Work has been quite slow and the novelty of people staring at me has worn pretty thin so the trip to Kandy the weekend before last was a very welcome and timely break. Every three months all the vols working in the mental health programme meet up for a two day meeting and this time it was being held in Kandy. So Julie and I arranged to meet on the Saturday for a weekend of sightseeing. Julie is in my 'batch' who arrived in Sri lanka at the same time and is working in the big mental health hospital in Colombo.
On the Saturday we took a look around the Temple of the Tooth. The grounds and buildings are very beautiful and the tooth itself, believed to be one of Buddha's, is housed in a small chamber in the temple, in a casket with three locks, the holders of which are scattered across the country. The long and short of it is, you ain't goin' see it. However, I thought it was well worth going to have a look around. Then in the early evening we went off to the Kandyan Arts Association to watch the kandyan drummers and dancers. All very touristy and quite camp and very good fun. We stayed in town to get something to eat and left the restaurant about 10pm to find Kandy had shut down for the night. The only thing open was a bakery so we felt compelled to buy some cake, as you do. Perhaps it is the Sri Lankan equivalent of a kebab shop? The next day we headed off to the Botannical Gardens and spent the whole day there. It is very beautiful and QUIET. But at the base of every tree was a canoodling couple, and I do mean every tree. But then the anti-canoodling police arrived and got the couples to "Move along!". Wherever the anti-canoodling policeman would go, half a dozen couples would suddenly appear from behind trees and scurry off. It was like something out of a Monty Python sketch.
After the two day meeting in Kandy it was back to Kurunegala Wednesday and Thursday. I haven't really got enough to do at work yet, so I am getting quite bored. I know I wanted to lighten my workload but this has gone from one extreme to the other. However, the excitement on Thursday was that I saw a snake! About six foot long, black-grey in colour and not poisonous apparently. It just slithered across the grass under the volleyball net about 15-20 foot away from us. Of course, I was terribly excited and was pointing and wanting to tell everyone, but most of the clients and staff hardly glanced at it at all.
On Friday, May Day it was another public holiday (I'm losing count already) and so I hopped on a bus to Colombo for the weekend to celebrate Catherine's birthday on the Saturday. We stayed at Emma's swanky 27th floor air-conditioned (not jealous) apartment . Needless to say she is not a volunteer! She was a fab host and put on a lovely birthday meal. My little provincial pad didn't seem quite the same when I got back on Sunday. However, I did go shopping on the Saturday and bought a few things for the house so have been doing a bit of nesting.
My landlord, Mr Wicky had offerred me a larger kitchen table which I'd said yes to, so yesterday he and his wife came. I hadn't realised the table in question was being used by Chiharu, the Japenese woman from upstairs so felt very awkward but she assured me it was fine as she would get another table. So we set about bringing it downstairs. I don't know how they got it up there but it certainly wasn't coming down the staircase, so Mr Wicky suggested taking over the balcony. Mr W and his wife tied a bit of washing line to one leg and moved it over the balcony while Chiharu and I perilously hovered below trying to avoid a head injury. Somehow it all worked out and no trips to A&E were necessary. And my house is looking a bit more lived in now.
Two more photo albums this week. And this weekend I am going in search of elephants!