Day 2 Exploring Bentota - the tourist trap almost avoided !
03.10.2012 - 03.10.2012 30 °C
As we sit and relax on our balcony facing the Indian Ocean drinking gin and tonic we reminisce about what a glorious day it has been.
We were awakened this morning by the sound of the ocean waves crashing onto the beach and the colonial train that passes out the back of the hotel, although not in a bad way. The day began with a stroll along the beautiful Bentota beach, which although still early morning the temperature was very warm but the beach was practically deserted apart from the odd tourist tout and a kind Sri Lankan lady selling sarong's plus the many small crabs that scuttled across the beach as you approached them.
After a mighty breakfast upon our return to the hotel, we left the hotel to explore the town of Bentota and it's many surprises that were to greet us. Immediately we were met by a man named Cirri who preceded to walk with us all the way to the temple. Cirri was a pleasant man, he showed us the sleeping flowers that shrivel up when touched, the local primary school, a British post box and some good eating places. We take this all in our stride knowing fine well that we will need to pay this guy for his services but not much money which is well worth it for the insider knowledge albeit biased.
After walking for some time we finally come to the temple, where we are asked to remove our shoes, and What a fine place the Buddhist temple is. Cirri talks us through the history of the temple as a Buddhist monk looks on, he explains how local villagers come each morning and evening to worship and bring flowers and he also blesses us with the holy water from the bowl in the ancient temple. Upon leaving we make a small donation.
From the temple, Cirri takes us to the edge of the river where a small boat and 2 other local men are waiting. We board the boat and soon we are on the bentota river. To our surprise we are rowed through the mangroves where we see a monitor lizard relaxing in the shade and a variety of other flora and fauna. As we approach the end of the mangrove tunnels we surprise a tree of sea eagles and there is suddenly a mass of brown and white above us in the sky, a glorious sight. We also disturb the odd fruit bat the circles above us and what a size they are.
When we leave the boat we are asked for 4000 rupees (£18) by the two rowers, but we haggle and manage to get the price down to 2000 rupees (£9) - a reasonable price for the great experience of discovery we just had and everyone is happy.
We thank our guide and pay him a small amount for his time 350 rupees and return to our hotel happy
What started off as a quiet stroll around Bentota turned out to be a great experience of discovery and although we fell into the tourist trap on stepping out of the hotel the experience we had far outweighed the trap at very little cost.