We were sad to leave Kandy. Sad because the time was ticking and the adventures beyond the fast moving city streets were awaiting us in new places.
It was a two and a half hour tuk-tuk ride that took us to the town of Nuwara Eliya. It's a trip through the most magnificent scenery of tea plantations on steep hills, punctuated with beautiful forests and waterfalls. We welcomed the fresh clean air and the cool wind in our hair.
We knew very little of the town we are heading for, all we knew was that we wanted to play golf and we wanted to sip a cool G&T on the lawns of the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club.
Our research on the course revealed that it was founded in 1889, and is one of the oldest golf clubs in Asia and probably the world. It is an institution, rich in tradition and embedded in history. The men's change rooms and clubhouse seemed alive with the passage of time. Almost unchanged for nearly 130 years, the clubhouse carries an ambiance unparalleled in this country. It oozed colonial charm and old-world character, preserved over the years. It had been built by the English tea barons so that they could while away an afternoon or two.
It was the first place we headed to and there we met with Rohan Perera, the secretary of the club, a stately gentleman in his early sixties who still plays off a single handicap.
Golf at this club is taken very seriously and we like it like that. Our caddies Siva and Kumar were the nicest caddies we have ever had. Not rushing the game, saying very little and finding our ball without a single complaint.
As we tee d of on the fourth hole one of the caddies direct us to a scary looking group of people walking towards us; Siva pointed and said; "We have a visitor." Pointing towards the group. "You are very lucky, our prime minister is approaching."
A big smile appeared on our faces as we both reached out for our phone cameras to which Siva suggests that it will not be possible to photograph the Prime Minister, "What " Tomas and I looked at each other and continue walking towards the grey haired elderly gentleman dressed in his tracksuit.
Respectfully, Kasia walked up to the group, greeted them and told the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka how much we love his country and its people. He was very pleased with that statement, and directed one of his machine gun armed security entourage to take the photo. And that was that. We shook hands and smiled at the camera.
We were dismissed as a group of elderly women approached him, they were carrying big sacks of freshly cut grass on their heads and they put the sacks aside as they went down on their knees and bowed down to the ground with their heads touching the floor and their hands touching his feet. Such respect and devotion is unheard of to us and yet it so clearly represents the people of Sri Lanka.
Our game was a total successwe played mediocre golf, but that was not what the experience was about. We got chatting with our caddy, talking about their lives and just relating to them through a game and a long walk on one of the most pristine golf courses that we have ever played on.
As we walked through the avenue of ancient towering eucalyptus trees and elegant cypresses, almost invisible ladies were sweeping the fallen leaves from the pristine fairways with huge palm fronds. It was like a story form a picture book.
Oh the romance of that day will remain with us forever. The people of Nuwara Eliya, the beauty of its lush vegetation and the magnificent time we spent chasing a small white ball over a manicured green lawn.
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