Media Production Executive Nick - the man in charge of creating our videos recently embarked on his first group trip, travelling on our Buddha's Island trip to Sri Lanka. Maybe we shouldn't send him on another trip as it sounds like he might not come back next time!
"Picture the scene if you will, I am asking a chap with a radiant smile dressed in the orange finery of a monk’s garb if he will pose for a photograph in front of a stunning 12 metre high, 5th century standing Buddha at Aukana. Not only is he happy to pose for photos and engage in conversation with our group, he politely asks about me and where I see my life going in the next 5 years. Now, I know I have been told that I have friendly face, but even so, I was slightly taken aback by his next offer: Would I like to teach English in a school that is being built in grounds near to the statue? It was seriously meant, and in return, I was extremely flattered to have been considered for such a role.
This is typical of a nation who welcomes both visitors and their compatriots with a sense of joy and elation, whether at the cricket ground in Galle or by passing food to you on your journey up Adam’s Peak. I was offered food on more than one occasion on that journey.
Add into the mix a fabulously diverse ecology and wildlife, 7 UNESCO designated World heritage sites, stunning weather, a splash of colonial chic, a country looking forward to a bright future and there is a lot to take in.
I got asked upon my return to the office, ’did you see a leopard?’, ‘did you climb Adam’s Peak?’, ‘did you see a blue whale?’ And the answer to all three was yes, but Adam’s Peak was not for the faint hearted and not to be rushed.
For me my highlights were watching elephants facing off over territory as little as 30 feet away, ascending a rocky outcrop called Missaka, famed for being the ‘cradle of Buddhism’ and complete with fabulous views.
The balcony at the Giritale Hotel, overlooking a huge jungle with an equally huge lake in the background. When the sun went down, the jungle came alive - audibly so. I was so struck by the sounds, I made audio recordings and sent them to friends via Facebook, with the pre-amble, ‘just listen to this!’
And finally, after many sights and experiences, I simply enjoyed the café atmosphere of Unawatuna, its relaxed beach front and its proximity to beautiful Galle".