The women in Sri Lanka were beautiful, strong and so elegant in their Saris. I believe however that there is a long way to go with womens rights, especially in the conflict affected north and east.
The train trips were a highlight especially through the highlands as you can watch life go by and get a much better sense of community life and interactions. The landscape is spectacular and diverse. Another of the many highlights was the architecture of the prolific and inventive Geoffrey Bawa. I dont quite have the words to describe his many buildings throughout Sri Lanka, charactertised by a sensitivity to site and context, he produced sustainable architecture. His designs broke down the barrier between inside and outside, between interior design and landscape architecture and they are utterly glorious to be in.
Dom wanted to check out the well-known surfing spot in Arugam. We stayed in cheap huts on the beach, where the fisherman, dogs and the surf break all coexist. One day when Dom paddled out I sat on the sand like a cliche. A large group of about 40 women arrived in full Burqa's. They seemed to be on a day trip and a after a couple of them started to splash around in the shallows they all joined in, playfully running around giggling and squealing loudly, making example of western assumptions.
In the cities the food was the most spectacular our highlights included Beetroot curry, Kottu, Brinjal Eggplant, Egg Hoppers, Pol Roti and Potato Curry, Paratha and Papaya Juice! In Kandy we stayed in a basic but beautiful hotel with a pink mozzie net. Our room overlooked the lake which was nice to walk around and also the best spot to pick up a local delicacy of raw mango with chilli. It is home of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth and the sounds and smells of spirituality are constantly wafting amongst and over you.