Kumily, India

Wild Elephants and Spiced Chocolate in Kumily, India

The guide motioned for us to stay where we were and be quiet. He scrabbled up the hill to take a look. “Elephants,” he whispered when he returned and pointed up into the trees. At first I could only see motion in the leaves, but eventually I spotted a trunk and an ear. One by one five elephants including one baby passed through the trees into view.

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The Time I Became Famous for Taking a Picture of a Public Toilet

Walking with the flow of the crowd surrounding the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, India, I turned the corner and saw a large billboard labeling the public toilet. My first thought was, “I didn’t think India had public toilets.” And my second thought was, “Hey, that’s Ron Swanson!”

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Madurai, India

Finding our Travel Smiles in Madurai, India

Women in colorful saris filled the street. The men wore cloth wrapped around their midsections and nothing else. Horizontal stripes of paint in red and white, representing the god Shiva, lined their foreheads. Above me towered the medieval Hindu temple that had attracted the crowd. As my family weaved in and out of the throngs of devoted Hindus, I realized that we all had huge smiles on our faces. Our travel smiles were back!

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Colombo, Sri Lanka

Last Stop in Sri Lanka: The Capital City, Colombo

We finished our tour of Sri Lanka in Colombo. Many people who have visited Sri Lanka report hating the city, but I had a feeling we might like it. And I was right.

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Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Beach Time in Mirissa, Sri Lanka

After dealing with the transportation hassles of crowded trains and buses and finding mostly overpriced guest rooms in Sri Lanka, we decided to hunker down on the beach in Mirissa (where we found a reasonably priced room with pretty good wifi) for the rest of our time on the island until we needed to return to Colombo.

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Yala and Bundala National Parks in Sri Lanka

We left Ella and made our way by bus to Tissamaharama, often called just Tissa, the gateway town to Yala and Bundalla National Parks.

Unlike most towns just outside national parks Tissa is not much of a tourist trap. Continue reading

Ella, Sri Lanka

Doing Nothing in Ella, Sri Lanka

We didn’t really do anything in Ella, yet it was one of our favorite places in Sri Lanka.

In fact, there is not that much to do in this little mountain town, and maybe, that is its appeal. We thought about doing some hiking in the nearby hills, but it rained everyday we were in Ella. Continue reading