Going floral like a kid in a Kandy shop

The crush at the Temple of the Relic of the Tooth, Kandy
I read a
travel decorating piece a few years ago that gave tips on how to make your
arduous journey more comfortable. One suggestion for the deco-minded was to buy
oneself flowers for the hotel room – just like home.
Our guesthouse tonight is far less salubrious than the one the magazine had in mind, but we’ve
done the same trick.
It’s easy
when the hotel faces the flower stands that make the beautiful floral tributes
offered to Buddha in the nearby revered Temple of the Relic of the Tooth, which
houses on of Buddha’s teeth – though you’ll never see it. It’s housed in a
golden casket, and like Ho Chi Minh’s corpse, you’re ushered past at a
seemingly irreverent pace – we glimpsed the casket for all of a second, after a
good half hour’s solid pushing and nudging.  
Cardboard
trays of jasmine flowers and Sri Lanka’s beautiful national flower, a blue
water lily, are constantly sprinkled with water to preserve their beauty for
hard-shopping pilgrims – 100 rupees, about 70c, will get you a huge handful of
the most exquisitely fragrant jasmine flowers. 

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad.

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