22 April 2008

Journal 16

Set off North. Udugama the day's goal. Alms fairly decent: rice cakes, stringhoppers (a kind of fried patty of rice spaghetti; tastey), bananas, a few curries, some bread, all topped off, at the very end, by a great gob each of honey and coconut oil poured liberally everywhere. Ate in comfort. The route was mostly uphill, past many rubber-tree estates, fewer tea-estates. Slight drizzle. Fifteen miles to Udugama village. The height of the hills was most unprepossessing and unimpressive until I'd climbed half a dozen of them, by which time they looked awe - inspiring indeed. It began raining at 11:00 in earnest, and I took shelter a number of times for the next few hours beneath friendly roofs, where I was stoked with endless cups of tea. Finally only a mile and a half to go, I tried to make it, got absolutely soaked, and arrived at Udugama with a trail of dye dripping behind me. Hard day; great strain, tension; am staying the night in a small temple where one of the two resident monks is absent, none speak English, everyone is very friendly, and I am exhausted, sore, etc. Very nice building, but I don't feel up to going into details now. Mosquitos a nuisance.

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