Minneriya Wildlife Sanctuary

Colombo is awesome, but there is soooo much more to see in Sri Lanka. After a few days of visiting relatives, we hit the road. Our first destination: Minneriya National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.

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We arrived late in the afternoon. Apparently the best time to go is in the morning (and in August) - so the staff were a bit surprised by our arrival. We piled into a jeep anyway and prepared for a wild, dangerous adventure.

And apparently this is my safari face:

Minneriya - Safari face

We stood up in the jeep holding the cages and drove through the park for about two hours, ducking for branches along the way. Our guide said he wasn't sure we would see an elephant - but that we would give it "full try - full try."

Minneriya Peacock

Even though it wasn't the right time of day or the right season, there were still loads of beautiful birds in the park.

(Peacock ≠ elephant.)

Minneriya Birdy

And even though we didn't see very many animals in the park, the scenery itself was really lovely.

(bird ≠ elephant.)

Minneriya Birdy

Sri Lanka is home to some of the most beautiful birds in the world.

Minneriya Monkey

Monkey! A Grey Langur.

(monkey = awesome! But monkey ≠ elephant.)

Minneriya Deer

We saw a family of spotted deer frolicking in the woods.

(deer = cute... but deer ≠ elephant.)

Minneriya Deer

And then they saw us.

But they didn't dart - they kept eating. Apparently my safari face is not very intimidating.

After our two hour tour, we left the park. But our driver took us on a little side route before heading back to the hotel. You see - apparently the road cuts through part of the giant national park. At dusk, you've got just much chance of seeing elephants near the road. And as the sun began to set, to the right of the road, we saw three elephants walking along the edge of the woods!

Minneriya Elephant

Because it was dark, it was really hard to get a good shot... but I still managed to capture the moment. Elephant = elephant!

Minneriya - Elephant

eee! It was really amazing and a very different feeling to see an elephant in the wild. So majestic!

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The Colombo Swimming Club

We had one more day in Colombo before heading out further into the country. We spent it, as we should have, with family. My cousin's wife lives in Colombo and invited us to the Colombo Swimming Club for lunch. The club was established in 1936 during colonial-era Ceylon.

Uncle Robin - Colombo Swimming Club

My godfather. The sign behind him lists the names of all the members.

Colombo Swimming Club

The swimming club is right next to the beach, though a wall and train tracks separate the club from the ocean.

Colombo Swimming Club

While we were there they were taking down the big tent from the New Year's party. Look closely at the workers - they got up to the top of the framework with no shoes, no ladder - and were working with no net. Methinks regulations are a bit looser in Lanka than they are in the states.

Colombo Swimming Club

Me and my cousin's wife.

Colombo Swimming Club

Aw, family...

While we were taking this photo a train raced behind us - you can see that in the background instead of the water.

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