14 Feb - 16 Feb 2011 Kandy

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Star Light Guest House +94812233573
Adequate twin room for LKR 1,500.- or US$ 13.50 per night.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Star Light Guest House in Kandy and for directions:

Strolling through the congested city centre of Kandy, a narcissistic bastion of Sinhalese traditions, probably the most overrated city in Sri Lanka and a nicely going production line of the country's booming tourist industry, and overhearing many funny conversations between (i) droves of Western package tourists (features: mostly frowning and visibly under stress, overweight and ugly, dressed like clowns on holiday in wonderland) and (ii) troupes of local touts and wannabe guides (features: mostly smiling and determined, fit and handsome, smart-casually dressed): “Hullo, Seirrr! Werrr are you going? - Wazzz yar cuntry? - How long you in Srrrrri Lanka? - You like Srrri Lanka, Seirrr? - Only local prize; last prize. - No, not cheahting. - Wattt to do?”
“To be a tourist is to escape accountability. Errors and failings don't cling to you the way they do back home. You're able to drift across continents and languages, suspending the operation of sound thought. Tourism is the march of stupidity. You're expected to be stupid. The entire mechanism of the host country is geared to travelers acting stupidly. You walked around dazed, squinting into fold-out maps. You don't know how to talk to people, how to get anywhere, what the money means, what time it is, what to eat or how to eat it. Being stupid is the pattern, the level and the norm. You can exist on this level for weeks and months without reprimand or dire consequence. Together with thousands, you are granted immunities and broad freedoms. You are an army of fools, wearing bright polyesters, riding camels, taking pictures of each other, haggard, dysentric, thirsty. There is nothing to think about but the next shapeless event.” 

Running away from Kandy's ubertouristed city centre, an overpriced UNESCO World Heritage Site and well-oiled tourist trap, and visiting the tranquil Royal Botanic Gardens of Sri Lanka at nearby Peradeniya (admission: a stiff US$ 10.- per foreigner), which cover almost 150 acres and are stuffed with a bewildering variety of local and foreign tree and plant species (arranged by a succession of skilled British gardeners and maintained by apathetic Sinhalese garden workers who nowadays make about LKR 15,000.- or US$ 135.- per month).

Applying for two 180-day double-entry tourist visas for the Republic of Incredible India at the bureaucratic and unfriendly India Visa Application Centre VFS Global in Kandy, paying the non-refundable fee of LKR 5,244.- or US$ 47.25 per person and keeping our fingers crossed for a positive outcome.
“Bureaucracies force us to practice nonsense. And if you rehearse nonsense, you may one day find yourself the victim of it.”

Taking the clean and fast Arundi Tours Intercity Service air-con bus from Kandy to the Colombo Fort Railway Station (c. 120 km, 2 3/4 hours, LKR 230.- or US$ 2.10 per person) and thereafter the rugged local train in third class for only LKR 10.- from the Colombo Fort Railway Station to the conveniently located Kompannavidiya Railway Station, a mere 5 min walk from our next hotel, the Nippon Hotel Colombo, situated in a down-at-heel part of Colombo inside the characterful, colonnaded 1883 CE Manning’s Mansion.

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
2011 Map Konni & Matt

Visit the Konni & Matt Online Albums and order high-res travel photos 
Konni & Matt Travel Photos

Facing Sri Lanka
© Konni & Matt

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