Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The weekend: A bit of work and the elephant sanctuary.
Today was a short work-day. All three sites are still well on their way (the temple wall looks like it will be ready for plastering in the next few days, the TTF roof men are coming in to start working on the building that is farthest along and the house is getting plastered like crazy!). After work, we ran off to the internet café ASAP (they stayed open an extra hour just for us) to print and laminate proof of enrolment letters from UBC. These documents will get us 50 % off almost all the entrance fees we will be encountering throughout the weekend trips and cultural tour- what nice student benefits! After that, we hit the beach for some volleyball and swimming, then called tuk-tuks to head to a local school to play basketball with our friend from the work site (Iresh). Everyone sweat like mad (what’s new?) and had a great time. At 7 (when it is too dark to think about throwing balls at each other), we headed back to Wavy Ocean and made a chick pea based patty dinner. Tonight, the group hung out with a couple of friends from the worksite as well as a woman from Thompson Rivers University, Suzi finishing up her bachelor of social work. Tomorrow will be bright and early- 6:00 am as we head for the elephant sanctuary.
Early, early early! 5:30 after a late night (up to around 1:30 for some of us) was pretty rough, but everyone was surprisingly ready to get the day on a roll and head of to Udewala National Park to see elephants. We stopped for a traditional Sri Lankan breakfast (different breads, curries and rice) and then hopped into some open top jeeps and went through the park. Everyone had a great time- not only were the elephants amazing to see in their natural habitat, but the groups loved the open top jeeps as well- overall quite the experience for those who have never been somewhere were you can stand up in a moving vehicle, let alone not wear a seatbelt (Parents- don’t worry. safari driving is very slow and everyone was safe). We stopped to pick up some breakfast and dinner food and almost everyone sawed some logs in the back of the vans until we made it back to Wavy Ocean (our guest houses). Right when we got home, we went over our cultural trip itinerary as a group; it will be amazing, including everything from seeing what has been called the 8th wonder of the world, Sigiriya- a temple on top of a strangely perfect cylindrical mountain- to watching Kandyan dancing to checking out spice gardens and tea factories, to riding elephants!
Almost everyone went straight to bed before dinner to catch up on some sleep (instead, I made jell-o for dessert tonight). And back to work tomorrow! We will be mixing up the groups to make sure that everyone gets a chance to work together.