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Friday, February 17, 2006

The 39 + 4961 Steps

A look to the left, a step to the right, hands on our holsters, fingers itching ... where was Vladimir? But with no shotgun wielding Turkish workers obviously skulking about we jumped into the landlord's taxi (a Hi-Ace van). The three amigos were heading for the railway station and after more or less haggling our way out of the Taxi fare we boarded the train for Adam's Peak.

A surprisingly long bus journey later and we were in the 'Tackiest Place in Sri Lanka' (TM)! All of your usual favourites were available from many of the leading local stockists; inflatable Buddhas, glow in-the-dark Shivas - you bring it, they bling it!

After a little bit of wandering we found 'The Green House', a nice little hostel complete with garden terraces for dining. For around 5 Euro each we managed to get afternoon tea, dinner, pre-climb snack, a mammoth post-climb breakfast and a bed!

Several munching sessions later and we were ready to leave the hostel for the journey to the top. In order to be there for sunrise it's recommended that you give yourself 3 or 4 hours to climb the 5000 steps to the summit. With this in mind we closed our door at 2:30 a.m. and stepped out into the cool night air.

But Satan and his Devilled Chicken had other ideas and things didn't remain cool in my tummy for very long. It seemed that although everything had worked out nicely for Mr. Seagal, for me, it was going to be a very different story ...

Forty five minutes and several vows of vegetarianism later and the time had come to reach for the Immodium Instants (thanks mum!). Two tablets, some water and my trusty tea-cosy hat in hand and I was finally running away from the loo and towards the mountain to catch up with Myra and Mattieu.

As it turned out, the recommended time was rather generous and we summitted at 5:00 a.m., a good hour and a half before sunrise. After an initial ramble around the temple at the top we bedded down to wait for dawn.

Surprisingly my trusty board shorts and silk weight t-shirt didn't prove to be as warm as I might have liked for the wait - Mr. Patagonia strikes back yet again!

As the hour passed the sky slowly changed from a deep blue-black to a gorgeous yellowly red colour and a strange ghostly pyramid began to form in the sky behind us. Within minutes the faint shape darkened to a very distinctive grey and remained suspended in the air for the next half an hour or there abouts.

But with our toes slowly turning black, due to the icy stone paving of the summit temple, we decided to head back down for some well deserved breakie. Five thousand knee jarring, ligament tearing steps later we collapsed into one of the garden terraces and munched our way through the fancy array of Sri Lankan dishes that had been laid out before us.


  • Hi Graham, Glad to see all is going well, and you've made Thailand. You'll be a total veggie by the time you get to NZ. Keep up the blogs.

    By Blogger fennellfamily, at 4:15 p.m.  

  • Fortunately we have vast quantities of meat here in NZ for you to get your teeth into - Glynn, who's been eating fish and venison all week in Stewart Island.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:20 p.m.  

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