Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
Publication: Lancashire Evening Post
Date Published: 8/1/2010
Set atop a balding 300m rock amongst vast, endless thick jungle, a glorious view was promised. We continued climbing a combination of rather precarious slippery steps cut into the rock and wobbly cast iron spiral staircases, supplied in the early half the last century by London Underground. The view from the top was nowhere to be seen. Still my guide for the day remained enthusiastic, relating facts, figures and insights into the archaeological remains, together with tales of his family. With the return journey down and exit within sight, events in his family seemed suddenly to take drastic and dramatic turn for the worse. By the bottom it became apparent that payment for the morning was not only going to have to support him but his extended relations too. Given that it was he who had adopted me before the ascent, surely I was the one in a position of negotiating strength. It took less than 15 seconds for my guide to be walking merrily away with more than double the going guide rate.