We went to church. The girls made me come with them to Primary (they sometimes hate it when mom and dad throw them into weird social situations in foreign countries) but I was happy to be there. I just sat in the back and smiled. There was one other American girl there - can you believe it? Also, can you believe that she lives directly across the street - not 25 meters - away from the hotel we were staying in? We went to her house for Easter dinner that night. The missionaries were there, too. It has been a long time since I've seen missionaries and it was fun to share a meal with them. They're Sri Lankan. They ate with their hands. But they spoke perfect young-American-man English thanks to the American companions they had in the Philippines.
We played at the beach and drew quite the crowd. These people just stood there and watched our kids play. Sterling had his own audience a little ways away.
We visited the Isurumuniya rock temple, with its accompanying stupa. You can't wear your shoes in these holy places and aye caramba, was the ground hot! I'm so glad I happened to read in passing the advice to bring socks with you to the sites. That saved us blisters on the bottom of our feet.
I keep looking at this picture and thinking it must be fake, but it isn't. I was there. I walked a mile in stocking feet to see it. It's Ruwanwelisseya Dagoba.
I wasn't brave enough to take an obvious photo, though I don't think they would have minded - these pilgrims (?) were all dressed up and carrying a new sash to the stupa to wrap around it. I really wish I understood these things (this religion - Buddhism) more.
We admired another stupa (Jethawanarayama) from afar, since the admission ticket was steep and we wanted to get to Mihintale
We rode an elephant. The kids were sometimes terrified, sometimes thrilled. Sterling and Jeremy got off after about 15 minutes because baby was just too nervous. Magdalena fed the elephant some bananas. It was fun, but not as amazing as I thought it would be.
I took this picture of Sterling outside our elephant hotel and it is one of my favorites.
We rode a tuk-tuk to our driver's house (like, our driver was home with the van, but he knew our kids wanted to ride a tuk-tuk, so he sent his friend to pick us up in one. Awesome). Magdalena got in that thing like it was what she's been waiting for her whole life.
We hung out at our driver's house for a while and ate some food. The girls got to see how Sri Lankan kids live.
Somebody (or two) could not get enough of the elephants. It was pretty special.
We went to the beach again. I think these were Sterling's happiest moments. Finally not confined in a van or being kept from jumping off ledges into elephant-infested waters.
Two notes, without pictures:
On the airplane on the way home, a monk (in one of those gorgeous saffron-orange robes) sat down in the seat in front of me. He turned around and greeted Sterling with a handshake. Probably the coolest thing to happen to Sterling in his lifetime.
Also on the airplane, as people were boarding, a little girl walked by our row and saw Miriam and Magdalena dressed in matching outfits (I do this for convenience when traveling so they're easier to keep track of). She got the most delighted look on her face and exclaimed, "What?!?!?! TWINS!!!!!" We've been quoting her all week. And no, I didn't have the heart to correct her (she'd moved on down the aisle anyway).