I got up much later than the time I had fixed for myself. So I decided to skip the morning walk and have a long shower instead that I had been waiting for. After taking my ‘long’ shower I came for breakfast which was really yum. The local cuisine with fresh fruits and tea brought a smile to my face instantly esp. because I’m a breakfast person. I enjoyed my breakfast while chatting up with the owner. She’s a really sweet and hospitable lady who makes you feel at home and I wasn’t surprised to see all the pictures and letters she received from guests once they had gone back to their countries. Someone had shared the picture of their new born with her, while some had shared wedding pictures. There were many hand written letters and Christmas gifts that she received from her guests. The place is rightly named ‘Mama’s cottage’ coz she cares for her guests like a mother. She’s by far the most hospitable lady I met during my entire trip.
The Czech couple was not ready by 9 so I had my breakfast and went for a short walk where they soon joined me. We walked around a little and upon speaking to a local person decided to go for Ella rock climb and I decided to head for Yala national park post climb after he told me it’s closer from Ella and from there Kandy is also close (Now this was some wrong information and I was too stupid not to confirm it with anyone else but as they say ‘whatever happens, happens for the best’).
We came back to our guest house changed into trekking shoes and I packed my stuff so I could leave immediately after returning.
We had expected it to be short walk or something as the previous evening someone had told us that Ella Rock is around 3 km from our place. What he probably missed saying was ‘the BASE of Ella Rock is 3 km from here’. We walked up and down the hill. Did a little hike and reached the Cave temple there. It was serene. I spent some time sitting there would have liked to sit longer had the next place not been on our list.
We then headed for Ella Rock. The trek kept getting difficult and when we reached a point where we had to follow a water stream coming off the Ravana falls and not follow a beaten path, I knew we were lost.
But we kept going I guess because all of us expected to reach somewhere. We reached a point with tiny waterfall and from there we couldn’t head forward. We had to start our descend which we did.
Soon after that I heard screams from the female and then the guy, I realized they were attacked by leeches. Because I was experienced from the one leech attack last evening. I kept calm but soon all three of us were screaming when I noticed there were too many this time and they were piercing though our shoes, jeans, socks, . We pulled out as many as we could and stopped at a place where we three could stand together. We then cleared ourselves of all the leeches. There were just too many. I was too freaked out when I realized the itching behind my knee cap was also caused by a leech. I folded up my jeans and took the leech off. We constantly kept stamping our feet so they couldn’t climb back. Once we were clear we ran to a dry place and then kept checking ourselves. We were too horrified to follow the right path to Ella rock so we took a one good look at it from distance and bid goodbye to the Rock.
We took lunch at Chill café again and then headed for our guest house.
The idea of staying back with them did crop in my head as it would have made things easier for me. But I decided to move on and bid them goodbye.
I bid goodbye to the ‘Mama’s cottage’ and Ella then took a bus to Welliyama.
At Welliyama I met someone at the bus stop who organizes safaris and he also told me he had a guest house so I decided to check it out. I also met an English couple here so we three took a tuk tuk to Tissa. I got down at the guest house and they went to their hotel in the same tuk tuk. I wondered throughout my journey if I would be traveling with my partner (or even solo) at that age. They seemed in their early sixties.
I saw his guest house, asked for the safari quote and told him I’m going to look for other options. He immediately reduced the price from 1500 LKR to 1000 LKR. I told him I’m still going to look for options. He then showed me another room which was 700 LKR. It wasn’t great but I had to hardly spend 7 hours there so I took it.
There was a couple here sitting in the lobby who had just come back from full day safari. They were checking out pictures and showed us the pictures of black bear and leopard that they got to see. I was not really hoping so see a leopard as I had read the probability was too less and I was opting for a half day safari anyway.
I went on to see option for Safari as I felt his price was too high. I got similar quotes from others and it was creepy the way he kept popping up every time I would check price with someone. It was getting dark and like most of the places in Sri Lanka there were no street lights here too. So, the next time he popped up I bargained with him quite a lot and finalized 5000 LKR for room plus safari.
(I later got to know you can get a much better price at Tissa, I was staying a little further away from Tissa at Debarawewa).
I went to a few places with the intention of shopping but I did not like anything so went back to my room. It seemed really sad esp. coz the previous guest house I stayed in was really nice. There were mosquitoes and the bedsheet didn’t seem fresh. Thankfully I was carrying a bedsheet of my own.
It was Diwali this day so I called home. Spoke to mom dad and was mentally prepared to get thrashed by them but the sweethearts that they are, they just asked me to visit them soon. Which I anyway have planned during Christmas.
I couldn’t figure out a way to comfortably sleep inside this mosquito net. I tried falling asleep but it was difficult with mosquitos buzzing in my ear and fan crying at every turn. I kept shifting sides and I guess I was too conscious of falling asleep in the room without bolts. I had to lock it from inside. I could hear loud music but it still seemed so peaceful.