posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ella


Last night the guest house host, Neil for foreigners but something very much abstruse and long in Sinhalese, was really helpful. A keen cyclist himself he seemed to know all the roads in the country and was so eager to help me plan my remaining days here that after one hour of taking out maps, Internet searches and calling up people to find out accommodation, he was still going strong. Nothing would have stopped him if I had not mentioned that after the slog up the mountain the stomach was rather full of sorrow and needed something to munch on. He was really generous and kept pouring cup after cup of coffee and refusing any money for it. At night it was a little hard to fall asleep and at five am sharp the morning Chanting contest  started. The place up on a hill was very blessed by a nearby mosque and a Buddhist temple and both the Imam and the monks woke up in excellent form. Chants and bells galore for one hour until six, amplified by loudspeakers for the 
hardest of hearing. In the end they must have called a truce, settled on a tie and decided to reconvene tomorrow ensuring that Nuwara Eliya's population doesn't get into bad habits and decide to have a lie in until 7am or something as bad as that! 
Given the tension and conflicts that lasted until 2009 the island now is a wonderful example of Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, and Hindu religion coexisting together. Today while cycling in the countryside I luckily spotted an exquisite temple with two young monks and their master happy to have a chat and later eager to take me into the little shrine. A couple of small rooms with wonderful tiled floor and wall paintings all around and of course at the centre of the altar the usual large golden serene Buddha.
I arrived in Ella in good time and went straight into my routine of a little sightseeing, fruit juices and drinks, writing this diary before enjoying rather large portions of food for dinner. My room tonight is on top of a hill with a private balcony facing the forest. There won't be chants for sure but I have been warned about the presence of monkeys and forgot to ask the all important question...what time do monkeys wake up?