I woke up at 5:30 AM to Benjamin's mom making coleslaw sandwiches and tea for breakfast. Benjamin had booked a minivan to drive me and the Vietnamese couple renting the room on the second floor to drive the three hours north to Lion's Rock in Sigiriya and then the cave temples of Dambulla. Hoài Anh meaning missing you in Vietnamese and Thắng (pronounced Tong) meaning victory, joined me for breakfast before then heading on the road with additional packed sandwiches for the trip.
Benjamin joined us on the journey. Much like the bus ride from the airport to Kandy, the trip to Sigiriya was spent with starts and stops, dodging tuk-tuks from all directions. There was only one freeway in Sri Lanka and it was a public works project to nowhere. The map Sri Lanka is flat but Sri Lanka is most definitely was not. The roads were two lanes at best with blind curves ribboning around jungle mountains everywhere. In most Sri Lankan guidebooks they do not recommend renting a vehicle and I can see why. It requires amazing skill to fit between the closing gap of two buses. I asked Benjamin what it takes to become a tuk-tuk driver. He said that I could buy a tuk-tuk for about $3500, pay $150 for the license and start picking up passengers the same day.
Sigiriya or Lyon's rock was a site to be seen, an ancient rock citadel built by King Kashyapa between 447 and 495 AD. How they got to the top I do not know because I climbed a lot of metal stairs cut into the rock surface. The views from the top were 360 degrees of amazing. The large breasted nude frescos on the way up were equally dramatic, a little encouragement to pause before continuing up the rock cliff. One other thing to consider, the exposed rock at Sigiriya was hot. It was a breezy 98 degrees at top. If you go, go early.