As soon as you leave Colombo on the EO1, you’ll see massive yellow road signs (they are at least 12 feet by 6 feet) that warn you that peacocks may be crossing the road ahead. And it’s true. Peacocks along this stretch are a guaranteed sighting.
Crowding plots of land in rows, this spice was ancient Sri Lanka’s most coveted gem—an aroma that lured foreign nations from across oceans to these shores. Cinnamon plants are short and easily mistaken for young rubber plantations; however, the colour of the trunk is a helpful hint, I was tipped off by our driver. Rubber, coconut, cinnamon, paddy, cashew, tea, puwak (areca palm), and even the homely banana shrub—the Southern Expressway is like a cook’s culinary drive through ‘source’.
Along our quest to spot Sri Lanka’s various food gems, we were caught by surprise by a red hue that glowed through the green. It was the dwarf cashew tree showing off its fl at leaves shaded in red. On the home stretch to Matara, the island’s famous symbol stole our attention. Tea bushes concealed low-lying hills and surrounded pint-sized houses. Here, tea does not take over the slopes to create a carpet of green.