January 24th – Kitulgala to Adam’s Peak
Jan 24, 2011
|Monday, January 24th – Kitulgala to Adam’s Peak.
I rose before sunrise and walked down to the water’s edge hoping for some colour in the sky, but it didn’t happen! It was lovely, never-the-less, very peaceful and serene. We were to leave after lunch, so this morning we were free to do whatever we chose. Some people would go white-water rafting. I chose to wander the grounds with my camera.
In the event, I didn’t do much wandering as there was another wedding. This time we were able to witness the entire ceremony. There was a group of musicians/dancers and all the family members, beautifully dressed, processing through the grounds and into the main room.
We were invited to go inside and watch and the whole thing was quite fascinating. There is one point in the ceremony where the bride is supposed to feign sadness at leaving her family and mother in particular. But with this bride, it looked genuine. In fact, both she and the groom looked sad throughout the entire ceremony, so I am guessing it was an arranged marriage.
After lunch, we left for the drive to Maskeliya, stopping several times en-route, firstly in a small town for a few minutes and later just a few picture stops. We passed miles of tea plantations and stopped at one point to photograph the ladies picking the leaves. There was a waterfall and the first glimpse of Adam’s Peak from the bus window. It was a very daunting sight, but I still haven’t made up my mind. I’m not alone though! For a couple of the men, climbing Adam’s Peak seems to be the main reason for their being here, but apart from them, most of the others, like me, are undecided.
We arrived at Maskeliya in the late afternoon and checked into a small and very basic guest house before setting off to explore. Maskeliya is not really a town at all, but more a staging point for the climb up Adam’s Peak. The road through the town and along the first part of the track up the mountain is lined with stalls all selling the same things, wooly hats, baseball caps, warm jackets, temple offerings made from artificial flowers, snacks, and many, many, cheap plastic toys. Apparently, quite a few people take their children up the mountain with them and the toys are supposed to keep them amused during the three to four hour climb!
The exploration of the town was very quick and we returned to the guest house armed with biscuits and chocolate bars to be used as a source of energy on the climb which most of us still hadn’t made a definitive decision about. In my case, I was going through the motions – keeping options open.
Maureen and I had been very surprised when we saw the room we were to share. It contained two huge king size beds both covered by mosquito nets. There was comfortable lounge furniture and a more than adequate bathroom with a good shower and plenty hot water.
We had dinner at 6.30 pm ready to go to bed at 7.30. The dinner was probably the best we had had during the whole trip and it cost next to nothing – on top of which, the service was second to none.
I went to bed at 7.30 but was still not making a decision until after the 1.30 am alarm call. I think, deep down, I was hoping for heavy rain and a good excuse not to go!