Beautiful Eye

Based on a True Story

Mahaweli and USAID Compete at the Sri Lanka America Society Sports Day 1988 or 1989

Mahaweli and USAID hosted the culture exchange sports day which was held every year so that USAID and Mahaweli could have a cultural exchange between American and Sri Lankan families. It was called the Sri Lanka America Society. At the time, Sri Lanka had 5 five star hotels to try to keep tourism going in the midst of war. Tourism is one of the main moneymakers for Sri Lanka. The InterContinental (now the Kingsbury) and the Colombo Hilton were two of them.

At the Start of the Run

At the Start of the Run

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My High School in Sri Lanka: Then and Now

Dulip and his Band Somewhere between 1988 and 1993

 

Since so many of my high school friends have gone back to Sri Lanka for a visit this year, I decided to post some then and now photos of our school. I graduated from the Overseas School Colombo in 1993. Here are some of the photos I took back then and on my most recent trip in November 2013 almost 20 years later.

My High School in Nov 2013

My High School in Nov 2013

Diantha and Robyn in the Cafeteria Somewhere Between 1988 and 1993

Diantha and Robyn in the Cafeteria Somewhere between 1988 and 1993

The Cafeteria in Nov 2013

The Cafeteria in Nov 2013

Myself Receiving 1st Place for Javelin Somewhere Between 1988 and 1993 on the Field

Me Receiving 1st Place for Javelin Somewhere between 1988 and 1993 on the Field

The Same Field in Nov 2013

The Same Field in Nov 2013

Theater in the Courtyard in 1993

Theater in the Courtyard in 1993

The Same Courtyard in Nov 2013.   Note the same tree is there

The Same Courtyard in Nov 2013.
Note the same tree is there

Michele, Robyn,

Michele and Robyn Playing Basketball Somewhere between 1988 and 1993

The Same Basketball Goal in Nov 2013

The Same Basketball Goal in Nov 2013

Watching a Sports Meet  Somewhere between 1988 and 1993

Watching a Sports Meet
Somewhere between 1988 and 1993

Nov 2014

Nov 2014

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Day 5 and 6: Train to Kandy

English: Main Street in the Fort with the Ghaf...

English: Main Street in the Fort with the Ghaffoor Building in the background, Colombo, Sri Lanka Français : Rue principale dans le quartier du Fort avec le Ghaffoor Building en arrière-plan, Colombo, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The wonderfully painted Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque (...

The wonderfully painted Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque (Pettah Mosque) in the Pettah harbour area near the Fort Station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On day 5 I was not blogging from the beach, but from Odel which is Sri Lanka’s first department store.  This store has grown so much in the last 20 years.  They sell clothes, tea, gifts, candy, and handicrafts.

Today (day 6), I am blogging from a moving train to Kandy.  The scenery up to the hill country  is breathtaking.  You can book a 1st class ticket at tourist information at the Fort Railway Station.

The Jami-ul-Alfar Mosque in Pettah, built in 1...

The Jami-ul-Alfar Mosque in Pettah, built in 1909, is one of the oldest mosques in Colombo. Created by me (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Taqiyah (or kufi caps) in Pettah mark...

English: Taqiyah (or kufi caps) in Pettah market, Colombo, Sri Lanka Français : Taqiyah au marché de Pettah, Colombo, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Day 4 in Paradise

Narigama beach, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

Narigama beach, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Mydaas!)

Hikkaduwa morning

Hikkaduwa morning (Photo credit: Shreyans Bhansali)

Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa (Photo credit: Photosightfaces)

English: Fishing boats near the Hikkaduwa beach.

English: Fishing boats near the Hikkaduwa beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Hikkaduwa beach by sunset.

English: Hikkaduwa beach by sunset. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The beach at Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.

The beach at Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Hikkaduwa beach.

English: Hikkaduwa beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: seema malaka temple, colombo

English: seema malaka temple, colombo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gangaramaya temple in Colombo

Gangaramaya temple in Colombo (Photo credit: Dhammika Heenpella / Images of Sri Lanka)

Gangaramaya temple in Colombo

Gangaramaya temple in Colombo (Photo credit: Dhammika Heenpella / Images of Sri Lanka)

Yesterdays highlight included seeing my high school.  To my surprise the school nurse is still there and remembered me.  I then found my second house and happened to spot the president at Gangaramaya Temple for his birthday.

Today we are off to buy our train tickets for Hikkaduwa to find the site of where my 10th grade Geography field trip was held.

Gangaramaya Temple - Monk in the Morning Mist

Gangaramaya Temple – Monk in the Morning Mist (Photo credit: tantonr)

 

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Back to Sri Lanka 20 Years Later

Day 1

My husband and I arrived shortly after midnight. Surprisingly we got off the plane by a modern jet way. After entering the airport, the sweet smell of cloves, cinnamon, and incense filled the air. Moving sidewalks, AC, and an upscale mall has replaced the chickens and goats. Immigration took a maximum of 2 minutes to pass through with no hassles.  Today is writing on the beach day in Negombo.  Welcome back to Sri Lanka!

English: Three female Sri Lanka garment workers.

English: Three female Sri Lanka garment workers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


 

 

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How Old is Sri Lanka?

If you had a chance to take my poll last week on How Old is Sri Lanka, then I am sure you are waiting for the correct answer.  The correct answer is #1.  According to my research, stone objects were found that dated back to 500,000 BC.  Please have a look at my presentation for more details.  I am looking forward to seeing many of you in Sri Lanka soon.

Growing up White in South Asia

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Hiking to Horton Plains

February 1991

On February 1, 1991, we set out for the  low lying areas of Horton Plains.  The first night we stayed in a guesthouse where we would start our 9 hour hike at 6am and head to the plateau of Horton Plains.

The climb seemed pretty easy except for having to check for leeches constantly.  There are only 2 ways you can remove these guys.  One, by using a lighter and burn them off, or two, use Vaseline to make them slide off.  If the leech already had his head inside your skin, then you got a different story.  You might need some tweezers as well.  By the time we crossed our first river, most of us had an encounter with one of these guys.

When we finally reached the top of the plateau, it was as if we arrived in another land.  The sun came out as if it came to welcome us.
We arrived at the next guesthouse exhausted.  As night started to fall, it became very cold like it does in the mountains.

The next morning we set out for the famous Worlds End (AKA Lovers Leap).  The walk along the dirt trail to Worlds End was also mysterious.  As the fog started to lift we noticed there was no one in sight except for us.  It was so quiet that it felt like an alien was going to jump out at us at any moment.  Sure enough, at the next hairpin turn, we came to Worlds End.  It’s not every day that you get a view like this.

As soon as you reach the plateau heading up from Nuwara Eliya which is about a 1.5 hours drive, one can see breathtaking views of the Knuckles Mountain Range. Horton Plains looks like you have just stepped onto an uninhabited planet. Not much happens here and it is always peaceful. The last time I was here was in 1991 when I went on a field trip from my high school. Please visit my memoir Beautiful Eye to hear more about this story.

As we drove to the trail head where you can hike to see World’s End and Baker’s Falls, I noticed Farr Inn which was a guesthouse my family and I stayed in about 3 times. It is now a museum and research facility. A friendly deer came out to welcome us.

 

 

 

Me Sitting at the Edge of Worlds End

Me Sitting at the Edge of Worlds End in 1991

 

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Getting to Sri Lanka

So you have decided to go to Sri Lanka on vacation.  You have made an excellent choice!

  1. You must have at least 6 months left on your passport
  2. Most countries must now obtain a visa.  The type of visa depends on whether you will be traveling there or working there.  You may apply directly at the Electronic Travel Authorization System. Just pay the fee and print out the authorization form.

How does one get to Sri Lanka?  You can book your trip through your travel agent or directly through the airline.  Many airlines fly from Europe, Asia, and America.  Here are a few to start you off:

Sri Lankan Airlines
Thai Airways
British Airways
United Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Emirates

Location of Sri Lanka.

Location of Sri Lanka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Revised Itinerary for Bangkok, Sri Lanka, and Maldives

Day

Place

Areas to Cover

 

Day 1 ~ Day 5

 

Bangkok

·                 Palaces

·                 Temples

·                 Visit friends

Day 6

 

Colombo

·                 Arrive in Colombo

Day 7

 

 

Colombo

·                  Visit high school

·                  High School Reunion

Day 8

 

Colombo

·                  Visiting temples

·                  Visit Old Colombo

Day 9

 

Colombo

·                  Fashion show at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel

Day 10~Day 11

Southern beaches

·                  Mount Lavinia

·                  Bentota

·                  Galle

·                  Hanbantota

·                  Yala

·                  Hickaduwa

Day 12 ~ Day 17

 

Hill country

·                  Adam’s Peak

·                  Horton Plains

·                  Nuwara Eliya

·                  Uda National Park

Day 17 ~ Day 19

 

Kandy

·                  Kandy

·                  Elephant orphanage

·                  Sinharaja Forest

Day 19 ~ Day 24

 

Cultural Triangle

·                  Dambulla

·                  Polanarua

·                  Annaradnapura

Day 24 ~ Day 22

Colombo

·                  Transferring to the Maldives

Day 22 ~ Day 26

Maldives

·                  Maldives

Day 26 ~ Day 29

Colombo

·                  Back to Colombo to meet with journalists

 

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Invite to my High School Reunion

The Overseas School reunion will take place at the Colombo Swimming Club on November 17, 2013 at 2pm.  Please RSVP here: Overseas School Reunion. 24 days from today till I embark on my journey!!!!!!!!!!!

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