Sri Lanka day 2

When did “tips” stop meaning “to insure prompt service” and come to mean “if we so much as look at you, we will ask for a tip”?

I will reserve judgement until I’ve been here longer than a day but I quickly learned that Sri Lankans don’t do much out of the kindness of their heart. Want someone to take your photo? Pay up. Need to take your shoes off at a temple site? It will cost you. Someone hands you a flower to put on an alter? Or a candle to light? Yup, more money. Sure it’s only a little here and there but it adds up! Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by Taiwan and their excellent customer service and (mostly) no tipping policy.

Today started with a trip to the Pinnawalla Elephant Orphanage. At breakfast I could see elephants downriver and after paying 2000 rupees to get into Pinnawalla, I was surprised at how many elephant orphans they care for. I do rather have an issue with using animals as a means of income: their poo is turned into paper (ok, good recycling) but then I guess that’s the whole of any zoo. I didn’t like seeing any of the animals chained up but I did enjoy the 10am elephant parade down to the river.

The Pinnawalla orphans

The Pinnawalla orphans

Next was the poo paper tour. Some clever person found a way to make money off of elephant dung. Yup, you guessed it, they make paper from the fiber. Next up: a fortune teller who told me I am generous and will live to 96. I think he told me his minimum tip was 500 rupees…sigh. Are you getting the idea? (Some amazing photos to follow once I figure out how to access them from my iPad, which has been remarkably easy to carry.)

Pucker up, buttercup

Pucker up, buttercup

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…

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