Beautiful Eye

Based on a True Story

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Sri Lanka: Reflecting back on some of my favorite activities

1.    Climb Sri Pada, to see where Buddha left his footprint

2.    Remote beaches

Fisherman at Bentota Beach in 1991

Fisherman at Bentota Beach in 1991

3.    Safari’s with elephant sightings

4.    Join the Perahera.  A parade of a hundred elephants

Colombo Perahera in 1992

Colombo Perahera in 1992

5.    Feed the baby elephants in a daily ritual at the elephant orphanage

Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage in 1988

Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage in 1988

6.    Visit 5th century temples

7.    Visit World’s End where you can view the southern coast on a clear day.  The cliff height is about 270 meters straight down

View from the top of Adam's Peak (Sri Pada), 1992

View from the top of Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada), 1992

8.    Best tea in the world

9.    It’s always summer except in the hill country where you can breathe fresh, clean air

10.Some of the friendliest people on earth

Dikoya, 1992

Dikoya, 1992

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Family Road Trip to the Cultural Triangle

On December 17, 1988 when school had just ended for the summer vacation, we decided to do a road trip of the Cultural Triangle.  This trip was quite risky as the LTTE has just bombed some buses close to the areas we would be visiting.  With my dad as the driver and my mom as the tour guide, my sister and I sat in the back seat and relaxed.  My mom did not want to miss this opportunity to see 1st century Buddhist temples.

Map of the Cultural Triangle

Map of the Cultural Triangle

The first stop on this trip was the Dambulla Cave Temple.

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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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Hikkaduwa

 

English: Fishing boats near the Hikkaduwa beach.

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

 

Recovery and reconstruction efforts following ...

Recovery and reconstruction efforts following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, western coast of Thailand (Photo credit: ILO in Asia and the Pacific)

 

English: Hikkaduwa beach by sunset.

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

 

 

English: Hikkaduwa beach.

English: Hikkaduwa beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Construction of house after December 2004 Tsun...

Construction of house after December 2004 Tsunami in Matara District of Sri Lanka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

USGS graphics showing the two wave forms of th...

USGS graphics showing the two wave forms of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Countries most affected by the tsunami, with t...

Countries most affected by the tsunami, with the earthquake’s epicenter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It is very hard to get a good Internet signal in this area.  Best to walk around and keep trying.  This beach area was first popular with the hippies of 1970s is one of Sri Lanka’s best deals to stay at right on the beach.  In fact most of these beach front properties are US$60 or under a night.  If you want AC and hot water, expect to pay another US$10 a night.  You really don’t need hot water and most of the AC units here are quite old.  I say save your money and go primitive.

 

This area was badly damaged by the Tsunami of 2004 and you can still see its impact.  When I was living here 20 years ago, these guest houses had quite a bit of beach front property back in the day, the ocean had less of a current, and the fishermen were bringing in a lot more fish.  Sad to see this morning that one of the fishing boats did not bring in any.  Surfing is still popular in this area though.

 

Today, I am determined to find the site of my 10th grade Geography field trip here but so much has changed.  Wish me luck.

 

Animation of 2004 Indonesia tsunami

Animation of 2004 Indonesia tsunami (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

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Lunch at Galle Fort

English: Ancient canon mount in Galle fort, Sr...

English: Ancient canon mount in Galle fort, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fort of Galle in southern Sri Lanka, first...

The fort of Galle in southern Sri Lanka, first a Portuguese, then a Dutch stronghold (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: One of the gates, Galle fort in Sri L...

English: One of the gates, Galle fort in Sri Lanka Photograph taken summer — autumn 2003 by Joedjemal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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My Seafood Platter

Sorry for not keeping you updated on my travels, but I have been either too exhausted or have not had an Internet connection.  I have been riding elephants, dodging iguana’s on roads, going on tours of colonial hotels from the 1800’s, and leopard watching.  More details on these adventures coming up soon.

Right now I am blogging from the Rampart Hotel right inside the Galle Fort.  Galle Fort was built by the Portuguese in 1588.  The Rampart Hotel is a colonial hotel which has the best seafood in the area.  I highly recommend the seafood platter.

English: Galle fort

English: Galle fort (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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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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Afternoon Tea at the Mount Lavinia Hotel

mount_lavinia_hotel_sunset

mount_lavinia_hotel_sunset (Photo credit: Chonil Weerawansa)

22x20px|border Sri Lanka, Mount Lavinia Hotel ...

22x20px|border Sri Lanka, Mount Lavinia Hotel

Today I am blogging from the famous Mount Lavinia Hotel.  This amazing white building was built by a British governor in 1805 to be his house.  This governor fell in love with a local lady here and named this mansion after her.  The beach here is spectacular, bit it is not recommended to swim here due to the strong current.  This beach is just a 10 minute ride from the Fort Railway Station and costs US$0.38.  This area is great for a quick get away from Colombo.

The governor's palace, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka

The governor’s palace, Mount Lavinia, 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 in Sri Lanka Day 2 and Day 3

World Trade Center twin towers with the Bank o...

World Trade Center twin towers with the Bank of Ceylon tower to their left and the Presidential Secretariat in the foreground, Colombo, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Colombo World Trade Center in Sri...

English: The Colombo World Trade Center in Sri Lanka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka ...

English: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka Français : Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka ...

English: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka Français : Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The entrance of the Galle Fave Hotel, Colombo,...

The entrance of the Galle Fave Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to say that Sri Lanka is growing.  Growing is a good thing.  After many years of war, it is good to see a World Trade Center up, and a Hyatt being built.  The Galle Face Hotel which was built in 1864 is under renovations.

Today I am off to see the high school I graduated from, the Overseas School.  Lets see if any of my teachers are still there.  Later on, I am having a small gathering at the Colombo Swimming Club which was the main hang out for my school.

English: Galle Face Hotel seen on the way.

English: Galle Face Hotel seen on the way. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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