Kandy: Whoa, I Think I May Have Entered a Parallel Universe By Mistake

I was going to title this post Kandy Says, but I doubt anyone would get (or favourably appreciate) the Velvet Underground reference.  But you know what? I have no clue what Kandy is saying. Seriously. This town is a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a really awesome fresh chapati.

It’s not just the head wobble. I’m fine with the head wobble.  I semi-deciphered that in India five years ago.  I’m fine with the fact that a lot of conversations seem to emerge, as noted just above, in circular riddles where I’m left wondering what my question even was.  No, these are okay. I’m pretty comfortable with uncertainty and I actually make a good living from others’  relative lack of clarity.


Sri Lanka - 028 - Kandy Buddha statue

Photo borrowed from mckaysavage off Flickr until I upload mine

But Kandy? Kandy is special. We can’t seem to find anything here. Seriously. I’m sure this is a post I’ll look back on in a few weeks with a shudder and sense of self loathing for my ignorance. I have about 2 years’ worth of emails home from Turkey that I now can’t bear to look at because I got everything so startlingly wrong.

Here, I’m not baffled so much by language or culture but by geography. By maps. By locations.  Or rather, by the lack of locations where we had thought they would be.  I’m starting to think that we’re in an episode of Fringe and that all of our maps, all of our information is for the other universe. You know, the one we could access if only we had that molecule-upsetting gizmo.

For example, yesterday we trekked over to the Udawattakelle wildlife sanctuary (aka a big old forest full of monkeys and trees and whatnot). On the big sign at the entrance, it noted two caves, a cemetery and a lookout point within. Just follow the gravel path or any of the sign posted trails. Which we did. We followed the first cave trail to a fork and took first the low road (to an overgrown dead end) then took the high road (again, to no avail) then emerged back on the gravel road hoping to find the second cave.

There was a sign! A sign that point to the cave. It said so in Sinhalese, English and Tamil. Or at least in English. Maybe the other two read “Please don’t tell the tourists that this trail goes nowhere! And kindly do not giggle when they return muddy and defeated!”. The trail for the second cave (and by extension, the lookout point) ended in an enormous fallen tree and mud-slid hill that we had to clamber over t refind the trail.

I should mention here that it was at this point, partly up a mud slick hill, clambering over a big dead fallen tree, that my face decided to bleed. Yes, a spontaneous but continuous flow of blood decided to trickle down my cheek, possibly from an accidentally scratched bug bite scab, and I could see it blorp up just at the bottom of my line of vision as I slid up the hillside.  After all that, the trail ended suddenly in two sets of coiled razor wire and a bunch of sand bags. I might also add that at some point around that time, I also scraped my ankle on a root that I tripped on and didn’t notice it until I got back to the hotel and noticed that my sock, my pants cuff and my shoes were stained with a disturbing amount of my blood.

But no monkeys bit me! No rabies shots for this trip!


Sri Lanka - 040 - Tuk tuk ready for the rain

Also by mckaysavage (thank you): 3 wheeler in the rain

Anyway, we went off in search of some other things that were on the map and they all dead ended: some ended in a sudden residential bungalow, some in a large stand of trees. Nothing on the maps actually seemed to exist, at least not in our version of the universe.

And today– today we went out to do the temple circle, a collection of three Buddhist/Hindu temples about an hour by bajaj along mostly destroyed potholes (with just a hint of road for good measure. We had a map, we knew where to go. It was quite lovely- rice paddies, quiet, a pleasing monsoon rain. The bajaj dropped us off at the first temple and we walked the three or so kilometers to the second (a pleasant walk, also0 and then the three or so kilometers to the third. Or so we thought.  Although we were following one road with no notable turnoffs, when we reached a small town after what we guessed was about 3 or 4km, we asked where we might find our third temple.  Well, they said, pointing back the way we had come, it’s about 4km thattaway.  Um, yeah.

And these were just the big disappearances of place.


Sri Lanka - 029 - Kandy Temple of the Tooth

Kandy! By Mckaysavage

I’m sure I’ll look back on this post in three weeks’ time and delete it, horrified by my naivete.

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About MaryAnne

I live in Hanoi. I used to live in Shanghai (hence this blog's title) but I left in 2013. I tend to travel. I cook stuff. I read a lot. I try to scare myself silly with regularity. I write about it all. A lot.