Banksy has recently created another graffiti; the press goes wild about a competent painting on an ugly blank wall. It is graffiti and not graffito, the singular form is not in use. Banksy’s graffiti is hailed as Art. Why? Why, in a country with at least ten universities giving degrees in art and design, with independent art schools and with flourishing art groups throughout the land; why is a single piece of graffiti something of an event? [Read more…] about Graffiti
Fifteen years to the day after the terrible Tsunami swept across Sri Lanka, another powerful natural phenomenon struck awe and even fear for some of the rural people. The morning sky turned dark.
We had travelled upcountry to a place called Naula, close to the line taken by the total eclipse of the sun. Our friends packed a welder’s visor in their overnight bag. I thought David, an engineer, was planning to do some welding when we reached our destination, but it was his wife who had the foresight. She follows events in the heavens and told us of the eclipse.
When the time came there was cloud cover which was fortunate for me as I managed to take photographs of the eclipse through the clouds. In between the clouds, we observed the eclipse through the visor.
The cook and some of the staff where we stayed thought it was an intervention of the gods and wanted to go to the temple. Many people did visit temples, churches, kovils and mosques but it was the schoolteachers who could tell them what was happening. We collected the staff and let them all have a look through the visor. One of our Sri Lankan friends explained what was happening, but I am not sure we convinced them all.
I have visited Sri Lanka over 15 times now, living there for several months every year for the last 10 years. Early visits were during the civil war and there were inconveniences such as roadblocks, curfews and limitations on travel.
On one occasion my friends arranged an escort to the airport. There were no problems with me giving lectures at the University and to audiences containing Sinhala and Tamils. [Read more…] about Sri Lankan Bombings
It is the season of parties, not to be left out, we are arranging one. Is it any different in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lankans do not seem to plan their diaries too far ahead nor do they always respond to invites but they turn up on the dot. There is no angst about who to invite and there is no angst about who should come. If you have friends staying, you take them along. [Read more…] about Party
What did Jesus look like? You know, don’t you? He has long, straight hair, a full beard, wears sandals and Arabic robes, he never smiles.
In Europe, he is depicted with fair skin and hair. What did he really look like? There are no clues from the Bible. [Read more…] about What did Jesus Look Like?
We decided to travel by train from Kandy to Kadunnawa, equivalent to a trip from Southampton to Winchester, it takes about 30 minutes.
We have travelled by train in Sri Lanka before but always on the intercity express and always 1st class. This journey would be on a local train, just two stops. [Read more…] about A Ticket to Ride
A Little History
When the hillsides and jungles of Sri Lanka were being opened up to British planters of coffee in the middle of the 19th century, the planters were desperate for workers but the Sri Lankans, the Sinhala, were not interested in working for foreign colonialists. Why should they? They had their patch of paddy to tend, a coconut plantation and banana trees, they were self-sufficient and the British only needed them at the time of the coffee harvest. [Read more…] about A Christmas Eve Like No Other
Christmas Greetings from Kandy. Sri Lanka may be 80% Buddhist, but they do like the story of Baby Jesus. For many, religion is like belonging to a club, you can change or be a member of several. Why not enjoy the Poya days (full moon) at the Buddhist temple, Diwali at the Hindu and a few Carols at the Church? [Read more…] about Greetings from Sri Lanka 2017
Here in Sri Lanka we breakfast on plantain, as they call bananas here, buffalo curd, a macho version of yoghurt, and kithul, a treacle made from the sap of palm trees. We sit on our balcony overlooking the valley and admire our neighbour’s mango tree, heavy with green, unripe mango.
A troupe of monkeys, macaques, come along. The senior one sits atop an electricity pole surveying the scene. His or her, troops make their way along rooftops, electricity cables, tree branches from tree to tree, quietly and watchfully. Some mothers have babies clinging to their bellies. After a pause one, and then another, leaps into the mango tree.
[Read more…] about Whose Mangoes are They Anyway?
Out in Sri Lanka there is an interesting group of people, the ex-pats. These people have decided to make their lives on the tropical island for a number of reasons. None of them is quite sure where home is, here, there, or somewhere else. Perhaps home is a different concept for them, home is where they happen to be today. Here are the stories of some of them. [Read more…] about Ex-Pats Lives; Where is Home?
For a pre-Christmas treat I took my wife on a special trip. She dressed beautifully in mainly white with her large sunhat and a pair of gold lame shoes. I like to give a girl a good time and I had heard of this place up in the hills near Kurunegalla in the centre of Sri Lanka. Not many girls get a chance to visit there.
We drove up a narrow lane through an attractive area of jungle to a small settlement with a couple of bungalows and installations of mining equipment. [Read more…] about Give a Girl Some Graphite
The end of places holds a fascination for many of us; Land’s End, Finisterre, John o’ Groats, North Cape, Cape Horn and the end of Sri Lanka. [Read more…] about The End of Sri Lanka
Michael Ondaatje writes a good story and some fine poetry. I have enjoyed his ‘Cat’s Table’ and ‘Running in the Family’. ‘The English Patient’ is his best known work.
I had been reading ‘Running in the Family’ about Michael’s early life in Kegalle, Sri Lanka. Michael Ondaatje left Sri Lanka at the age of 11 in 1954 and after a few years in England he moved to Canada in 1962 where he is a respected literary figure. The Ondaatje family had a coconut estate in Kegalle called Rock Hill where Michael spent his childhood. [Read more…] about Michael Ondaatje – Author
Sri Lanka reveals itself more interesting the longer one stays here. We are back here in Kandy to study snake bites and Brenda is teaching and working to improve the library at a poor school.
I decided to research some of the improvements in the country since Independence in 1948 and got involved with some historians. The idea is to link events around the first road ever built in Sri Lanka, their A1 from Colombo to Kandy. Near the start of the road is the temple of Kelaniya. [Read more…] about Buddhist Rituals
Tropical diseases? Not your problem? Oh yes they are and not just because of the need for anti-malarials when you go on holiday.
I heard about some of the problems and successes at the first International Meeting on Tropical Medicine to be held in the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. I went along and learned a few thing of general interest. [Read more…] about Tropical Diseases – What You Need to Know
(Editor’s note: For new readers to Chandler’s Ford Today, just to say that once in a while this site has kind of become Sri Lanka Today, while our well-loved writer from Chandler’s Ford travelled to Sri Lanka as analysing snake poisons seems to be a fun hobby when you retire.
A few more interesting stories from Sri Lanka will soon appear in the next few days. Happy reading!)
To get to our house in Kandy we have to go through a tunnel. The alternative is a 3 km detour. The other day we had the Granddaddy of Tropical Storms with torrential rain from 3.00 pm until about 3.00 am. In the morning the tunnel was blocked and we had to get to work via another route. [Read more…] about Dispatches from Sri Lanka – The Tunnel in Kandy
A choir of girls was scheduled to sing carols in the foyer of a new five-star hotel here in Kandy. As some of the girls attended the school where my wife Brenda has worked, we went along.
I expected to see a crush of proud parents but there were none. [Read more…] about An Unusual Carol Concert in Sri Lanka
Yes, I know that when it comes to Christmas, I am a miserable old fart.
This year I will be 7,000 miles from Chandler’s Ford; will I be unhappy because…? [Read more…] about Christmas in Sri Lanka: 9 Things in England I’ll Miss This Christmas
Two or three times a year, the coconut boy comes around to harvest the coconuts. This year he was delayed as there has been so much rain it has left the palm trunks slippery.
There are six coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) in our garden here and they all have a ‘loverly bunch’ on them. Two of the trees are King Coconut, a variety of large yellow nut found in Sri Lanka. [Read more…] about Dispatches from Sri Lanka: a Loverly Bunch of Coconuts
An important department of the University of Peradeniya is Agriculture. It teaches the management of all things agricultural and hosts a seed bank.
Its experimental plots, rather like allotments, are planted with crops with the aim of increasing production in natural ways. [Read more…] about Agricultural Restaurant in Sri Lanka