After our three months trip of a lifetime in Australia and New Zealand, to mark the boundary between our old life in the UK and the new one in Sri Lanka, we’re now back at Jungle Tide. And yes, the holiday lived up to all we’d expected and more, but we were also glad to be back.
New Year in the north
No sooner had we returned to JT than we were off again, on a short trip with our friends Mick and Marion to Mihintale, Anaradhapura, Wilpattu and Kalpitiya. This coincided with the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in the middle of April and we were honoured to be invited to participate in the lighting of new year candles and partaking of traditional food such as kiribath at the hotel where we were staying, near Wilpattu. As in other new years, the TV was on with a countdown to the auspicious time (7.48pm, they do things precisely) but then followed further countdowns related to the preparation and serving of the kiribath.
We hadn’t been to Anaradhapura and Mihintale for fifteen years and it was lovely to see these ancient and highly impressive places again. Wilpattu national park we’d never visited – well, Sally had as a girl, but until fairly recently it was Tamil Tiger territory and then dangerous due to uncleared land mines, but it is now perfectly safe. We did an early morning and a late afternoon safari, didn’t see any leopard (though we saw recent tracks) or bear (we just missed one) but the sheer beauty of the place is breathtaking.
Especially in the early morning mist. And the birds, deer and other wildlife were there in abundance.
Kalpitiya was very hot – indeed the whole island was and is in the grip
of a tremendous heatwave. Even at sundown we could only watch in
admiration at those still able to raise the energy for a game of beach volleyball!
If you’ve been to JT you’ll know all about the steadily fragmenting road from Kandy. The first 8km are fine but the last 3km are really rough, though most cars can still make it with care (vans and 4WDs no problem). Repairs have been promised since 2004 when we bought the land, but progress stopped in 2006. Now a new contract has been issued and – wonder of wonders – work has started. We have been in touch with the contractors who say the stretch up to Uduwela where our private road turns off should be completed by August. Maybe optimistic, but now there are people actually working we can hope. We’ll keep you posted.
Walks from Jungle Tide
We are in great walking country, with walks to suit all abilities. But although many guests have enjoyed finding their way around – and often getting lost and being “rescued” by friendly locals – there are no maps to guide you. Until now. Thanks to our recent guests John and Lyn Harrison who have produced a lovely booklet illustrating and mapping six walks from JT, most of them circular. John and Lyn – thank you so much! Hopefully we and other guests will be able to build on what you’ve started.
Oodewella Tea Factory
We are fortunate to be located fairly close to the excellent Ceylon Tea Museum (on the road up to JT from Kandy) but we had always planned to talk to the manager of the tea estate to see if we could arrange visits to the working tea factory, which is even closer to Jungle Tide, for our guests. But they’ve beaten us to it! While we were away a sign went up offering tours of the factory and two of our guests tried it out last week, and were very impressed and delighted at being shown the process of making tea for a very small admission charge.
Zoe and Bou…
… are our newly acquired puppies, which had been abandoned on the roadside nearby and were rescued by Sally and some of our guests. They’ve had a difficult start to life and still face some challenges but we think they’ll pull through. The vet told us they were both males so we named them Bonzo and Bilbo. Turns out they’re both bitches, hence the quick name change (Bou is short for Boudicca, by the way).
We chose a version of a flame tree (flamboyant tree in Sri Lanka) for our logo on the understanding that our project manager had planted a few in our garden back in 2005, but we had begun to wonder whether indeed he had. Now at least one is in bloom so the logo has come to life!
With best wishes
Sally and Jerry
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