Sri Lanka: Breakfast, spice gardens, linen heaven, and cute (and not so cute) animals.

I have a few more quite random things to show you from our trip to Sri Lanka… First up: breakfast in Sri Lanka.

Naturally, they serve local tea, egg hoppers (made from a fermented batter of rice flour, coconut milk, and palm toddy and then cooked in a rounded pan–super yummy), rice cakes, and sambals–lots of pickled salads, including the Mr.’s favorite: coconut sambal, which is made of ground coconut mixed with chillies, dried Maldive fish and lime juice.

The egg hoppers were our favorite!! It’s always interesting what other cultures eat for breakfast… so often it’s so different than cocoa puffs and pancakes!

One of Sri Lanka’s main tourist traps / attractions are ‘spice gardens’ that you pass every so often on the road… we did stop at one and I thought it was actually pretty cool. We saw literally every spice I can think of growing in its natural form.

Here I am drinking a cacoa hot tea and touching a fresh peppercorn.
And here I am looking at Vanilla beans (which I then purchased for about 5 cents per bean–talk about a steal!)

There is a reason so many spices come from here; it appears that everything grows well here! Later in the trip we went to a cinnamon plantation and saw a worker carving the bark into the sticks we know and love, especially at this time of year! Those sticks are put together by hand from shavings and then dried.

The sticks we know are put together by hand from shavings and then dried.

He also showed us how they make thatched roofs from palm branches. And you can see the cinnamon drying above his head.

This cinnamon was SO cheap–I wanted to buy a ton of it, but then I realized we didn’t really have a way to get it all back because I had already over-filled our suit cases with linens from Barefoot–the equivalent of table cloth heaven!

Here I am picking out some nice Christmas gifts. I loved the colors and the thick, hand-woven quality of all their fabrics.

Another really pretty thing we saw a lot of : banana stands.

We tried red bananas, which I had never even heard of, and were quite delicious. It’s sad to think of all the varieties of produce that we never get to experience because of mass commercialization streamlining in the name of the ‘Chiquita banana’ or ‘red delicious apple’. The New Yorker recently did an interesting piece on ‘Building a Better Apple‘ that talks more about this…

And then there was the turtle ‘conservation’ farm — not so sure they were actually saving turtles as it appears they were just catching and profiting from then, but they were so cute, especially the babies!

Talk about adorable! Their fins are so disproportionate to the rest of their body.

And while we’re on the subject of adorable baby animals, here we are holding a monkey. Can you tell I’m a little afraid of getting some crazy disease?! The little guy literally took a nap on my lap!

And on the completely opposite side of cute animals were the water monitors, which were EVERYWHERE in Sri Lanka. We saw them crossing the road, squatting by the road, when we were boating through coastal islands… they would not leave us alone. And I found them to be the most vile creatures.

And in addition to having a very strong and dangerous tail, they also have poisonous venom–they’re a relative of the Cobra.

Isn’t it ugly? Even when it’s a baby it’s not at all cute.

When our boat let us off on a cinnamon plantation island we literally almost hit one of these guys–sitting in the front of the boat, let me tell you, I was NOT a happy camper. Of course, our guide and the Mr. thought that my display was so, very amusing. Check out this crazy video on Animal Planet of this lunatic capturing a monitor with his bare hands if you want to know more about these creatures. Sadly, I think you’re guaranteed to see at least one on any trip to Sri Lanka. On to happier subjects… One of my favorite things about visiting any country is the school children. No matter how poor the country, their uniforms always seem to be so clean and the kids are always so happy.

We did go into a few temples…

I was very impressed by how their sacred texts had been etched into reeds.

The writing is so miniature and has so many little flourishes!

We saw a nice monument given by the Japanese to the tsunami victims–10,000 people lost their lives near this spot. The Japanese are so good at generating good will by doing things like this… we probably have something to learn.

We did not sleep very soundly after seeing this monument and then staying right above crashing waves…

In closing, I will just show you one last interesting piece of Sri Lanka that you see all over the place:

A part of the British legacy: horse track betting. So funny that they call them accountants, don’t you think?


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10 responses to “Sri Lanka: Breakfast, spice gardens, linen heaven, and cute (and not so cute) animals.

  1. Natasha your trip looks like it was so much fun! I’d love to go to Sri Lanka one day. And you are so pretty 🙂

  2. All your posts about this trip have been fascinating. All the spices — the animals — the “accounting” — but the FABRIC!! oh my.

    And you do look very cute in your dresses! That white one is a.dor.able.

  3. The spices!!! Amazing!!!

  4. oooh, I’m jealous of the spices! How neat.
    And breakfast – I’m so fascinated by the daily, normal food that other people eat. I have a cookbook called the International Breakfast Book that satisfies some of my curiosity (the rest is that I want to GO there and taste it in situ).

  5. I am envious of the fabric store you were in. So many colors and patterns. Just perfect. Then getting to hold a monkey. Too too much. I love it!

  6. these pictures are wonderful!!!

  7. I LOVE that photo of Nick with the monkey!!

  8. Happy New Year Natasha! Did you Sri Lankan food? hoppers and appams? we make them regularly chez moi.. let me know if you crave some and I promise to invite you over!

  9. Sure thing Natasha will pm you after CNY.

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