Our Christmas Trip (part five)

Well, it happened again. I waited too long to write about day five of our Christmas trip. So the only memory I really have of the day is what I remember from looking at the pictures. I sure hope that I never get accused of murder. I can see myself on the stand being grilled by the prosecuting attorney: “Do you have an alibi for the afternoon of December 26th, 2008, Mr. Sullivan?” “Ehhh…maybe. I’m not sure. Can I ask my wife?”

The photos tell the tale that we first went out on an early morning bird walk around the hotel grounds.

Indian grey hornbill

Indian grey hornbill

This walk kicked off at 7AM (yes, Mom, AM, really). We were looking for birds, but ran into a) an elephant (who turned out to be our afternoon ride, see below) and b) a land monitor that seemed to be so reluctant to leave his sunny spot on an exposed rock that he let me take some closeup pictures. Or maybe he was hoping that I got a little closer so he could show me how those mean looking front claws worked. Or maybe it was a she. Who can tell? Who wants to get close enough to tell?

The birds we saw on the walk were:

Rose-ringed parakeet

Indian grey hornbill

Asian paradise flycatcher

Sri Lanka junglefowl

I have posted photos of all of these birds on my Picasa website, except for the junglefowl. That little guy was quick on his feet, so all I got was blur.

Logic would have it that we then went back to the hotel and had breakfast, but the breakfasts are all starting to run together in my mind. We must have occupied our time somehow until 11AM when we walked on down to the water for our elephant ride.

I know. It is corny. Go to Sri Lanka, ride an elephant. As touristy as it gets.

Tim and Kris ride an elephant

Tim and Kris ride an elephant

This elephant is so “un-wild” that it poses for the camera, as you can see.

But you know, I can not remember the last time I rode an elephant. (This, of course, is not saying much for someone who cannot remember what he was doing on the afternoon of December 26th, 2008 if his life depended on it.) So, just once, I was going to ride an elephant in Sri Lanka. And Kris allowed as how it had been before she left Thailand since she last rode an elephant (more years ago than is polite to blog about) and so she joined me.

I had a bit of an accident climbing into the howdah. I was not sure whether I was supposed to step on the elephant’s spine or avoid it. My foot went down half on and half off the rather prominent spine. I stumbled and caught myself on the back rail of the howdah and sprained my right middle finger badly enough that it is still stiff and sore. (Good thing I am not trying to drive in Sri Lanka as I really would need to use that finger.) For a brief time, I thought that maybe I had broken the finger and I imagined how I would have explained it to my family doctor, Doctor Carroll, back home. Me: “I think I may have broken my finger.” Dr. C: “Oh? How did that happen?” Me: “I stumbled getting into a howdah.” Dr. C: “What’s a howdah?” Me: “It is a kind of saddle for an elephant.” Dr. C: “Riiight. I think you may have bumped your head as well. Let’s take a look, shall we?”

I do not remember lunch, but logic suggests it must have occurred. (“Mr. prosecutor. Logic says that I must have had lunch that day. Does that help?”) The entire afternoon is a black abyss in my memory. But I do remember the dinner. Not what I ate exactly, or even approximately, but the fact that we were seated outside on a grassy terrace, a welcome, goose-bumpy, cool breeze blowing from over Kandalama Rock, Polynesian-like torches the only light to eat by. A gazillion stars, so bright that you could not see the constellations for all the many other bright stars in the sky. Kris’ eyes so bright as well, her face warm with torch light, our conversation intimate and easy. It was the most romantic meal that I can ever remember.

Of course, that is not saying much for someone who cannot remember what he was doing on the afternoon of December 26, 2008 if his life depended on it.


Pictures of our walk and our ride are posted on my Picasa website.


1 Comment

  1. Kara said,

    February 1, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Awwwwww…. you two are so cute.

    So how do you like riding an elephant? I rather liked it (lo these many many years ago) — found the motion very soothing, but definitely prefer the side saddle howdah to the straddle legged version. Oy.

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