Sri Lanka

I'd always wanted to ride on an elephant, and even to see them up close and walking around in Sri Lanka was an exciting event for me. The man in the photo on the left is a taxi driver I met when I got off the train in Anaradhapura. He took me to the government guest house, picked me up the next day when I wanted to go to Polonnaruwa, convinced me I should climb to the top of Sigiriya, and eventually talked me into hiring him for the rest of my proposed sightseeing, which was going to take almost a week. I never regretted accepting his offer (which was very reasonable)! When I saw my first elephant in the streets of Kandi, and showed my excitement, he asked if I wanted to see them bathing. This place was near Kandi, and the elephants were working and bathing. (I did ride this guy. His handler is behind me.) Another day, on the south coast near Matara, the driver took me to meet friends of his who cooked a very special dinner for me - outdoors, in the pouring rain. He took me to friends who were weavers, and he searched out potters for me, and he found another friend who showed me how to climb a coconut tree, and he showed me the tight-wire walkers between the high coconut trees who collect the juice to make an alcholic drink, and - he was - by the time I left Sri Lanka, quite a friend. We corresponded for a while, and he wanted me to come and stay at his house so his wife could teach me to cook Sri Lankan food. I still wish I could have done that.