Wherever you live, chances are that you probably deal with traffic congestion on a weekly basis. I HATE traffic jams! For me, I’m not sure if there are many other things in life that are much worse. I’ve been driving for 15 years, and still have to practice my yoga breathing and play relaxation music while sitting in a jam, to prevent my blood pressure from exploding!
When we were in Sri Lanka a couple of months ago, they definitely had their share traffic jams. Although it was a different kind of congestion, one that I haven’t really experienced before. . . . . . . . ANIMALS on the road! I was able to snap a few pics of what I call, “The Sri Lankan Traffic Jam!” I would say about 80% of the vehicles in Sri Lanka are Tuk-Tuks. A majority of the roads around villages are just dirt roads, however they are starting to get some freeways around the country. A lot of the traffic jams were caused by little fellas like this guy, a random cow just walking down the highway all by himself. At least this guy was smart enough to stay on the shoulder! Here is another guy just strolling around by himself causing some traffic issues. He was super horny! Sometimes there was just one cow in the road . . . . . but sometimes there would be a ton of them! You could honk and honk, but they weren’t going to move! They got to determine what the speed limit was. The cows also enjoyed walking along the country’s new freeway system! It wasn’t just cows that would create traffic jams in Sri Lanka. Sometimes it was these big ass lizards!!! Including the tail, this one was like 4-5 feet long. We also ran into some wild boars! These guys were lucky enough to find some garbage on the side of the road for lunch. Have I mentioned the MONKEYS yet?!? This big guy ran across the road right in front of us. We also ran into a lot of flooded roads, and mud pits! This guy tried going around a huge mud pit, but didn’t fair to well trying to cut through the grass. Of course the biggest cause of a Sri Lankan Traffic Jam is when a huge elephant is walking down the middle of the road towards you!!!!!!!!!!!!
We had given up hope. As we rode in our open aired jeep out of the national park we were already discussing how we could try and go to a different national park the next day. We were leaving Yala National Park, the area in Sri Lanka with the most wild elephants without seeing a single elephant. I was disappointed. It had been raining for days, the park was flooded and it was just impossible to get further into the park, to find where the giant creatures were roaming. The sun was setting and as we rounded the last corner to head out of the park gates an elephant was heading straight for us.
He was huge.
He walked straight at us, throwing his trunk around and grabbing a trunkful of whatever was in his path.
I did what anyone with a camera in their hands who was looking at an elephant would do. . . . I started wildly snapping pictures, barely taking the time to focus any of my shots.
I was so excited, I was silent giggling, worried that if I made a noise he would dart off into the jungle. The only sounds I dared to emit were the clicks of my camera.
As I continued to snap away Mitch quietly whispered in my ear, “Don’t forget to just look with your eyes.”
He was right, some moments are just better to be lived rather than captured. So I put down my camera, reached over and grabbed my husband’s hand and looked with my eyes.
While we were in Sri Lanka I had a major mission, I wanted to see elephants! After the guilty conscious I experienced with the camel riding in Dubai, I had made a pledge that I was going to be a more responsible traveler and do my homework in advance. After reading much about the treatment of elephants around the world, I knew I didn’t not want to visit any animals that were in captivity. Even if the facilities were claiming to be an elephant hospital or orphanage, I just didn’t want to take the chance on it being a cover up for a circus type situation. I realized I needed to see elephants in the wild. I wanted to go to a national park, and had my eyes set on Yala National Park.
When Mitch and I are in the planning stages of a trip, I am almost always the one coming up with ideas and things I want to do. Mitch is the “logistics guy” and enjoys figuring out the transportation, where we will stay, and other types of details. This trip was no different. I decided I wanted to see elephants at Yala National Park, and Mitch made it happen!
At first Mitch had his eyes set on “glamping” in the national park in semi-permanent tent structures. However, the $900 per night price tag was enough to point us in another direction. The end result: Beddegama Eco Park! Mitch found this awesome little gem about 10 minutes outside the park for about $90 per night, where we slept in………a tree house! It was so awesome we decided to make a video tour of it.
Our stay in the tree house was awesome. The location was the perfect jumping off point for our safari in Yala National Park. We left with many memories that we will be taking with us like: listening to the peacocks scream at us while they sat in the near-by trees, surviving the thunderstorm that shook our entire bungalow the first night, taking an ice cold shower that came out of the side of a tree, and plenty of other little gems that are tucked away for us to take with us.
Moral of the story: let your husband plan all trip accommodations, because it will be awesome!