy hippo, which dances around on its toes on the riverbed, doing a kind of water ballet. Found only in some remote parts of West Africa that we did not get to. Next time!
Singapore also has an impressive museum called the Asian Civilizations Museum, which has history and artifacts from, you guessed it, many Asian civilizations. I especially enjoyed riding this palanquin made with horn handles, from Sulawesi, one of the 16,994 Indonesian islands we will not be visiting.

Andy thinks this is a Buddha, and thinks this is from Thailand. I cannot confirm either of those assertions. Guess we should have taken notes at the museum!
No trip to Singapore would be complete without a trip to the mall. Actually, I'd like to see you try to visit Singapore without accidentally ending up in a mall at some point. A lot of MRT stations spit you out into a mall whether you want to go there or not!

Anyway, there are malls dotted all over Singapore, but the real megamall area is Orchard Road, which is just mall next to mall next to mall for about two kilometers. Here is a shot of just one of the many futuristically-designed malls you can find there--and I congratulate myself at actually figuring out how to emerge from the malls into the sunlight to snap this external shot!
Chinese New Year is approaching, and it will soon be the year of the rabbit. About 75% of Singaporeans are ethnically Chinese, and the malls are going crazy decorating for the holiday. This demonic rabbit made out of flowers was definitely my favorite of the many displays we came across.
Clarke Quay is an area along the riverfront that has lots of outdoor bars and restaurants. "But isn't Singapore really hot?" you ask. "Who wants to eat outside? After all, people stay inside all those AC'd malls for a reason!" Well, I have three words to answer your question: outdoor air conditioning. Yup, those crazy things that look like heat lamps hovering over the quay are actually air conditioning the outdoors. What will Singapore think of next??

Our final stop in Singapore was the old-timey Raffles Hotel, named for Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore. Also founder of the London Zoo. And the biggest flower in the world, the raffelesia, is named for him. Interesting historical character if you're looking for someone to read about sometime.

Snacks of Singapore

We didn't think we had enough food pictures to warrant a whole separate food post, so here are some shots of things we ate in Singapore!

The cheapest, and often tastiest, food in Singapore is found at "hawker centers," which are like food courts. They sometimes specialize in one type of ethnic cuisine--you find a lot of Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian food in Singapore, since there are large populations of people from all those countries living there.

Near our hotel was one that had mostly Chinese food. Andy got noodles with pork, I got noodles with duck. Each plate cost around $2 US. Very delicious! (This meal also marked our first use of chopsticks on our round-the-world trip...)
Much to Andy's delight, we quickly discovered that there is a 7-Eleven about every two feet in Singapore, and that they sell $1 slurpees. (That's one Singapore dollar, worth about 80 US cents.) Of course, the largest size of slurpee available in Singapore is about the size of a small in the US, so Andy had to drink multiple ones each day. In Andy's other hand is a cold canned soy milk, my perhaps slightly healthier beverage of choice on several occasions.

I first had aloe vera yogurt in El Salvador and was pleased to find it again in Malaysia and Singapore. This one is made in Thailand, so it seems I have even more of it to look forward to in the future. This yogurt also had surprise bonus jellied bits in it, which I enjoyed.

If you think that Andy was happy to find all those 7-Elevens, imagine how ecstatic he was when a new friend told us that Singapore also has Dairy Queens!! A quest to find them was immediately planned, and in the mall-land of Orchard Road we found two, one on the street and one in a very posh mall basement, right underneath the Gucci store.
It was a limited DQ menu, so no Mr. Mistys (aka Arctic Rushes) for Andy, but we did get our first Blizzard fix in almost a year. And Singapore has crazy Blizzard flavors! Andy got blueberry-almond and I got green -tea-Oreo. Yummmmm.
If you think that's all, you're wrong. After our main course Blizzards, we had to have a dessert Blizzard! In the name of moderation, we shared an apricot-almond blizzard. No pic here, you'll just have to take our word for it.

I should mention here that we stupidly forgot to take any pictures with my college friend Leslie, who lives in Singapore and met us for drinks and dinner on our last night in town. It was so great to catch up with her and hear all about her Asian adventures since graduation. Her friends were great, too (John tipped us off about the DQs, and we will be forever grateful!). Thanks for a great night out, Leslie!

So, as we hurtled toward the airport in the icy-AC'd MRT train, I thought back over my two and a half days in Singapore. I might not recommend it as the most exciting vacation destination ever, but with the good public transit, safety and cleanliness, great location in the middle of Southeast Asia, and fun mix of foods, and air-conditioned outdoors, it would certainly be a comfortable enough place to live for a couple of years. And given how many Western expats we saw around the city, I'm clearly not the only one who thinks so.

Friday, January 28, 2011

String hoppers, noodle-newtons, rottys, and other foods of Sri Lanka

As our plane was touching down in Sri Lanka, I reluctantly struggled out of my deep, cushy, first-class seat and wondered aloud what the food would be like. We didn't have a guidebook for this country, just a few printed-out pages from a Lonely Planet PDF (not including the food section), so I hadn't been able to do my usual exhaustive advance research. Ah, well--sometimes it's nice to be surprised!

(Andy then pointed out that we had had Sri Lankan food before--in Belize, of all places, we'd eaten at a random Sri Lankan restaurant in the small town of San Ignacio! I'd completely forgotten.)

We were soon reintroduced to the major staple of Lankan cuisine: Rice and curry. For around $1-2 US, you get a plate of rice, dollops of several different vegetable curries/salads/sauces, delicious dhal made with yellow split peas, and some saucy chicken or beef if you've paid extra for it.Is the food spicy? I'll just let Andy's sweaty face answer that question for you.

In the town of Kandy, we had to buy some...candy.! The pink one is coconutty and the brown one more sugar-flavored. We had similar sweets last year in Trinidad and some other tropical countries in South and Central America, and weirdly, everywhere we've had them, these sweets have tasted a little like bacon grease to me.
Bake houses, or bakeries, are incredibly popular all over Sri Lanka. We didn't find much street food, but you could always pop into a bakery for a snack. Here we have a typical spread including a curry puff (triangle, left), a jam pie (semicircle, right), and the ubiquitous chicken sausage roll (like a big pig...I mean, a blanket, center).
We always try to try the weirdest juice flavors we can find, and Sri Lanka offered up two gems: wood apple and nelli. The nelli (left) tasted vaguely pear-like and was nice. The wood apple was gloopy, brown, and I don't even know how to describe it except to say that one glass was enough for both of us forever. It is a really popular flavor in SL, though--you can also find wood apple jam, pudding, etc.
Another Sri Lankan staple food is something called a hopper, which comes in many variations. The plain hopper is a dosa-like, rice-flour pancake cooked in a special pan that makes it come out bowl-shaped--thin and crispy on the edges and thick in the center. Kind of like a bread bowl, and can be eaten with sweet or savory toppings. (Most other hoppers are like this one but with other stuff added to the batter, but as we were to learn later, the "string hopper" is a different animal!)
This is what rice and curry looks like in a slightly more upscale setting--many bowls of fun curried veggies and meat to eat with your rice.

The wade, or vadai, is a lentil-based fried disc--not a ton of flavor, but hits the spot when you're on a long bus ride and a vendor comes down the bus aisle with a basketful. As with most fried things, it's significantly better when still warm.
The best flavor of ice cream in Sri Lanka is fruit and nut. The ice cream itself is green, for some reason, and has raisins, bits of glaceed pumpkin (which are usually dyed red), and cashew in it. It may sound weird, but trust me, it is good. I put away several liters on my own over the course of the week there.
In India, roti is bread, but in Sri Lanka it is more like a pancake, wrapped around a filling of curried potatoes and vegetables, or beef, or chicken, or fish. Amusingly, it is sometimes spelled "rotty." These packets are sold cheaply at bakeries and make a great snack. Near the main gate to the ruins of Sigiriya is a little canteen used by park workers that was churning out hot, fresh veggie rotis, which made a perfect breakfast before the climb to the top of the rock.

On our way to Horton National Park, our taxi driver stopped in a small village to grab a quick breakfast bite, and we decided to join him. We ended up with two...pastries(?) made of cooked noodles molded around a coconut-and-molasses filling. Like a giant noodle-newton. It may qualify as the weirdest breakfast we have had yet in our travels (and that's saying a lot), but it wasn't terrible.
For some reason, all yogurts in Sri Lanka have gelatin in them. Even the drinkable ones, which (if the one I tried below is representative), are the consistency of milk with no noticeable gelatin-aided thickening at all. So, is Sri Lanka sitting on a big excess pile of gelatin or something? Big points to anyone who can solve this mystery for me.
EGB is a beverage widely advertised in Sri Lanka. Andy had to try one, and found out that it stands for Elephant Ginger Beer. He was disappointed to find out that there's no elephant in the drink--Elephant is just the name of the food company (they also makes ice cream). It was a pretty good drink, not overly carbonated. And bonus points for the returnable, reusable glass bottle!
It wasn't until we got to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka and our last stop in the country, that we discovered that a string hopper is not at all like all the other hoppers. Instead, it is a floppy disk made of steamed rice noodles. Very tasty when served with Sri Lankan yellow dhal!
A tasty mango juice in Colombo. Big chunks of fresh mango blended up with ice and water and some sugar. I was mildly afraid that the local ice and water would kill me, but they didn't!
Breakfast in Colombo: string hoppers with dhal and chicken curry sauce, two vegetable roti triangles, and a bottled mango juice.
We went to a slightly expensive (for us) restaurant in Colombo, which means dinner cost around $15 US. It specialized in Jaffna-style curries (Jaffna is the northernmost city in Sri Lanka), and we both decided to be adventurous and order a bunch of stuff we'd never heard of before. We were amply rewarded with one of the most delicious memorable meals in some time.

Clockwise from top left: string hopper pilaf, made from chopped up string hoppers, curry leaves, and spices like cinnamon and cloves; saffron rice; a sweet beef dish; garlic curry, complete with about 100 cloves of garlic; and "ash plantain" sambal, which was basically banana chips and raw onions in an amazing sweet-and-spicy sauce. If that sounds good to you (and it is, I promise!), I suggest you pay a visit to Palmyrah restaurant in the Hotel Renuka the time you're in Colombo.
Last day in Sri Lanka = finally time to try a faluda! I was wary of this drink (also found in India) because it is rosewater-flavored, and I'm not a big rose-flavor fan, but it turned out to be a subtle and delicious combination of ice cream, milk, rose syrup (that's the red stuff on the bottom), and little jelly-like seeds. As I learned from the locals behind me, you mix it up before drinking it/eating it with a spoon.
Our friends Rashad and Emma--who introduced us to many fine culinary experiences in Cairo--had been to Sri Lanka recently and suggested that we might like to check out the high tea at the fancy Galle Face Regency hotel in Colombo. Expecting a lot of caffeine and a three-tiered plate piled high with cucumber sandwiches, Andy was not too excited about this idea, but he did a complete 180 as soon as he found out that this tea was an all-you-can-eat, sweet-and-savory buffet! It was basically like a wedding reception cocktail hour (well, minus the cocktails) that lasted four hours and cost $10 per person.

Not sure where to begin, you can see that Andy's first (of many) plates is loaded with chicken sausages and little cakes, scones and whipping cream. The little shot glass is a supersweet passionfruit jelly (Andy had five), and there was endless orange juice, iced tea, and iced coffee as well as pots of tea. I ate a lot, too, thanks to the waffle and pancake stations and sandwich station where a carver would cut the crusts off your sandwich without your even asking.

High tea was an excellent way to end our eatings in Sri Lanka. Overall, the cuisine was tasty and not too expensive. Not pictured in this post is all the Chinese food, which is also really popular in Sri Lanka and is sometimes the only restaurant food you can find if you don't want rice and curry. Colombo probably had the best eats, but we enjoyed food all over the country--guesthouses often cook up very good meals, better than many restaurants. Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed eating.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Andy goes to Kandy (and Tara, too): Sri Lanka

We have a lot of Sri Lanka pictures, so I won't waste much space with an introduction. However, a special thanks to Emma and Rashad, who essentially planned our Sri Lanka itinerary for us by sharing theirs.

Our short flight from Chennai was greatly improved by an upgrade to first class. Thanks, Kingfisher Airlines! Maybe they upgraded us because I was tall and didn't look like I would fit in the standard, diminuative Indian-sized seats. Or maybe we smelled so bad that they didn't think anyone should have to sit next to us. Whatever the case, it was great.
Once in Sri Lanka, our first stop was Kandy. Kandy has the most religious Buddhist site in Sri Lanka, so it gets a lot of monk visitors. But most monks seem to have things that we do not, like umbrellas and cell phones. They must have missed the vow of poverty day. Or maybe we are poor...
Kandy has a huge, manmade lake in the middle that has quite a bit of wildlife. Here is a giant water monitor swimming.
Kandy also has a good number of macaques, which are cute little monkeys unless this is your car.
Tara is very proud of this shot of four cuddly monkeys on a roof.
The lake also has fruit bats that roost in the trees. Hundreds of them were settling down for the day's rest on this morning. They make a lot of noise.
This is it: the most famous site in Sri Lankan Buddhism. What could be so sacred? The Temple of the Tooth! This temple houses a tooth of Buddha himself! Maybe. The story goes that someone stole it off of the burning funeral pyre and brought it to Sri Lanka. It slowly became the center of power in Sri Lanka and you couldn't rule unless you had the tooth. So, multiple groups, including the Europeans, claim to have destroyed the tooth over the years, but others claim that it was a fake that was destroyed. Tooth or not, we refused to pay $10 each to see an old tooth, but it was nice from the outside.
This giant, reclining Buddha is maybe 30 feet long. And, like most of the Buddhas in Sri Lanka, it looked like it was freshly minted at a Chinese plastics factory.
We went to the Kandy Museum only because it was free with another ticket we had. We were the only ones. Tara was very bored until she discovered the coconut bench exhibit. A coconut bench is a little bench with a sharp knife attached that is shaped to get the inside of a coconut out for making coconut milk or otherwise disemboweling your coconut in record time. Tara and I once made coconut milk from scratch, which is a huge pain, and she had the fleeting belief that all she needed to do was get one of these coconut benches and she could quickly make fresh coconut milk all the time. I talked her off the ledge just as she was about to buy one on eBay, but she still has a soft spot for them.
Another plastic-looking Buddha with Tara for a size comparison. I feel like it came straight from Legoland.
Several people have asked if we saw cobras in India. No, we didn't. No one charms snakes anymore, apparently. But you do see a lot of items like this mask that show the historical importance of the cobra. I plan to start wearing snakes in my nose like this once I return to the US. I think it will help my job interview chances.
We went to a dance show where they also wore masks like this.
After Kandy, we went to Anuradhapura, which has a different kind of monkey.
And massive flooding. Much of Sri Lanka was underwater while we were there. This temple is normally on the bank of the river. Now, it is part of the river.
Taking a picture of these birds is a bit like a tourist taking a picture of a pigeon in New York. People question your sanity because they are everywhere. But they look so much nicer than a pigeon.
Anuradhapura is the historical capital of Sri Lanka and is filled with stupas. Nope, we'd never heard of them, either. Buddhists bury important Buddhist things inside and then build huge solid brick structures around them. They sometimes then enclose that under a wooden structure. This one is a couple thousand years old and reflects nicely in the flood waters.
Peacocks are native to India and Sri Lanka. Like most wild animals, though, they don't let you get very close before running away.
Moonstones are half-circle stones at the outside of a door. This one is about 1500 years old and apparently one of the finest in Sri Lanka. We thought it would look nice outside our door, but we couldn't carry it (and don't really have a door).
Our little motor rickshaw that was showing us the sites in Anuradhapura risked his rickshaw and our lives to get us through the floodwaters. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but we could have potentially got our shoes wet.
This stupa was the third largest structure in the world after the two great pyramids when it was built in the second century. It has some incredible number of bricks. Enough to reach Pluto or Andromeda or something. A lot. And it is mossy, which I like.
As much as we stereotype banyan trees as being part of India, we never saw one. In Sri Lanka, though, you see them from time to time. They are just fig trees, but still nice.
We went to Sigiriya, an old monastery and gardens on top of a massive rock, on a day when the rains had stopped. Everything was still flooded, with many of the staircases turned into small streams. More fun for everyone!
Here is a view of the top of the massive rock with the monastery ruins on top.
We liked this sign. People would walk by and immediately become silent, but then become very loud three steps later. The fear of bees that were as big as our bodies kept us silent a bit longer.
At Sigiriya, they have some cliff paintings from the sixth century that are very colorful and well-preserved. Apparently, from the fifth to the 12th centuries, lots of locals inscribed grafitti, mostly relating to how hot the women were. Women wrote about how jealous they were and men wrote poetry to the women. Around the 12th century, the grafitti suddenly stopped being poetic and became more bawdy.
The top of the monastery was guarded by a massive lion. Only the paws remain, but you can see how large it once was.
Our taxi driver really wanted us to see the giant golden Buddha. It is both giant and golden. They like Buddha a lot in Sri Lanka.
The views from the top of Sigiriya are really nice, though a bit misty like most of Sri Lanka.
Okay, so after posting a picture of Tara with bird poop on her head, I have to post my own pooped upon picture. At least it was my sleeve and not my head.
At Horton's Plain National Park, the sun came out and we had a beautiful hike to the "End of the World". The valley below was still clouded over, but the park had several nice views.
Here is another shot.
The park also has hundreds of lizard species. This one looked really nice and Tara got a good picture of it.
I spotted a little bee-eater in the distance, but this was the best picture we could get. Not exactly sure of the species, but quite colorful.
The waterfalls in Horton Plains were made more impressive because of the flooding. Lots of little steps down also create a lot more noise than most falls of this size, so it sounded much larger on the approach to the falls.
On the way out of the park, this sambar deer thought we might have some food to share. We didn't so he left. We thought this might be common, but since our guide was snapping away on his camera phone, we decided it must not happen that often.
We saw a troop of toque macaques while leaving the park. Tara informs me that a toque is some kind of hat, which makes sense given the hair these guys have. This one may have had a disease because his face was a hot pink color and he looked crazy.
We then spotted some shaggy bear monkeys, aka the purple-faced langor. They do, indeed, look like shaggy bears.
Here is a normal toque macaque who had the best hairdo.
We stayed for a couple of days in Newara Eliya, which seems to be the tea center of the universe. Every hill in the area is covered with tea plantations like this one.
Then to Colombo. Colombo is full of bigger buildings, but we finally had some blue sky days.
Colombo has a long beach stroll, which was hopping with a holiday celebration the day that we arrived.
In Colombo, we went to tea at a fancy hotel (the Galle Face). I normally hate tea, but this one was an extravagent buffet, which made it good. Also, this chipmunk cleverly stole sugar packets, ripped them open, and ate the sugar out while clinging to the blinds before tossing his used sugar packet on the nearest table and leaving.
A sunset over the ocean of Colombo.
The Sri Lankan flag is a good one with an armed lion. If Sri Lanka were to fight a war today, its best hope is that the armed lion would come to fight on its behalf. Unfortunately, all the lions of Sri Lanka were killed a long time ago.
Sri Lanka has many gems, and lots of stores displaying them in the window. Despite being tempted to become international gem smugglers, we decided not to risk jail in any of our upcoming countries.
That brings us to the end of Sri Lanka. It rained a lot, but we still saw as much as we could. We thought about going to the north that was controlled by the rebels until recently, but we have heard it isn't very exciting. Something for next time. We do hope that the country recovers from the heavy flooding. The water may destroy much of the rice crop, the most important crop of the country. If you have some extra money laying around, google Sri Lanka flood donations and give it to a good cause.