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The Vegetarians of Sri Lanka

semi-overcast 24 °C

Although the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka are best known for its tea plantations, the relatively cool climate, coupled with frequent rains, provides perfect growing conditions for almost all of the fruits and vegetables that are common in Europe and North America. Subsistence farmers have cultivated every inch of land between the tea plantations and, while the women pick the tea, the men grow all manner of vegetables on steeply cut terraces around their meagre homes...
Most of the vegetables are sold on makeshift stalls scattered along the roadsides...
The stalls offer as great a variety of fresh vegetables as we might expect in even our largest supermarkets and the quality appears superb. Leeks are a big favourite...
Owing to its proximity to the equator the temperature remains fairly constant throughout the year, with just an occasional light frost at altitude, so crops can be grown continuously. Just take a look at what was on offer in the market at Nuwara Elyia - Sri Lanka's highest city...
Almost everything on sale here is familiar... except the incredibly low prices.
This is the main wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Dambulla where much of the produce is destined for the capital, Colombo, and for export...
Meat is relatively expensive so for both financial and cultural reasons most Sri Lankans are largely vegetarian. We, however, have been enjoying very high quality meals with lots of chicken and fish throughout this trip and have paid roughly eleven Canadian dollars for a full dinner, and about a dollar for a vegetarian snack lunch on the road. However, whenever we have stopped to eat we have been immediately surrounded by little people looking for a handout for the baby...
And this enormous wild male elephant has learned to get meals by politely begging from passing vehicles while blocking the road....
We were next in line and stopped. The gentle giant quickly lumbered up to us and carefully took bananas from our hands with his trunk. It was a magical moment.
After a few days cooling off in the hills we are heading south; back into the tropical lowlands; back to the jungle.

Posted by Hawkson 17:36 Archived in Sri Lanka

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The foodies following your blog should be happy. I love how smart animals can be. The elephant in particular. Smart fellow. I wonder what happens if you do not comply. Always interesting.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Wow this is quite magical.

by Janet

Oh we are so enjoying following your Sri Lanka travels. You have us rethinking our next winter's destination.

by Ginny Miller

What wonderful looking fruit and veg!
This is a very clever elephant. What an absolute privilege to be up close to this beautiful creature!

by Pippa

Enjoying your travels. Love the elephants, they are truly magnificent animals.

by Samchow58

Seeing the elephants on their own is so cool. Have you seen many dogs sleeping in the middle of the roads? And have you tried a dish of fried bannana flower? It often was served with the dahl and curry dishes! It is such an amazing country, food, diverse landscape and the beautiful smiling people!

by MAxine Stewart

Wonderful, especially feeding bananas to the elephant. Do they use chemical pesticides? What do they use for fertilizer?

by Bob

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