.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

The Final Countdown….Remembrances of Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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DrFumblefinger’s preamble:  One of the greatest aspects of knowing Arthur C Clarke was the many wonderful people I met through my friendship with him.  Among these was Sir Arthur’s personal secretary, Dottie Weerasooriya.   Dotts was and has remained a friend over the years and for the first time in the accompanying article shares some of her private memories of Sir Arthur, including his final days (Dottie was at his bedside when Sir Arthur passed on).  This is the first “guest post” on this website and I’m proud its such an interesting piece.  Thanks, Dotts, for sharing it with us! ******************************************************************************
 (Dedicated to the memory of our beloved Sir Arthur C. Clarke,
with love and  deepest respect)

by Dottie

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“Pic of the Week”. April 19, 2013. Wedding Dancers, Colombo, Sri Lanka

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During my travels to Sri Lanka, I’ve always stayed at the historic Galle Face Hotel while in Colombo.  The Galle Face Hotel is over 150 years old, a slightly weathered but elegant remnant of the British Colonial era.  Situated by the Indian Ocean, it was Arthur C. Clarke‘s favorite hotel; he actually wrote most of 3001: The Final Odyssey in it’s Presidential Suite, and it was one of the few places you could get him to join you for dinner; the Galle Face’s old time elegance, cool evening ocean breezes, view of the sunset and an excellent kitchen made this very understandable.  Frequently on weekends the hotel hosted weddings, always …

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“Pic of the Week”. March 29, 2013. Elephants bathing in the Maha Oya River, Pinnawala, Sri Lanka

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I love watching elephants — who doesn’t?  To me they’re endlessly entertaining!  Their massive size, their cute babies, their magical gentle trunks and soulful eyes (that seem to see and understand all)…..I think they’re great!  A child and its grandparent can equally enjoy them.

There’s no better time to watch elephants than when they’re bathing.  Every day at the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala, the elephants are taken to the nearby river to bathe for a few hours.  Their pleasure at being in the water is self-evident.  At Pinnawala, you won’t see just one or two, but dozens of elephants.  To read more about the Elephant Orphanage, please click here.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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“Pic of the Week”. March 15, 2013. Remembering Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

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It was five years ago, on March 19, 2008, that we lost Arthur.   He had lived a full, highly productive and wonderfully interesting life — over ninety years on this planet he thought should have been called “Ocean”, instead of Earth (more appropriate, he opined, because our planet’s more than 70% covered by water).  Arthur had been my favorite writer since I read “2001: A Space Odyssey” decades ago, by far his best known work but just one of many great concepts his fertile mind envisioned.   Arthur’s the one who nicknamed me, “Dr. Fumblefinger” after a character by the same name in a short story he wrote (which was never published but which he shared with me — …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: A Land Like No Other (Part 12) The Beaches

Sri Lanka — 12) The Beaches

Sri Lanka is intimately tied to the sea.  As a tropical island, only a few degrees north latitude of the equator, there are dozens of lovely warm beaches by which you can relax.  Some like to swim, some like to scuba dive or snorkel, some enjoy sitting in a palm grove or lying on a towel and listening to the sound of the surf hitting a coral reef or washing up on white sand.   I love the sea but am not a “beach bum”.  I’d rather explore as much of a destination as possible than be sedentary.   But for those who want a leisurely vacation on a tropical beach, Sri Lanka is an excellent destination.  It’s home to a large number of beach hotels and many fancy resorts which are mostly …

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Sri Lanka: A Land Like No Other (Part 11) Yala Park

Sri Lanka —  11) Yala Park

Yala is the most visited National Park in Sri Lanka.  It’s remotely situated in the southeast corner of the country, a long day’s drive from Colombo, and covers almost 1000 square kilometers (378 sq mi).  Originally a hunting preserve, it was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 and became one of the country’s first national parks in 1938.  Yala is known for its large variety of animals and is the best place in Sri Lanka to spot wildlife, especially herds of Sri Lankan elephants, but also deer, crocodile, boar, and aquatic birds; it has one of the highest densities of leopards in the world …

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Sri Lanka: A Land Like No Other (Part 10) Adam’s Peak

Sri Lanka —  10) Adam’s Peak

Adam’s Peak (also known as Sri Pada, or “holy footprint”) is located in the southwestern part of Hill Country.  It’s 2,243 meters (7,359 ft) high, the tallest mountain in this region and the fourth largest in Sri Lanka.  Because of its size and distinctive pyramidal top, Adam’s Peak stands out when one is traveling through the region; on a clear day it can be seen from the ocean.  The mountain is set in a region of wilderness so much of its vegetation and fauna are pristine.

I was first introduced to Adam’s Peak in Arthur C. Clarke’s book, THE FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE (which also features Sigiriya, hence the title).  In this story a mountain bearing an uncanny resemblance to Adam’s Peak is the earthbound terminus of Arthur’s …

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Sri Lanka: A Land Like No Other (Part 9) Horton Plains

Sri Lanka —  9) Horton Plains

My first introduction to Horton Plains National Park was in Hans Mohemius’ photo room at his home in Colombo.  Hans was a skilled amateur photographer who shared with me a magical photo of a sunrise on Horton Plains, the setting misty and light softly diffused over frosted grass and trees.   I knew at that moment I had to visit this place so on my last trip to Sri Lanka I finally did.  As it turns out, Horton Plains is a great place to go for a hike — the best I personally encountered in Sri Lanka.  There are several hiking options in the Park but the most popular is the loop trail to “World’s End” which I’ll discuss below.

Horton Plains National Park is a high altitude plateau in the …

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