Starting on the day we got here, we’ve been getting oriented to the University of Peradeniya. I fell asleep for a couple hours on Monday afternoon and woke up, still tired, when it was time to go on our afternoon walk. We saw a Hindu temple, a mosque, and a Buddhist temple, all of which are used by people at the university. It was very cool to see these three extremely different sites so close to each other.
The Hindu Temple
Outside the Mosque
The Buddhist temple surrounded by plants
We got an official tour of the university yesterday. We saw the library, swimming pool, and gym, which we’re allowed to use whenever they’re open. We also have been getting an unofficial tour from David of the plants in this area. Wherever we go, he finds all sorts of plants and tells us many unusual facts about them. We’ve seen fig trees that start growing only after they kill another fig tree, leaves that curl up when you touch them, huge bamboo plants, bright orange African tulips, plants that bleed poisonous latexes when you break off a leaf, and plenty of others.
David showing us an African tulip tree
We started our Sinhala classes yesterday morning, and had tea with some university students in the afternoon so we could practice what he had learned and start making Sri Lankan friends. So far, we’ve only learned a few basic greetings and how to introduce ourselves, and the university students only speak a little bit of English, so conversation was challenging and hard to understand. The whole experience was a little bit overwhelming. A few of the girls asked us for our email addresses, so hopefully we can see them again once we know more Sinhala.
All of us in front of the welcome sign the university students made for us. The Sinhala script says "Ayoobowan," a formal greeting literally translated as "May you live long."
Fire dancer who performed for us before we had tea with the university students.
We’ve been eating all of our meals at the hotel so far. Today, for our first traditional Sri Lankan breakfast, we had string hoppers, which are basically rice noodles formed into a pancake and served with curry. For lunch and dinner, it’s always been rice and curry, except one night when it was noodles and curry. I’ve been trying to learn how to eat with my fingers, which is pretty challenging and usually ends with me making a mess. We have tea every morning and every afternoon, always prepared with milk and sugar. This afternoon, we’re having tea with our host families before we move in with them tonight.
Monkeys on the side of the road.