Thursday, September 8, 2011

Where is your secret place?

We made two significant stops at Sigiriya on the way back to Negombo from Anuradhapura to end the first weekend in Sri Lanka.

First we toured a spice garden, which provided one of the biggest genuine laughs of the trip. Our guide was an older, small, sweet man who gave (at times too long) descriptions of the various spices grown there and its applications. This one was good for headaches, this one gives you more energy, and so on. At the end of the tour (which lasted a little under an hour) the guide was explaining the particular product that was used for hair loss. He mentioned that women use it for their legs and...

And then there was a pause... a long pause.
As someone more immature than most, I knew what he was hinting at. For the goal of reducing any awkwardness, I hoped he'd just move on to the next spice. But the long pause continued - until he decided to break it with: "your secret place." Then all bets were off - I lost it and the fellow teammates and I continued to make "secret place" jokes that would make your ordinary junior high boy proud.

Still laughing from that, we visited the nearby Rock Fortress - the greatest sight of the trip. Built in an amazingly short time (7 years) about 2,000 years ago (give or take a century) it used to house the King of Sri Lanka. To summarize the story read aloud from one of the guide books on the trip: If you build a Rock Fortress, you best stay in it.  As legend has it, the King fell off his horse - leading his horse to instinctively retreat. All of the King's soldiers interpreted the fleeing horse as a signal to retreat - and thus the Fortress was lost.

I, on the other hand, felt like a bona fide conqueror after climbing its 1,200 steps to the top. The feat's reward were the best views of the trip. Next time I do something like this, I'll find a place to change into shorts (the jeans were the only long pants I had on the trip, worn out of respect to the Temples visited prior to the Rock Fortress).

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