“Pic of the Week”, May 5, 2017: Yatala Vehera, Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka

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Situated in southeastern Sri Lanka, close to Yala National Park, is the town of Tissamaharama.  As we were driving through this town we came across an obviously old stupa that our guide knew only as “the ancient stupa”.  We stopped and looked around it, although there was no one around to ask for further information.

When I returned I did a little research, and it has an interesting history.  The stupa is named  Yatala Vehera, and was built about 2300 years ago by then King Mahanaga, as a token thanks for the birth of his son (and it functioned as a safe retreat).  It was crafted with a wall of sculpted elephants facing in all directions, as if forming …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 9, 2015: Kuttan, the face of Colombo’s Galle Face Hotel

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I’ve previously written about my travels to Sri Lanka to visit my favorite author and friend, Sir Arthur C. Clarke.  After the long journey to Sri Lanka from America, I enjoyed settling in at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, a charming Colonial era building adjoining the Indian Ocean, before traveling elsewhere on the island.  This hotel was where Arthur wrote most of his last novel in the Odyssey series, 3001: The Final Odyssey.  It was also among the only places that enticed Arthur to leave the comfort and convenience of his home to join me for dinner or a drink, or to watch the sunset.

I meet many fine people in Sri Lanka during these visits. …

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“Pic of the Week”, Sept. 6, 2013. Masked Dancers, Kandy Cultural Show, Sri Lanka

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One of the great joys of traveling is seeing the art, costumes and traditions of different people.   Something everyone going to Kandy (in the low Hill Country of central Sri Lanka) should experience is one of its “cultural shows”.  These shows feature traditional music (mostly drummers), dancers, acrobats, and a variety of clothing styles from different regions of Sri Lanka.  The show usually ends with a fire walker traversing a bed of hot coals with bare feet, an amazing sight! (the key is to have thick callused soles and to move quickly)

Several of the dances in this “cultural show” feature the traditional masks of Sri Lanka, which represent various mythological characters.  These dancers convey a folk-story with their …

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.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! ******************************************************************************
THE FINAL COUNT DOWN
 (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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