Archive for January2016

A Kandy Train

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Sri Lankan Railways The railway system is a vestige of British occupation dating from 1864. The Brits introduced tea to the country, grown in the uplands, and the railway was needed to ship the processed tea leaves to Colombo for shipment by sea to England and other ports. The locomotives were steam, then diesel and […]

Kandy, Sri Lanka Fire Brigade

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Former Sri Lankan and Then British Capitol Kandy is Sri Lanka’s second largest city, located in the country’s hilly interior at an altitude of 1,600 feet. Don’t let the elevation fool you, it is still blistering hot perhaps as there is that much less atmosphere to dampen the sun. (I’m not complaining, much.) The population […]

Mind the Mines

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A Legacy of War The 26-year Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009 after bitter fighting and many suicide attacks. During the conflict both sides laid thousands of landmines mostly in the north and east of the country, the area which the Tamils hoped to convert into a seperate state. Many of the mines were […]

Sri Lanka: We Have Seen the Elephants

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And They Are Us My guide/driver suggested a late afternoon elephant “safari” and I said, “why not.” A safari is a jeep ride of any duration over a surface loosely termed a road in search of wildlife, in this case elephants. The ride in the back of the open-topped truck was crashingly rough. It quickly […]

Jaffna Fire Brigade, Sort Of

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Few and Far Between The Northern Province of Sri Lanka, about 3,400 square miles in area, has but a single fire station. So much for response times. Jaffna is the main city in the province with a population of about 500,000 and the station is located there. In fact, the Jaffna district alone is over […]

Jaffna: A Port With a Fort

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Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, was on the “spice route” and therefore a likely place for Europeans to haul up in search of cinnamon, as well as the opportunity to provision ships. The Portuguese were the first to arrive around 1600 and they were followed by the Dutch and finally the Brits who “ruled” until independence began […]

The Road to Jaffna

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Sri Lanka and Civil War Sri Lanka was raked by a bloody military insurgency for about 26 years from 1983 till 2009. Sinhalese Sri Lankans in the south are primarily Buddhist and the Tamils in the north and east are Hindu. It is said that Great Britain, while they ruled the island as part of […]

Monks and Monkeys

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Anuradhapura Roughly around the time of the Roman Empire (50 BC) there was a thriving and mature Buddhist kingdom in this part of Sri Lanka. Today, the ruins of the huge monasteries are called the “Scared City” and much of it has been reclaimed by nature. Thousands of monks lived and trained in the area […]

Around the World in 30 Days

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Sri Lanka and Thailand, Mostly I’m off to attend the wedding of a good friend in Thailand, what better place to be in the middle of winter? I’ve always had a hankering to see Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, the teardrop island off the southeast coast of India. So, here I am, though it took almost […]

Just Don’t Bed The Young White Chicks

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Mandingo Invasion The state of Maine is in the thrall of a serious opiate epidemic.  In a state with less population than the borough of Manhattan they are experiencing an average of five overdose deaths every week. But Governor Paul LePage used his bully pulpit this week to sound the cry against the real culprit: […]

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