A travel moment in Sri Lanka

Years of internal civil conflict between the two main cultural groups (the Sinhalese and Tamil) in Sri Lanka has long kept this precious jewel of a country dormant for the world to explore freely. But eager for something new, I decide it is the perfect destination for my holiday. Leaving the busy city of Colombo behind, I venture towards the town of Kandy, a secluded part of hillside high country perched upon a mountain peak in the midst of Sri Lankan tea planting territory.

Due to its location among steep terrain, I am told that hotels are limited, and only the brave make it to the summit to discover the jewel, a resort called the Hunas Falls Hotel, named after its very own picturesque waterfall. Getting to the resort is no easy feat (unless you arrive by helicopter, for the hotel has its very own helipad), and involves a somewhat daunting car ride climbing up the narrow, spiralling dirt road that hugs the mountain edge for dear life.

My first day there is still etched in my mind to this day. Walking down from my hotel room, I discover a long, wooden bridge arched across the still waters of a wide pond. To my right is the resort, and thereís not a single soul in sight. To my left, I see a jungle, where exotic birds and curious monkeys peek out beyond shadows at me. It is not long before darkness sets in, but I am reluctant to shift myself from it. I can hear the sounds of Hunas famous waterfall in the distance Ė like something off a meditation CD. The gentle coolness descends down around my bare shoulders like an invisible shawl weaved of silky spiderís web, so delicate, Iíve almost forgotten about the stress of arriving here.

I peer up at the colours that paint the wide sky beyond me, and consider how reminiscent it is of an artist attempting a masterpiece. From her watercolours, the artist uses shades of white to capture the mist draping around hilltops. She uses swift strokes of green to encapsulate the lush foliage that surrounds this place in brilliant shades of green during the brightness of the day. And when dusk descends over this oasis, the artist undergoes an adrenaline rush, and the colours upon her canvas become intense and mystifying. Her blues darken, her oranges brighten. To this, she adds a confusion of reds and purples, blurring the lines between realism and fantasy.

As I gaze out in contemplation at the result of the reflected residue of her work of art in the still waters of a sleeping lake, my thoughts are punctuated by curious fish darting beneath its surface. I am silently confident that the traces of her art will remain eternally etched in my memory long after this day has ended.

V Pathman

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