Old bike

Day 9 - Polonaruwa/Sigiriya/Dambulla

Bemoaning the sedate pace of the train we switched to the bus for the journey to Polonaruwa. They are rattling old beasts but, judging by the crush of people aboard, the most popular way to travel. In this compressed way we passed the next few hours, the monotony only broken when my pack fell from the overhead rack onto a fellow passenger. He took this assault from above most amiably and offered me pineapple. I've found most Sri Lankans to be of this cheery disposition and how pleasant to be offered a warm smile for looking different rather than the traditional fear and suspicion.
Our landlady rather bucked the trend with her repeated attempts to extract money from us and indignation that we should choose to spend it elsewhere. She did tempt us into having our sweat-sodden clothes cleaned though the headband of my hat, stained betel juice red is surely beyond hope. I admire Sri Lankan's industry and constant efforts to earn a living wage. The sharp practice and deceit sometimes employed though leaves a more bitter taste. 'Caveat emptor' is a universal mantra but never more so here.
We stood atop the Lion's Rock looking out over all of Sigiriya and reflected on a worthwhile but draining 1202 steps in the April sun. A curious amount of blind people were being led up to the summit, quite what they got from the experience one cannot help but wonder. Certainly they would have missed out on the frescoes of the...pneumatic women on the climb. The Dambulla cave complex presented less of a climb but less of an experience with 5 shallow caves packed with a multitude of Buddhas, sitting, standing, reclining. Rinse (feet) and repeat.

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