The Royal Botanical Gardens

Kandy, Sri Lanka


My favorite thing in Kandy is the Royal Botanical Gardens.  Most tourists miss this because it's outside the city, and you have to negotiate hardcore for a good rickshaw.  My rickshaw driver was SO OBNOXIOUS.

If you've never been to Asia, you might not know that rickshaw prices are always negotiable.  I usually ask my hotel how much it should cost, then go out and try to find someone willing to drive me for that price.  I had to go to four different drivers before I found one who would agree to take me for 250 rupees, which is about two dollars.  

We agreed on the price, but as soon as I got in his cab, he started laughing and saying "Five hundred!  Five hundred!"  

"No, two-fifty."

"Okay.  Five hundred."

"No, two-fifty."

He kept driving and laughing, then turning back and whispering numbers under his breath.  You have to be careful with this, because even though they pretend that they're joking, sometimes they'll demand that amount once you get out.  

Sure enough, by the time we arrived at the Gardens, he acted shocked.  "But madam, we agreed on three-fifty!"

I was very firm with him, insisting that he give me change.  His tactic changed, and he pulled a long face.  "Pleeeeeaaaase, madam.  Pleeeeeeaaase."  

There is nothing more obnoxious than seeing a grown man (jokingly?) whine.  Ugh.

Anyway, back to the gardens!  They're really quite old - about seven hundred years - and they have a lot of history.  The monkeys love to wait until you're about to take a picture of them before they start copulating.  It's really quite fun to watch tourists squirm in discomfort as they realize what's happened to their lovely reel of holiday snaps.  I think I enjoy it just as much as the monkeys do.

Look below and see how enormous the giant horde of cacti look next to the little German tourist.