An Ode to Sri Lanka…

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A teardrop island at the foot of India, bathed on all sides by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, therein is a land of stark beauty and wonder the like of which can not be found anywhere else on Earth.

For no other land has sand this soft, water this inviting, mountains this mystical, jungles so dense nor wildlife so majestic… From the steamy jungles and endless beaches of the south, to the wild an unexplored east… cultured, historic centre and colourful north, Sri Lanka is a land like no other.

The sun starts to gently rise far out to the east, emerging from the sea and bringing new life to the day… The swell is rolling along the coast in emerald corduroy lines as the waves lap tenderly at the white sand… A soft wind ripples the palms as the dawn chorus from parrots, parakeets and birds of paradise begins to stir from the dense jungle beyond… A lone beach comber treads gently across the sands as the waves wash endlessly crash against the rocky reef… They stop and watch as the sun climbs the sky… Another day in paradise.

Further inland the steam is rising from the palms and hardwoods that cling to the foothills of the giant mountains in the centre of the island. Mist and the sound of cascading water crashing onto rock fills the air from the waterfalls beyond while tuk tuks course along the narrow roads… High above, cloud clings to the mountain peaks and swirls around the summits…

On the plains below, the silence is broken as a Sri Lankan Elephant, as beautiful as anything else on Earth, crashes through the thorn forest towards the watering hole… It is joined by a solitary leopard, cautiously gliding through the vegetation like a phantom… Crocodiles bask in the sun on the mud flats, while kingfishers, hornbills and parrots paint the sky with their colourful plumage… As the mighty elephant enjoys the water, a family of monkeys watch from the branches of a Margosa tree…

To the north colourful sari’s form a whirlwind of colour as they intermingle with the buzz of tuk tuks, market carts and playful macaques… The air is thick with the scents of cinnamon and cardamon… ginger and turmeric with coriander and chili as rice and curry is served across the island… Casting shadows in the falling sun, statues of the Buddha soar above the jungle canopy, a monument to the faith of the island and to the master rock engraving skills of the islanders ancestors… Vines creep across the base of the ancient rock city of Sigiriya… A testament to the glory of the island and a reminder of the ancient peoples who built these structures.

Rains fall heavy across the Sinharaja rainforest, filling the air with the scent of freshness that only comes in an environment like this… The land of the lion king and last refuge of the Sinhalese Lion, the trees grow straight and tall… as high as the eye can see, tangled with vines and covered in moss… As the sun grows lower in the sky, shards of light pierce diagonally through the undergrowth as a rainbow forms beneath the canopy, its pot of gold surely the land itself…

Huge blue whales thunder through the waters as turtles fight their against the surf and clamber up the beach to lay their eggs… At Galle, the lighthouse illuminates the rocky reefs hugging the coastline, glowing rose gold in the setting sun… Families gather out on the green, while games of cricket are everywhere to be seen… The shadows cast across the cricket stadium by Galle Fort are growing ever longer as the tropical sky explodes in a crescendo of golden yellows and oranges amongst an inky purple pink….

With one last display of colour, the sun sinks away deep to the west of the island and another day ends on the teardrop island… Sri Lanka… Is there anywhere that can compare?

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