Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Avoiding a Scam in Rain-Drenched Kuching and Returning to KL

Kuching and KL, Malaysia - I realized I outsmarted a scam. Last night, I informed my hotel counter that I'd need a taxi that would take me to the airport. The lady by the counter told me that they lost the phone number of the taxi service that picked me up at the airport which charged only 26 ringgit. So instead of paying 26 ringgit (the same rate as the airport's prepaid taxi service), their new contact is asking for 35 ringgit! Now we are talking about a 20 minute taxi ride to the airport so I smelled the stench of garbage. If the same taxi were to take me to the Cat Museum by Siol Hill, they would charge me 60 ringgit, which is kind of ridiculous already. I said yes to the airport, no to Cat Museum. What's an additional 9 ringgit anyway - it's just the price of a movie ticket at Berjaya Times Square!

This morning, after having my breakfast, I proceeded to the riverbank to relish on my last few hours in Kuching, I decided I'd pack and wait for my taxi earlier than the scheduled pick-up with the 36-ringgit taxi. It was a different guy (Kevin) manning the hotel counter. I reminded him of my taxi booking but he said he would call for a taxi now.
A real taxi - and not just some fly-by-night car who wanted to earn extra. What if the 35 ringgit taxi came too? Whoever would come 1st will get my ride!

An old man driving a real "
yellow taxi" came. His charge - 26 ringgit! The hotel didn't lose their taxi contact's number, after all. I knew I was being had by the girl at the counter last night! What tipped me? Who would believe one could lose a taxi contact number in Kuching? Was there only one? It would have been easily more believable if she said the taxi service I hired earlier was not available; the driver took off to Pluto; or she had a previous date with Ellen Degeneres. But lost their number? There are mendicants and scammers wherever you go. God!

Kuching - the
wettest city in all of Malaysia - cooperated during my visit. No rains at all. As my taxi pulls into the airport foyer, the rain started to fall and in minutes - it was blowing its fury!

Air Asia was delayed by 25 minutes... so our 1:55 PM departure became 2:20PM. I was back in KL by 4PM. The bus ride to Puduraya was relaxing. I dozed off. I don't exactly know what I will be doing all day tomorrow. I am out of ideas. I don't want anything stressful at all; maybe a DVD hunt, a movie, a new little place that I haven't visited somewhere in the city? I dunno. I wanna find
Lake Titiwangsa but I am not sure how to go there. Taxi is out of the question. It's just too expensive taking cabs in this city.

How to Train Your Dragon" was the only movie I could watch at Berjaya and I wanted something relaxing. It was more than that - it was such a delight! Dreamworks has succeeded in "taming" dragons and I love "Toothless" to pieces. Who could love a black and seemingly disfigured dragon? Trust Speilberg and company to work out the impossible. Most other foreign films showing didn't have english subtitle including a Malaysian actioner called "V3" and a Korean action adventure called "Tao" which looked interesting!

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hits and Misses in Laidback Kuching

Kuching's Jalan India. This photo only courtesy of jpatokal.

Kuching, Borneo -Malaysia's wettest city, the "Cat City"; the capital city of the Sarawak State, is located in the island of Borneo. It is 1 hour and 45 minutes (by plane) from KL. I started my day rather leisurely. I wanted my last leg of travels to be relaxing, but it is hard to relax when the sun is harsh and perspiration bathes me at every block that I walk.

Kuching - for a tourist city - doesn't know exactly what to do with their tourists. There is no adequate public utility transportation. Sure they say there is a shuttle but you have to be patient to wait for one. Taxis charge astronomical fares. In this part of Malaysia, these idiots ( I refer to all
taxi drivers the world over as "greedy idiots" ) never use meter. Imagine my taxi fare from the airport is 26 ringgit, then when I booked for my ride back to the airport, it has escalated to 35 ringgit! Were not even talking about a limousine car, but small cars I can probably lift with both my arms. Gosh, my cars back home are thrice their size and i'm not even being sarcastic! The point being, rates for tourists are inexplicably horrendous, I was shaking my head from dusk til dawn! LOL

Are you a budget backpacker who loves to roam around? Then this place isn't for you, honey! The city is lovely but you'd find yourself a
very limited area to roam. Imagine how much they are charging me if I were to visit the Cat Museum (this is the Cat City, didn't I mention?) up Siol Hill which is just 10-15 minutes by car - 60 ringgit! We aren't talking about me visiting Paris' Louvre! Duh!

There are more than half a dozen museums in the city; the biggest and more important one - the
Sarawak Museum aka Ethnology Museum - prides itself as being the "best in southeast asia" which I would beg to disagree. Let me just namedrop Jakarta's National Museum for this!

I love the riverside though, which they call Waterfront. You could see the Astana (Palace) from across Sarawak River; the State Parliament gleaming its gilded roof, and the dreamily "romantic" (read its history)
Fort Margherita. I took a tambang (boat) - at 1 ringgit - to cross the river and walked to the Fort which was amazing. It is my favorite part of Kuching, to be honest.

I winded my day watching a Malaysian Film, "
Evolusi: KL Drift 2" which was derivative at best, with horrible digital tech visuals. Aaron Aziz is a baddie here, I saw him in another film ("Pisau Cucur" or "Gold Diggers" where he played a James Bond-like character) just last November in KL.

Day in and day out, I was looking for local cuisine suggested by travel and tourist sites. They were always
not available, especially "Midin". The ones I caught - the Kolo Mee - could very well be missed. Our Lucky Me instant noodles back home taste better. So much for gastronomic delights.

I went up the
Station Mall, at the 9th floor, and saw Kuching from the top. Beautiful! Buildings rising over foliage, the Sarawak River snaking languidly all over the city. It is awe-inspiring from up above!

Kuching's Riverside. This photo only courtesy of

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Idiots in Sri Lankan Air Asia and Arrival in Kuching, Borneo

Kuching skyline. This photo only courtesy of henrytanck.

Kuching, Sarawak -Colombo seemed weeks away, but it was really all in a day's rumination! From Negombo, my three-wheeler (their prefered "term" for the bajaj) driver Roshan was already waiting for me in front of Hotel Silver Sands by 5:45AM. The trip to the airport took 25 minutes, and the morning air smelled fresh. By 6:30AM, I was wading through the chaos in front of Bandaranaike International Airport! Huge crowds were waiting to get in.

As I was checking in for my
Air Asia flight, the counter guy asked for my Malaysian Visa! He handed me back my passport and prodded, "Show me!" The idiot needs to be taken back to Travel 101 school! How can he man a counter when he doesn't know that a Filipino like me travels visa-free all over Asia? I told him so and it took a while to register. Then he turns to a colleague who confirms this. Idiots like him shouldn't be employed by Air Asia! Besides, it was so easy to verify this - just read through my passport, in the last 2 years, I have had soooooo many Malaysian stamps, my last 4 months should have a dozen of them!
Air Asia does employ idiots!

Flight back to KL was unremarkable, except that I was sandwiched by nice Sri Lankans. The guy works in Singapore (and has been all over the US, for IBM), while the Sri Lankan girl with a Canadian passport is just visiting Malaysia for 2 weeks and Sri Lanka for 4 weeks. Three and 1/2 hours later, I was back in LCCT in Kuala Lumpur!

I was dying for chicken so i tried McDonald's 2-piece chicken (@ 12.35 ringgit). Didn't like their chicken. There was a tangy taste to it. God, I wished I had KFC instead. After my meal, it was time to check in again for my onward flight to Kuching!
Kuching is the premiere city in the state of Sarawak, which sits in the island of Borneo southeast of KL. It is far! A good 1 hour and 45 minutes plane ride from KL!

Kuching International Airport looked new and sophisticated! The night lights reflected hotel ambiance more than an airport. I was expecting my airport pickup which was running 15 minutes late! I took a prepaid taxi to
Saramo Hotel along Abell Road - at 26 ringgit - then learned that my pickup eventually came. Good thing, the taxi service refunded my money minus 3 ringgit for the service. The ride to the hotel took 20 minutes, and I was treated to hair-raising music by Aegis ("Halik"), Banyuhay, et. al. They actually listened to these craps, thinking I'd be delighted to listen to them from my weary travels. Am sorry but I was just too tired to be civil, so I shut up! They were just being hospitable.

Saramo Hotel is located right in the city center, just beside Air Asia office. At half past 8, the place looked dark and remote. After my hotel check in, I wandered around and looked for an internet cafe, which was nowhere near! I belatedly realized that Internet Service in this area is limited to the one at the Riverside Shop. I went to some malls and even tried to buy a Japanese DVD -19 ringgit a piece - but after several tries with 5 - yes, FIVE - of my credit cards, nothing worked! What a bummer! I didn't want to use my cash on DVD's, so I didn't buy them!

I went to the beautiful waterfront and saw the sights along the way, including the State Parliament, the Astana ("
palace") right across the river; then walked along the dark Carpenter Street, which was their Chinatown. No internet cafes here. This was an experience though - walking at 9PM in eerily dark avenues. I call it night time tourism. ;->

Then I called it a day! One restful slumber in Kuching!

Kuching mosque. This photo only courtesy of travelpod's koppers.

Kuching Post Office. It felt surreal seeing this place all deserted at night. No passersby, except for a few stray cats! This photo only courtesy of

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Charming Day in Idyllic Negombo, Sri Lanka

Negombo, Sri Lanka - Negombo exudes a laidback charm that its visitors relish. It lies 50 kilometers north of Colombo, and an irresistible beachside town that I almost missed.

I earlier thought of just spending my last night in Colombo and then something lit up. Why not? So from my charming room in Ottery Inn, I headed to the Fort's Bastian Mawatha station and took Bus 240. It's only 70 rupees and took a little more than an hour. Upon reaching Negombo station, finding my bajaj to take me to Hotel Silver Sands was fast! My driver Roshan soon became my guide - for just 500 rupees - to roam the nearby Island of Duwa later in the day.

Hotel Silver Sands is an unexpected wonderment - moorish architecture, sophisticated white-washed interiors. After a much needed rest, I took to the beach and had a leisurely walk, observing the local folk. There was a tout who started chatting me away. I knew he would eventually want money from me. To end his charade fast, I reached down my pocket. I had spare so why not? But he told me not to. Saying he'd rather I go to the store and buy milk than me handing him money. The nerve! He had another think coming if he thinks I'd waste my time personally buying him some milk! All the drama - and I am just too dead tired to be civil! So I walked away! That's what I call missed chances! He scampered after me, saying it was OK if I'd just hand him cash. No way, Jose! You've had your chance!

I turned to some corner until I reached the main street of Lewis Place, a narrow road lined by stores, guesthouses, a post office, a couple of internet shops, an art shop and several restaurants.

I like my hotel - Hotel Silver Sands. I am glad I somehow chose this over Ocean View Guesthouse which I saw awhile back - and it doesn't face the beach, but the street. Silver Sands has an enviable beachfront location, making it perfect when you just wanna languidly stare at the ocean. I witnessed a beautiful sunset today. It's a fitting end to my Sri Lankan adventures.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Desperation in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka - I left Kandy later than planned. In fact, I considered staying for a night longer. Colombo wasn't an appealing idea. The general sights felt mediocre; the weather scorching; and the metropolis is studded with a large volume of AK-47 toting men gathered in every block! 

Sure, they never bother the tourists, but there was always the sinking feeling it'd catch up with you. The Intercity Bus, their AC bus, which was supposed to be an "express" bus wasn't an express bus after all. There was no storage for baggages so I had to sneak my luggage between the minuscule leg room in front of me. This didn't leave me with enough for mobility. Adding to my discomfort, I had the only elevated seat in the vehicle, I had my leg partially raised for the duration of the trip! I should have just waited for the next bus. Express buses, as it turns out, picked up passengers along the way filling every nook and cranny, aisle seats included, with passengers. I prayed for patience and stamina to endure my cramped space for a 3 1/2 hour ride.
My bus reached the Colombo Bus Terminal before 7 PM. I wanted to go to the eye-poppingly beautiful Hotel Juliana but it was full! All the other hotels within my range of budget were full! Two hours later, I was on the throes of desperation! I walked the dimly lit Galle Road (it's a pity that such a major thoroughfare - like EDSA - was bathed in darkness at 8PM) with all my baggage, quite worn out from the ride from Kandy. I opened my Lonely Planet, looked for a calling station, and after several tries, I finally struck gold! Ottery Inn was located at Colombo 5 along Melbourne Road. The lady who answered my call was cranky. "Yes, we have a double room," she acidly replied, "But I can't tell you until you come here first!" I was dumbfounded. Either one was available or not.
Why should I go there if they weren't sure if a room is made available to me? It actually defeats the purpose of my calling! But at that point, I was desperate - so I took a bajaj for 300 rupees. Guess what?  I was there for their ocular inspection. "No one here. All the rooms are empty," remarked the old guy who let me inside the gate. Suggestions and notes from Lonely Planet play out rather influentially in the tourist lodging business. The owners seemed diffident, and that was one of the reasons why I resisted on calling them - until desperation set in!
I got the room. Huge one - all painted in white, with a sizable bathroom with a tub. Once they sense that you're a decent person - like me, perhaps (wink wink) - they'd warm up to you in no time. The atmosphere eventually turned friendly! That night, I slept like a child.
The morning after, I woke up with the rush of the waves breaking onto the shore. The sea was a mere 50 meters away. There was a rail track and trains zipped away every 30 minutes or so. I went to the seaside promenade. Several AK-47 toting military men - many not older than most high school kids - patrolling every block. They would flag down cars and buses; they would stop the locals, leaving obvious foreigners alone. In fact, I occasionally enjoyed walking past them quite often.
Galle Road was a hundred meters from Ottery Inn, and there were Buddhist Temples, and St. Anthony's Church nearby! All morning, I just checked out these places, bought myself some coconut drink, took an early meal (bread and stuff), then by 12 noon, I rushed back to Ottery for my check out! The lady owner furtively reminded me to "be careful with my bags". The terminal, like most, wasn't a safe place. I was palpably aware of that! I flashed a winsome smile and said my goodbye.
It was time for a bit of sand and sea in Negombo!
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Ganggarama Temple. This photo courtesy of riyaza.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Road to Peradeniya's Ancient Botanical Garden, Sri Lanka

SIX Kilometers from Kandy is a botanical garden that dates back from 1371. This was commissioned by King Wickramabahu III.

I couldn't leave Kandy without seeing this garden, so instead of hiring a tuktuk that would have cost me 700 rupees, I took the local bus (bus no. 654) from the Clock Tower Bus Terminal. Amidst a sea of friendly black faces, I stood in a very congested bus, paying only 15 rupees to get there. Everyone was taking care of me: the driver, the conductor and a passenger who would continually reassure me that this next stop so-and-so would be my stop. Such charming people.

The entrance is a bit too much - 600 rupees for foreigners and 30 rupees for locals. What stark difference! These people must think that money grows on trees in tourist la-la land!

My favorite places: the Cannonball Tree, with "fruits" hanging by its trunk, looking like, you guessed it - cannonballs! I also love the suspension bridge although it's a wonder why they wouldn't allow people walking on it, it's sealed off! The orchidarium is almost non-existent, and the fernery could be improved further. There were perky lovers all over the park, and elsewhere, you see locals bathing by Mahaweli River.

It took me close to 2 hours to roam the park, my skin was toast from the harsh sun. I waited just outside the entrance gate for my bus back to Kandy. It was even cheaper at 12 rupees.

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Stately Palm Avenue. Photos here and above only courtesy of wikipedia's Bernard Gagnon.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sigiriya - Severe Test of Endurance in Spectacular Sigiriya

Rock Temple's 2,400 steps to climb to the top. A nerve wracking experience for me. Reminds me of Myanmar's Mount Popa. This photo only courtesy of wikitravel's Bernard Gagnon.

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka - Sigiriya is a flat-topped rock outcrop rising over 200 meters over the dusty central plains. With a population of 1,000, the surrounding fields is remote and jungle lush!
I hired a van to take me there. Upon reaching the temple grounds, I suddenly realized that this was going to be arduous. Endurance I don't have a problem. It's the psychological test of getting through my fear of heights which until now has never been really much. Not only is there more than 2,400 steps to conquer, but these steps involve walking though steep, winding staircases with rails that seem to invite you to fly off the edge. I was practically dying every second I was braving my way up! There was this series of frescos - paintings on a wall located at some cave which is navigable by a spiraling stair, at the side of a perpendicular wall of rock. Several areas vary from each other, it must have been a virtual city during its time. You don't wander why UNESCO placed it at its Heritage list!
A portion of the walk is through shallow platforms, the rails are low and the drive to suddenly fall of hundreds of meters down below is all encompassing. Local visitors had 5 year old children walking unassisted! I was shocked! It is a bit irresponsible to take those young souls up there coz they could easily fit and fall off the open rails. The though just mortifies me!
On the whole, Sigiriya is on top of my list of experiences in Sri Lanka. It makes Myanmar's Mount Popa seem like a child's game.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Polonnaruwa - Cholan and Sinhalese Royal Kingdoms Highlighted in Polonnaruwa Ruins

Polonnaruwa - If you don't mind the sun, you would have a totally exhilirating visit to the ruins of a once mighty kingdom in Polonnarua. These temples are perfectly placed and tours could be reasonably planned. These days, it is one of the half a dozen sites with the UNESCO World Heritage seal in Sri Lanka! If you have been to the Angkor Temples of Cambodia or the Bagan temples of Myanmar, this visit in Polonnarua will give you a sense of dejavu. What I loved about it is its topography. The series of ruins can be found near a lovely lake where people are actually found bathing! There is a wild jungle trail where your vehicle drives through - and wild elephants are known to roam the area!
What I hated was taking the shoes off to navigate each temple. I have such sensitive feet that walking around barefoot was a very unpleasant experience. But hey, this doesn't happen everyday so I persevered! You have to take off your hat/cap/umbrella and you have to take off your shoes or you will be readily chastised. It takes some stamina to complete a visit as the relics are quite extensive - and I guess stamina grew out of my curiosity. I have to admit though that at times, I was starting to feel long winded, like I was gonna fall down from exhaustion. My legs were turning into jello!
But it's all been worth it!
Polonnarua is 140 kilometers from Kandy and 216 kilometers northeast from Colombo

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ancient City of Dambulla

Ancient City of Dambulla, North Sri Lanka - From Kandy, I hired Jagath to drive me to Dambula, one of the half-a-dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. From the start, I was always mesmerized with it. It is a rocky outcrop that was transformed into a series of cave temples. It also reminded me of Myanmar's Mount Popa!

A visit in Dambulla involves a good deal of hiking up marbly and granite stairs through bushy lanes filled with pesky monkeys. To add to the sacrifice, there is the harsh beating sun to fry not just your skin but your brains as well.

After paying a hefty 1,100 rupees, I leisurely trodded the challenging trail up the rocky hill. Once there, there were 5 caves all filled with buddhas, including a reclining buddha in each cave. There were paintings - frescoes, if you will, surrounding this buddhist sanctuary. And the view from the outside is nothing to scoff at too. From that hill, you see the breathtaking view of Dambulla below - bushes and trees, ponds, spires from remore stupas, lush vegetation! If only I had the luxury of time, I would have stayed to just enjoy the scenery.

But I had places to go!

Dambulla is 72 kilometers north of Kandy, 40 minutes from Sigiriya, and 3 - 4 hours from Colombo, but its beauty seems hundreds of miles away from the scorching capital. There's no wonder why it is a heritage site.

Dambulla's Cave Temple. This photo only courtesy of

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Meeting Religious Royalty in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Kandy, Sri Lanka - Kandy is Sri Lanka's most popular city, not Colombo. It is 116 kilometers northeast of Colombo, and 138 kilometers south of Anuradhapura. I knew I had to spend more time here.
The city is regarded by many as "the most beautiful", and though it sure is a charming city - with a historically intriguing lake as its centerpiece and dreamy hills rising like a fortress - I wouldn't call it "most beautiful".
I took an express bus (read: AC) that took 3 hours to reach Kandy's bus station. It was fairly cheap (265 rupees) and relatively comfortable. In fact, I slept during most of the trip's duration. Finding my intended hotel was a different story altogether. It is located on the Rajaphilia Mawatha road up the hill, overlooking the serene lake.
Later in the day, I met the head monk of the congregation that sees through the country's most popular temple - the Temple of the Tooth Relic. The monk is so old - 92 years - and could hardly see because of cataract, but he gave in to see me. Now how important is he? Sri Lanka's President visits him then proceeds to the Temple of the Tooth Relic to seek guidance and blessing. Parang novena sa Quiapo or Baclaran! The Head Monk is Sri Lanka's version of Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama. Our conversation was facilitated by an interpreter since he doesn't speak english. He gifted me with a white pool of string that I shall wear like a necklace to bless not just to myself and my travels, but my whole family as well! Now who wouldn't want that? As I was leaving, he took my palm and read me my future - which was kinda embarassing. I didn't know buddhist monks could do that? To cap the meeting, I took a photo of him - and I noticed a calendar on his wall that had his photo. Boy, this can't be fake, I thought!
By 7:15PM, I walked the grounds of the Temple of theTooth Relic. Knowing fully well how significant this place is to Sri Lankan buddhists (they have to be able to make a pilgrimage to the temple at least once in their lifetime), I paid my exorbitant entrance fee of 1,000 rupees, then witnessed as the chamber that contains Buddha's tooth relic is opened, albeit you don't really see the tooth! How was it? I'll tell you once I get to feature the place in pictures... soon!
This is the Eye in the Sky! Do you want Kandy?

Kandy Lake has an intriguing history.

Temple of the Tooth

Sunday, March 21, 2010

1,840 Steps and Testing Nerves in Sacred Mihintale, Sri Lanka

1,840 Steps to Nirvana in Mihintale,

Mihintale, Sri Lanka
- Okay, I had to conquer something here. After paying yet another 500 rupees - just to punish myself, I had to climb 1,840 steps to a rock outcrop stupa! You think I did it? That's so many steps more than Bagan's Mount Popa, and all those stamina-chasers combined! Yes, I actually got to the top. My problem was coming down! These rocky excrescences didn't have stair formations but slightly carved imaginings to help you reach the top. My nerves were crying out overtime. At some point, part of me was panicking but knew I had top make it down since no one else was there.

I went to Mihintale very early in the morning before the harsh heat of the sun took over, and before the wild throng of the faithful would be able to see me make a fool of myself!
This sacred city of Mihintale is the birth place of Buddhism! Despite my mortifying experience, I was too glad to get there!

On my way back to my three-wheeler, I chatted with a school teacher who took his students there. If I wasn't trying to catch my bus to Kandy, I'd have loved to chat up more. Most people get to Mihintale on a bike from Anuradhapura, I was told, but I had a baggage with me.

This is the
Eye in the Sky on the Sri Lankan roads to adventure!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Old Glories in an Ancient City - Anuradhapura Sri Lanka

Lankarama Dagoba, Sacred City of Kandy.

Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka - I travelled 210 kilometers north of Colombo to start my journey around what they call the Cultural Triangle, a trail of sacred cities and very old (3rd century, any one?) cities. It was 5 and 1/2 hours! First stop: Anuradhapura. Even as I write this, I still occasionally stammer! Such tongue twisters.

My bus left the fort Terminal at 6:10AM. I wasn't even sure if this was the right one. lonely Planet listed 2 different bus numbers, this one was bus number 15! I asked the conductor and baker but I couldn't understand them. Were they nodding? Waving their head? Saying no? It was unclear to,. I asked elsewhere, a young guy who was already seated in the bus.
By 11:30AM, i was already in hot, humid Anuradhapura where it hasn't seen rain in 3 weeks. before that, it was just a drizzle. After finding a place to sleep (this place has a LOT of dogs - and I hate them!), i hired a tuktuk (bajaj - named after their "manufacturer" much like Sarao) for 1,200 rupees.
The whole new adventure seemed like dejavu, and it reminded me of my impatient travels around Bagan's 2,000 plus temples; and Siem Reap's Angkor Wat temples.The same scurrying around, beating the heat and dehydration, snapping everywhere.
My favorite: the rock temple called Isurumuni Rajamaha Viharaya which dates as far back as 207BC. I also like the Twin Ponds, although it seems to be drying fast. Several others are being renovated - like the gigantic Abhayagiri Dagoba - the "Hill of Protection" - so they will be spectacular once done.
After the temple visits, I took a walk around the "city" - a term that I shall use for Anuradhapura with reservation. I love the people though. Such friendly locals. I do make an interesting sight around here. They keep taking 2nd looks, like I was Matt Damon. LOL. Then an innkeeper at the National Museum passed by me and said, "Japanese!" Not again! Hahaha! That was the 2nd time today. Earlier, I was supposed to be Thai!

It is 206 kilometers from Colombo to Anuradhapura!

This is the Eye in the Sky!