Beautiful Eye

Based on a True Story

Galle Fort: A Walking Tour

English: Amangalla, Fort Galle, Sri Lanka

English: Amangalla, Fort Galle, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: building under repair in Galle fort i...

English: building under repair in Galle fort in Sri Lanka Photograph taken summer — autumn 2003 by Joedjemal Refer — http://www.GalleZone.com (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: Large church, Galle fort in Sri Lanka...

English: Large church, Galle fort in Sri Lanka Photograph taken summer — autumn 2003 by Joedjemal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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My Lunch of Jumbo Prawns

Today we came back to Galle Fort to look around at the old architecture.  The first stop was the library built in 1832.  We decided to ask to have a look at their oldest book.  A memoir written in 1803 by a British author was presented to us.  The binding was redone but the pages were original.  I was lucky enough to hold this book in my hands.  The next stop was the old post office that still stands today dating back to 1872.  It is still fully operational.  As you walk around towards the clock tower, you can see the Tsunami 2004 damage.  There is still a lot of construction going on here.  For lunch, we headed back to the Rampart Hotel and decided to try the jumbo prawns in garlic sauce.  Believe it or not, but they were even better than the seafood platter.

 

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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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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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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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Sri Lanka Represented at the Seoul International Woman’s Association Christmas Bazaar

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the Seoul International Woman’s Association Christmas Bazaar.  With over 50 countries being represented, it was quite crowded with so many exotic merchandise being sold.  I was of course thrilled to see Sri Lanka being represented and was very excited to tell them my story.

SIWA Christmas Bazaar

SIWA Christmas Bazaar

 

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How Old is Sri Lanka?

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sri Lanka Traditional Drum

Sri Lanka Traditional Drum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is just 8 days before I leave and I want to know how much you know about Sri Lanka.  You will be allowed to take this quiz till the day before I leave.  On the evening of Nov 11 (on Korea time), I will reveal the correct answer.

English: Buddha statue in Vatadage, Polonnawur...

English: Buddha statue in Vatadage, Polonnawura, Sri Lanka Français : Statue du Bouddha dans le Vatadage, Polonnawura, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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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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Where is Sri Lanka?

English: Location map of Sri Lanka. Equirectan...

English: Location map of Sri Lanka. Equirectangular projection. Strechted by 101.0%. Geographic limits of the map: N: 10.2° N S: 5.5° N W: 79.2° E E: 82.3° E Made with Natural Earth. Free vector and raster map data @ naturalearthdata.com. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Location of Sri Lanka.

Location of Sri Lanka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Map of the Indian Ocean

Map of the Indian Ocean (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Location map for Sri Lanka.

Location map for Sri Lanka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An enlargeable topographic map of Sri Lanka

An enlargeable topographic map of Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Lately I have discovered that not everyone knows where Sri Lanka is.  Sri Lanka is in south Asia and is located in the Indian Ocean just south of India.  Sri Lanka is also not part of India but is its own country.  Here are a few maps to help you get started on how you may want to fly there.  During the war it was nick named “Tear Drop” because of its shape and because it was “crying” from the war.  The war ended in 2009 so instead of “Tear Drop”, it is now “Beautiful Eye”.

 

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Back to Sri Lanka 20 Years Later

Bangkok monk

Bangkok monk (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Bangkok

Bangkok (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Ceylon Tea

Ceylon Tea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tea plantation in Sri Lanka

Tea plantation in Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Bends like these are frequently encou...

English: Bends like these are frequently encountered while travelling to the Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kandy colombo railway

Kandy colombo railway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sambhur at Maha-Eliya national park- Sri Lanka

Sambhur at Maha-Eliya national park- Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tea plantation in the Sri Lankan highlands.

Tea plantation in the Sri Lankan highlands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Horton Plains, Sri Lanka

English: Horton Plains, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Colombo

Colombo (Photo credit: BriYYZ)

I am excited to announce that I will be leaving Korea for Bangkok, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives on Nov 12.  I will be writing an entire chapter dedicated to what it is like to visit Sri Lanka now with the war being over.  If you would like to meet me in person at any of these destinations, please contact me at your earliest convenience to reserve your spot.

Day 1 ~ Day 4
Nov 12 ~ Nov 15 Bangkok 3 nights • Palaces
• Temples
• Visit friends
Day 4 ~ Day 6
Nov 15 Colombo • Meet with journalists
• Temples in Colombo
• Talk to publishers and printing companies
• Visit bookstore

Day 6
Nov 16
Colombo • Meeting with editor-in-chiefs
Day 7
Nov 18 9am OSC morning • Visiting my high school

Day 8 ~ Day 12
Nov 19 ~ Nov 23 Southern beaches 4 nights • Galle Fort
Yala National Park
Bentota
• Mt Lavinia

Day 12 ~ Day 17
Nov 23 ~ Nov 28 Hill country 5 nights • Adam’s Peak
Horton Plains
Nuwara Eliya
• Uda National Park

Day 17 ~ Day 19
Nov 28 ~ Nov 30 Kandy 2 nights • Kandy
• Elephant orphanage
• Sinharaja Forest

Day 19 ~ Day 24
Nov 30 ~ Dec 5 Cultural Triangle 5 nights • Dambulla
• Polanarua
• Annaradnapura

Day 24 ~ Day 22
Dec 5 ~ Dec 6 Colombo 1 nights • Transferring to the Maldives
Day 22 ~ Day 26
Dec 6 ~ Dec 10 Maldives 4 nights • Maldives

Day 26 ~ Day 29
Dec 10 ~ Dec 12 Colombo 2 nights • Back to Colombo to meet with journalists

*Note that an extra few days should be added to each area due to needing more time in the area or traffic and cancellations.

 

 

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President Ranasinghe Premadasa is Assassinated

Today I am writing the chapter on a major event on my life.  On May 1, 1993, the president was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Colombo during the May Day rally.   In my opinion he was the best president Sri Lanka ever had.  He fought hard for human rights .

President Premadasa

President Premadasa

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