Further into the highlands ...

21 February, 2010

After visiting the aquarium plant production farms our compass pointed to the east, to the Horton Plains in the highlands of Sri Lanka.

The highlands are significantly cooler than the warm coastal region and lie between 1800 and 2300 metres above sea level. The 160 km journey takes around 5-6 hours, as the traffic is "lethal" and the roads are full of potholes. Right of way goes to whoever has the bigger car.
We have to explain to our driver, a Sinhalese man who wants to overtake even on tight bends, without being able to see, that we would like to arrive in the highlands alive.

Halfway we stop at a stream to take a closer look at the habitat. This little tropical mountain stream is home to a few barbels, as well as interesting aquarium plants such as Utricularia gramminifolia and the new rare moss, Hyophyla involuta, also known as star moss. Stefan is of course very excited to rediscover these plants in their natural habitat. We also found some other beautiful species of moss in the splash zone and on the bank.

While Chris was photographing a frog he was attacked by some wasps and suffered some painful stings. Next we headed for Horton Plains, past some huge tea plantations. The workers tell us that they get around 50 euro per month for this hard work.

When we arrive in Nuwaraelia it is already dark and pretty cold. The hotel this evening is an old English colonial house with huge beds and Indian cuisine.

Good night

Stefan & Chris

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