Beautiful Eye

Based on a True Story

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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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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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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Sri Lankan Culture

Sri Lankan Mask

Sri Lankan Mask (Photo credit: A.Davey)

Trincomalee beach, Sri Lanka

Trincomalee beach, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: james_gordon_losangeles)

The Kandy Perehara - Colombo, Sri Lanka

The Kandy Perehara – Colombo, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: whl.travel)

Elephants in Sri Lanka, so presumably Sri Lank...

Elephants in Sri Lanka, so presumably Sri Lankan Elephants. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was just doing some research on Sri Lankan culture for this memoir when I came across an article on Wikipedia that badly needed editing, so I decided to edit it.  Here is the the work in progress: Culture of Sri Lanka.

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