Most people don’t know much about Sri Lanka. I know I didn’t. I came because it sounded exotic, and because I hadn’t been before. Yala Park made me glad that I had journeyed so far. The variety of animals is astounding. I am convinced that this is where Noah must have parked his ark. I saw elephants, leopards, monkeys, water buffalo, crocodiles, monitor lizards, beautiful birds, a mongoose, wild boar, deer, and so much more. I highly recommend going to Yala Park. That is, if you get there alive.
My driver drove like many of the people in Asia, at breakneck speeds, plowing down anything that should get in the way, only to arrive at the park office and wait for thirty minutes because the office wasn’t open yet. The problem was at 4:30 in the morning it is still dark, and apparently the cows like to congregate in streets at this time. Why, I have no idea. Well, actually, I do. My theory goes like this. I think the cows are suicidal. And I have two reasons why this could be. First of all, there is no grass for the cows. I am not sure what they eat here, but looking at how you can see the outline of their ribs, I am guessing it’s not much. (You see they don’t actually believe in eating the cows here, so I guess, they don’t care about them having a healthy body weight. Actually, they don’t believe in eating much of anything here unless it’s a starch or onions or hot peppers. Last night, I was excited as I ordered something called deviled pork. It’s not like a deviled egg. It means spicy pork. I asked them to include any vegetables they had. My plate arrived laden with food, but the food was about 40 inedible hot peppers, and fat, all fat, no meat, just pork fat. And, oh yeah, the vegetables? Onions and leeks. So for dinner I had onions and leeks.) But, back to the cows.
I’m just trying to let you know these aren’t happy California cows. And I know how I get when I can’t find a decent meal to eat. I can put up with a lot of things. The weather can be hot and sticky, I can handle a crowded train with stinky people spitting on the floors, I can handle a place that won’t put ice in your drinks because it melts the second they put it in there (I can barely handle this, though), I can handle thin sheets, and cold water, but leave me without a decent meal to eat, and for me, life is about as dismal as it gets. If I’m in a bad mood, comfort me with apples, ply me with mangoes, drip Borneo honey from my lips drizzled on top of Greek yogurt, let me sink my teeth into garlic lamb chops, cucumbers and feta cheese, give me good food, and the world is my oyster. So, my theory is these cows know by now that these jeeps don’t stop for anyone, and they are just trying to off themselves because they are HUNGRY!
Actually, we did stop for them, full on slam on the brakes, the smell of burned rubber, kind of stops, all morning long. Each time, I thought this just might be the moment where I DIE! Anyway, I can’t really say that I blame the cows under this situation for wanting to off themselves. Now, understanding cow psychology like I do, I think the second reason they are running all hanshee banshee into the road is because of jealousy. Yes, jealousy. How would you like it if thousands of people passed by you each year without even taking a picture because they were on their way to see other more interesting animals. I mean, no one stops and says, “Oh look, honey, there’s a cow.” Well, I got all excited once about some cows on a family road trip when I was ten because I thought they were lions. I was shouting out to everyone in the car, “Look, lions.” Everyone stared at me in silence and then followed that by laughter. It was shortly afterwards that my parents took away my sticker book as they were convinced that the stickers I had licked were laced with LSD. But back to the cows. They figure if they stand in the road at least you have to stop and notice them. Cows are a lot like two-year olds in this way. Actually, they are a lot like twenty-year olds, too.
Anyway, no cows were harmed, so I guess it’s onions and leeks again for supper. I spent the rest of the day in the jeep being tossed around from side to side. I made sure to be on my best behavior as I didn’t want to get thrown out of the jeep. It was difficult enough figuring out how to go to the bathroom without getting eaten by a crocodile! I only had a driver. Most jeeps had guides and drivers. My driver spent most of the day on his cell phone, which was fine by me, as I couldn’t understand a word he said anyway. He was apparently speaking English, but when we finally saw a leopard, he kept saying “Lowpat, Lowpat, Lowpat”, and I had no clue what I was supposed to be looking for. So, once again, I was on my own. And without further ado, here are some of the marvelous creatures that I got to see in Yala Park!
Tusked Elephant-Hey, I Get The Same Look On My Face When I’m Eating Good Food!
Beautiful and Dangerous!
Where Did You Say The Party Was?
Never Let Me Go
Leave your car alone for two seconds and the monkey will have sold the thing for scrap metal before you can say, “Banana”
I was amazed and awed to see these animals in the wild in Yala Park. At the end of the day, I thanked my driver and told him, “You showed me everything except a unicorn.” He laughed, and said, “That’s not possible.” I said, “I have a pet one at home.” “What?!”, he exclaimed. I replied, “They have everything in America.” We laughed together and I decided against telling him that I’m really a mermaid. And this has NOTHING to do with those stickers. Nothing at all.