Disney on Ice

I recently had the pleasure of going to Disney on Ice with my daughter and it was fabulous!

The last time I saw the show I went with my grandmother when was 5. Mickey Mouse was the main attraction then, along with Snow White.

Disney on Ice has changed since my day. There is still Mickey Mouse of course, but the main drawcard are the new princesses- Rapunzel and Frozen. But they still had Belle and my favourite- The Little Mermaid- perhaps a clever marketing move to hook the parents in too?

And so, I got to relive being five, 30 odd years later. A time when life was simpler, happiness was easy and stresses were few.

Clever Disney, transporting us all back to fun times with some entertainment, light and music. Even some of the adults were dressed up as Elsa. And why not take a break from the everyday job that you are going to be at for the next 30 years and let the fantasy take over instead?

I mean, in what reality are horses on ice skates, flashes of light come out of the hands of princesses and it snows inside?

And of course, everyone knows all the songs from having watched the movies a millions times at home- so why not sing along?

Sure, you could be cynical and say Disney is a moneymaking organisation that wants go charge you $35 for a plastic cup when you leave, but perhaps that’s ok with all the joy they have brought into the world for our little ones?

My daughter loved it too of course. Having 4 stories in one kept her interested, she enjoyed an Olaf ice cream and all she wanted to know was when is Elsa and Anna were coming on.

The one thing that did get me thinking though, was the fact that princesses have to change for perfect prince, like Ariel having to change for her prince. But on the flipside, the prince has to change for his perfect princess, like Flynn having to change for Rapunzel.

Personally, I don’t think anyone should ever have to change for anyone, but perhaps it’s more a message about the right person bringing out the best in us all. I like to think so anyway.

Related posts: All things Disney, Kid at Heart, Disneyland, 2007

Kandy, 2015

Next stop in our road trip around Sri Lanka was Kandy. My parents, husband, daughter and I started with the main attraction first- the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic- said to house the tooth of Buddha.

The temple complex was large, vast and white washed. Part of the grounds weren’t even open to the public. We had to wear sarongs to enter where brightly coloured lotus flower offerings were for sale. There were lots of school children visiting in groups and many stupas.

Intricately carved stone made up the floor of the entry which was next to elephants on the walls and the temple itself was surrounded by a moat. The tunnelled ceilings were painted beautifully. The main area in the middle of the temple that held the tooth was carved in wood with elephant tusks at the closed door.

Upstairs was a room full of more permanent offerings, like gold leaved trees. The Audience Hall next door was an impressive structure with many pillars with designs carved into them.

The temple was located next to the lake- a beautiful blue green oasis in the middle of the busy city. We had lunch at the newly renovated Olde Empire Hotel and met a lovely couple from Singapore. We went shopping and found retro buses renovated and painted artfully.

We stayed up the hill at the Serene Grand Hotel with signs all over the balcony doors to keep them locked due to monkey activity. And they were not joking. We watched a few of the cheekier ones ransack a room in the neighbouring hotel after moving a chair on the balcony and opening the door to get in. The views of Kandy and the lake from up here were beautiful.

My daughter’s favourite thing about Kandy was the cultural show. With fast moves and many different costume changes for each region in Sri Lanka, it kept her entertained from start to finish. There was the peacock dance, the many different types of drummers, the fire dance, the witch and the masked man. The show ended with fire walking.

Related posts: Upcountry, 2015Ebony Springs, 2015Ella, 2015Mirissa, 2016Galle, 2015Cooler Colombo, 2015Old Colombo, 2015It’s a Sri Lankan Thing

Upcountry, 2015

While staying with my aunt Pauline and uncle Bernard at Ebony Springs, we explored the surrounding areas upcountry. One day, my parents, husband, daughter and I were taken to Mas Villa overlooking Kotamale Dam.

The old colonial dwelling once housed the prime minister and was now a luxury hotel. We went for lunch on the verandah, to nose around the indoor courtyard with koi filled fish ponds and for a swim in the pool. The house was almost as beautiful as the view from the garden and the signature desert.

On another day, we drove past tea pluckers to visit the factory at Norwood tea estate. My uncle Bernard had been managing this particular tea estate last time I had stayed in Sri Lanka.

The factory was obviously much bigger than Ebony Springs and it had many rooms of large machinery with no smoking and no betel chewing allowed. There were rollers, mixers, fermenting beds, drying areas, grading and packing rooms. Followed by a professional tea tasting of the finished product with aprons and spitting.

On the way back from the factory we saw Adam’s Peak, the Virgin Hills which was the site of a well-known plane crash and a colourful festival at a Hindu temple.

The next day, we decided to go into the closest town- Nawalapitiya- for some shopping. My daughter was delighted that we were taking a tuk tuk on this journey and one that she could pose in, being away from the busy city.

Nawalapitiya is a functional hill town for the locals. Most tourists would not stop here, except to catch a bus or a train to somewhere else. And I guess that’s what I liked about it- a little bit off the beaten path, and authentic.

Most shops held clothing or bags of produce- coconuts, betel leaves, chillies and rice. We stopped at a bakery for some dine in short eats that were very tasty.

And so ended our retreat at Ebony Springs. Good food, beautiful scenery, top notch tea and great company, as always.

Related posts: Ebony Springs, 2015Ella, 2015Mirissa, 2016Galle, 2015Cooler Colombo, 2015Old Colombo, 2015It’s a Sri Lankan Thing

Ebony Springs, 2015

As we continued our journey into the hills, my parents, husband, daughter and I stopped at Nuwra Eliya to visit the manicured Victoria Park, including trees shaped like pineapples and flowerbeds with signs telling us to ‘Behave Decently’.

The kid’s playground was the old style colourful metal play equipment that would not pass safety laws in Australia, but all the kids seemed to enjoy it and nobody got hurt. Our daughter’s favourite was the ride on the miniature train.

We went to my favourite shoe shop in town, Bata, which had the cheapest kids shoes ever. There were many grand buildings in Nuwra Eliya- the bank, the post office and the Grand Hotel. We stopped at the famous Hill Club, but didn’t venture inside as we were not properly attired and were tired from all our playing in the park.

The next part of our drive wound through Mackwoods Tea Estate, past Ramada Falls to a lookout point over Kotamale Lake. We were getting higher and also prettier. Another drive past Kotamale Dam and we reached our destination- my  aunt and and uncle’s boutique tea estate and homestay- Ebony Springs.

My uncle Bernard had worked for many years at several of the large tea estates Upcountry and had recently decided to branch out on his own with speciality white teas. The statue of Letchmi the tea plucker had been rescued from a previous place of employment and now stood at the front gates as the icon of estate.

We spent a little time out eating the lovely food that my aunt Pauline and her helpers prepared- fresh sambal, curry crab and hoppers. We played karum, read and played with the dogs.

I went inside my uncle Bernard’s small factory where his three workers cut and hand rolled tealeaves into various shapes and sizes. Equipment, now out-dated in the bigger more automated factories, found its home here for drying and sorting the tea.

My uncle Bernard’s favourite invention was the tea urchins that opened up like a lotus flower when hot water was poured on them. Ahh bliss!

Related posts: Ella, 2015Mirissa, 2016Galle, 2015Cooler Colombo, 2015Old Colombo, 2015It’s a Sri Lankan Thing