On our way to Adam's Peak
Saturday 8 Jan 11 - Saturday 8 Jan 11 18 °C
Not a particularly exciting day today, a heap of travelling that has ended in Maskeliya, a village at the foot of Adam’s Peak in the hill country. Quite a disappointing day, all things considered, partly hurt by the poor Sri Lankan roads and partly by poor weather, but we’re here now, ready to climb the imposing peak tomorrow morning before sunrise.
We set off from Habarana early, with the intention of an easy drive to Pinnewala, the site of a very nice elephant orphanage, mostly for the entertainment of the kids and new visitors who hadn’t yet had a chance to get up close to the huge creatures.
Our cunning plan was disrupted though, as the predicted two-hour drive became a five-hour drive due to the unexpectedly poor conditions. So we split up: most of the group continued on to Pinnewala while Mum, Dad, Raja, Mala and I went in Hirosh’s van to a human orphanage in Hatton to run a small clinic. That was another four hours, not helped by some difficulties finding the place, meaning we had been on the road for nearly eight hours in total when we reached our first destination.
The wide smiles of the girls at St. Gabriel's Orphanage in Hatton nearly made it worth the incredibly long trip, though; they were very keen, as are most Sri Lankans, to help wherever they could, shake your hand and speak to you in English. The clinic was with another two Sri Lankan-background Melburnians, who had been going for a couple of hours before we arrived.
Like yesterday, the pharmacy proceeded at a very leisurely pace, giving us plenty of chances to speak with the girls. They found it very funny that although I was only seventeen, and a few of them were eighteen, I was perhaps a foot taller than all of them.
A few hours later, after handing out exercise books, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and various medications, we left to nearly twenty smiling, waving faces saying goodbye.
We had to get moving though, as it was to take us nearly two more hours to get to Maskeliya, we hadn’t had dinner, and we have to get up before two tomorrow morning. Pulling up just outside Punsisi Rest House just as the others arrived from Pinnewala, we greeted them, packed our bags with warm clothes for tomorrow’s climb and had some dinner before bed.
Slightly worrying is the heavy, persistent rain that has fallen since three this afternoon, but I’m hoping that’ll clear by the morning.