February 14th ~ Back at our mountain cabin
I’m almost done unpacking and suitcases have been put back into the cupboards until our next journey. After resting a couple of days, we are caught up on sleep and feel like our bodies are back on California time.
A huge pile of laundry awaits.
After downsizing a few years ago, selling our home to travel the world, and moving to our small mountain cabin, our wants and needs are minimal. On recent trips, buying souvenirs has been mostly limited to a scarf or small piece of jewelry, both of which pack easily and are used.
But this time I did break the rules and picked up a few tidbits that I thought would be fun to share with you.
We visited a tea factory outlet in Colombo on our Tuk Tuk excursion. We got to sample several kinds of tea. I am becoming quite fond of putting milk in my tea in the morning. I asked for a recommendation of one I could use with milk and would be low in caffeine. This is what they recommended.
Fresh Whole Turmeric
I also bought the turmeric at the tea shop. I have used whole nutmeg for years that I can grate myself and thought this would be a nice addition to my kitchen.
The only hat I brought with me on this trip was a baseball cap, and I forgot it one morning. After looking at beautiful but too expensive blue sapphires and silk items at the shop next door, I instead purchased this folding hat for roughly $1.50. It came in handy.
Ceylon Tea and Ylang Hand and Body Lotion
I found this at the tea factory stop on our tour. Since I had already purchased some tea earlier, I decided to give this a try. I found the fragrance very mild and it left my hands feeling soft and smooth. Karen thought it felt sticky to her, but I really liked it.
Another spur of the moment purchase. There are venders all over the place. I think I got this one for only a couple of dollars after making the 1233 step climb and surviving.
They use every bit of the coconut trees. Coconut spoons are made from the coconut shell. I needed more cooking spoons. Decided on a set of three that had a nicer handle than most. I paid 800 rupees (just over $4) for the set and he threw in an extra small size in a cheaper version.
String Hopper Makers
At our home hosted dinner we were shown how to make string hoppers. Our hostess made a thin batter and several of us tried our hand at squeezing the dough through a metal sieve onto a round woven base. If done right, they should look rather like a birds nest. The strings are then rested a short time before being steamed.
Karen and I both thought that this would be fun to try at home and perhaps make some very fine angel hair style pasta.
I found the first version, which was rather cheaply made (pot metal?). This was the traditional Sri Lankan style, but it only came with one very small disk.
I was afraid that would be too tiny to make noodles in, so shopped further and found a brass version from India that had an entire set of different sized discs. I think this was the most expensive item I purchased on the entire trip. It was roughly $17.
Elephant Dung Bookmark
Yes, you read that right. One of our tour members told me they had found some notebooks as well as the bookmarks made from elephant dung in one of our hotel gift shops. Unfortunately I only had about five minutes to quickly take a look before it was time to get on our tour bus.
If I had more time, I probably would have purchased one of the diary notebooks as well.
All together my purchases came to well under $100 USD.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am thankful that in a small way we were able to help the economy of Sri Lanka and we came away with some memorable, fun, unique and mostly useable items. I know that each time I enjoy that cup of tea, rub the lotion on my hands, wear the necklace, grind the turmeric, cook or serve with my coconut spoons, attempt to make some noodles, or open a book with the page held by my elephant poop marker, I will think of our time in Sri Lanka and smile…