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Old 2nd November 2008, 19:11   #16
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Default Milk and Water

While they graze, Neil tells us to go to the feeding area. This is a pavilion with rails. We stand around there. Inside is a 5 year old mentally disturbed calf. She keeps shaking her head and making weird movements. Can’t help feeling sorry for it.

10 min later, two of the calfs happily saunter in. They go up and nuzzle the mentally handicapped one. They are then separated and tethered with long chains.

Signs are in place “Do not feed” but some foreigners for whom rules do not apply outside their country feed papaya to them. The calves explore people with their trunks. Some folks wave in an aggressive manner and the calf whips its trunk back at them. How they ducked!

A crate of milk bottles are brought in. The attendant demo’s and the calf happily complies. He takes what looks like a rubber torch, puts it on the bottle and the calf glugs it and the bottle is finished quicker than a V12 merc would finish a litre.

We have to pay SRS 250 for the privilege. Neil gets a ticket and my daughter gets a chance.
(am looking peeved as my wife got the camera switch wrong!)
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That over, we exit the orphanage, cross the road down a path to the river side. We park ourselves in a restaraunt on the water’s edge. We are famished, so order breakfast!

An then they come, by the dozen!
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No one misses out!
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No one is allowed too near due to the strong current and huge mass. We finish breakfast and get a big bill. Rs 1500 - Rs 600 indian. Assume it goes for the elephants.

We pop into a place where dung is made into paper
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They do a demo - show us a tray of drying dung! I unconciously say "yummy" to wind up my daughter and the whole crowd hears it and ....

We go through the process but the paper and products costs a lot. They need some focussed marketing help.

It is then back to Colombo and we reach in time for Lunch

Last edited by Rehaan : 3rd November 2008 at 03:25. Reason: as per Ajmat's consideration.
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Old 2nd November 2008, 19:26   #17
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Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Entrance for us foreigners is SRS 1000, the local gets in for a quarter of this.
It seems for saarc nations its about Rs250/- ie about SRS 550/- It seems unless you mention that you are from a saarc nation, they charge you the normal foreigner fees. My bro who went last week paid about Rs250/-

Great travelogue and fantastic pictures. The resorts are really beautiful.
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Old 2nd November 2008, 20:09   #18
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All I can say is you definitely have an eye for details !
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Old 3rd November 2008, 19:41   #19
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Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
All I can say is you definitely have an eye for details !
And you have the appreciation and hunger for such major details!
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Old 3rd November 2008, 20:02   #20
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Great pics, even better writing, and you have really explored a lot. Keep it flowing.
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Old 3rd November 2008, 20:37   #21
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Very nice review I must say this must have a beautiful experience. Very well narrated.
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Old 3rd November 2008, 20:38   #22
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Default Later that afternoon

We are hungry so we run to the food court and have a thai meal. We decide to look in on the supermarket. Things are expensive. A packet of processed cheese is almost rs 200.

Most food comes via Singapore. These guys would do well to import from India but there is a credit squeeze with India, as well as the political situation.

Food digested. The Beach Bum wants to hit the pool and the shop-o-holic wants to shop. I have no choice! We go down to the pool. Some shots of the garden and area surrinding the pool. Some areas cannot be photographed as the PM lives across the road.
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We jump in the pool. I decide to swim, my daughter wants to flip the coin so I toss, swim, toss etc. Am a lousy swimmer so my Nisha Millet tutored daughter tires teaching me.

By 5.30, we finish aand get to the room. The shopping bags arrive followed by my wife. She scored well but had problems with the security. Her Rick got stopped and they looked at her passport and started saying that her passport expired and she was illegally staying etc. It took her a minute to figure that they were looking at her old Singapore Visa so she directs them to the proper page.

Dinner will be in the hotel at "The Lagoon" which overlooks the large pond. We walk in without a reservation but they manage to seat us somewhere.

BTW - today is Diwali but you would not know it! In Bangalore, any minority religion is celebrated with enthusiasm, all enjoy each other's festivals, over here - nothing!

Back to dinner, waiter suggests something for my daughter, we decide on a thai seer red curry (highly recommended). We order a prawn platter as a starter. Except that the main course comes first. The desserts are awesome. The total bill, including a carlsbeg bottle - not even Rs 2000!

And then it is time to hit the sack!
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Old 3rd November 2008, 21:13   #23
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Default A drive around Colombo

After breakfast, we laze around the hotel. I decide to take some pics of the reception hall. It is impressive - the lights are 6 stories high

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Our car and driver , Tony arrives. Tony brings the Corolla which has the Tour operator emblazoned on the doors. i tell him that we want to drive around Colombo and a little shopping.

We set off to the Fort area where the Presidents house is. no one is allowed there so Tony tells me to say that we are going to the Galadari hotel, next door. We are checked and allowed through. Place bristles with troops and I keep the camera away. We pass the Hilton and then the World Trade Centre which houses most companies and is guarded like a fortress.

We then drive through central Colombo hear the docks, it is almost like Parry's in Chennai! There is a market there called Pettah but it is difficult to drive in, lots of pick pocketers and also a potential bomb target. We drive past "Slaves Island" - soem dodgy nightclubs around there.

We reach ODEL's where some clothes need to be exchanged so we browse again. Across the road is the Central colombo masjid. I think of our mad mullah and the collection of mosques we pointed out for him in KL

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Get back in the car and we pass the University and then we come to the Independence Square. This is the hall. There is a museum underneath which tells me a lot more than I knew about this nation

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Further down the road is the Convention centre built by the Chinese. The former prime minister lives opposite

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another buddha

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My wife passes "Cotton Collection". She went to a branch but this is the real thing. We walk in and find some good stuff but my size is not alaways there. While paying , I see a familiar name - it is my driver's. Each driver gets a commision which is documented. I feel less guilty is letting him wait outside.

We then want to visit Paradise Road Store and Cafe. We have an approximate address. we ask around and some auto drivers tell us. We find the store which has become a bit up-market but amazing range of furnishings, knick knacks - rather like Pause in Bangalore. we buy a few things and then whnt food. The cafe is renamed the Gallery and is at the rear.

We walk across. It is pretty tony! A few expats hang out there. This was Geoffery Bawa's old office and is amazing in detail

Some pics of the entrance

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The restaraunt has a nice ambiance. Food is pricey but awesome. I had a blue cheese tart. Girls had ice cream. Amazing banana split with jaggery and coconut ice cream.

We return to the car and go back to hotel. Tony tells us Neil will come at3.30 am to take us to the airport. The rest of the day is ours. we have had enough of security etc so hang out in the hotel. I go to the mall and have a foot massage. I sleep off during the foot massage, it is awesome. I return and I take my daughter swimming. We need to have an early night so pop to the food court for an awesome pineapple seafood rice.

We pack and plan to sleep or so we thought!
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Old 3rd November 2008, 21:32   #24
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wow..lovely description and pictures.
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Old 3rd November 2008, 21:37   #25
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Default The Flying Tigers Perform

We are asleep, everyhing packed. We just need to jump into our clothes and set off.

At 11.30, I hear a thud, my wife nudges me and points, I see orange streaks, I hear rata tat - thud. It is more intense than fireworks. Suddenly the building pictured in front blacks out. I jump to the window and watch. It feels queasy. I see series of "flares" streak across the sky (in orange). suddenly search lights come on (in green) and revolve around. No other colours so this ain't diwali.

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This goes on for 15 min and stops. My wife then says. "Wow, they really put on a show for diwali!"

I did not have the heart to tell her what it actually was.

2.30 AM - Neil calls and cuts off

3.30 AM - Neil calls and says he is on her way.

4.00am - we check out, Neil is waiting for us. He tells us that the Air Tigers tried to bomb the power station and part of Colombo is blacked oot.

I compelte check out. Hotel tries to charge me for an extra bed already paid for. I dig my heels in and they relent.

Drive to airport is in darkeness 1 km beyond hotel. We are stopped. As we turn in, we are searched and verified. Check in is straight forward. Airport was closed down during the night so flight is delayed.

I pick up duty free. Everything is overpriced. coffee is $4 each. They really got you by the goolies. Our flight arrvies from Mumbai. Turnaround is prompt and we board.

Flight uneventful. We are just releived to be getting home on time. Food is exactly the same as when we came in. We are out of Bangalore airport in 20min. Well done BIAL.

Get into a MERU, switch SIM's and phones beep - our parents going crazy wondering were we are!

And, we end our trip. I enjoyed Sri Lanka and highly recommend it providing you plan well. Might look at self drive next time around.

Last edited by ajmat : 8th October 2013 at 22:40.
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Old 3rd November 2008, 21:53   #26
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Sir just saw this thread. Amazing pics and very nicely written and summarized experiences (i myself do not have so much patience to write in so much detail).ALways heard SL is beautiful and must say the pics do the talking!Galle was really nice. Is the cricket stadium the same where our Indian team has played so many matches. I guess it is. Had heard it got submerged in Tsunami. was it true?
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Old 26th March 2011, 17:07   #27
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Default Re: Sri Lanka - Exotically Slow - Water, Elephants and a flying tiger

We're going to Colombo next week and hence decided to search and ended up reading your travelogue! Its old but I guess still relevant. We are booked into the swimming club which is opposite the President's house.
By the way, Madurai has a property that used to belong to Madura Coats, where I practically grew up in, which was designed by Bawa. Today its a hotel called the "Heritage". All the expansion work (done recently) was done by a student of Bawa and is done very tastefully.
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Old 27th March 2011, 00:35   #28
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Default Re: Sri Lanka - Exotically Slow - Water, Elephants and a flying tiger

Hi Ajmat,

Even though this TL of yours is old, the pics were really amazing and the narration was equally good. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 28th March 2011, 18:28   #29
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Default Re: The Flying Tigers Perform

Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
the Air Tigers tried to bomb the power station and part of Colombo is blacked oot.
Came across this thread accidentally, late arrival. It ended up being a coincidence. The same time around your visit I was a regular to Colombo. I have made 15 trips in 15 months for business.

The day when the Tigers attacked Colombo city, I was in the Apartments next to Cinnamon Grand - Crescat Boulevard (lived in Cinnamon Grand for many many days, had enough and shifted few days before to the apartments for want of a house-feeling).

My dad was with me when the bombing happened. I still remember the 'dadadadada... dumm.. damm' sounds. It was very adventurous, during the blackout all my friends headed down (we were in 6th floor, 18th floor in our apartment was hit by some bullets) through emergency exit. Everyone around us were quite normal with that, only we outsiders worried and panicked. It seemed to be normal for them.

We saw the plane hitting a building near the air force station. Next day we visited the building to have a look, police prompted not to take any photos.

I shall post the video (though dark) we shot during the attack, should be lying somewhere in personal laptop.

This thread reminds me of my days in Colombo, Kandy, Nuwar Eliya (little England), T estates, watching cricket with a SL national team selector (all the privileges ), T20, Idea series... all excitement I had there.

Nice and detailed TL Ajmat!

P.S: Cinnamon Grand was earlier The Oberoi. Share Warne and Mark Waugh on a tournament tour to SL met a bookie in the bar of that hotel and eventually that led to the Warne/Waugh's ban.
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Old 28th March 2011, 21:35   #30
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Default Re: Sri Lanka - Exotically Slow - Water, Elephants and a flying tiger

Here is the video of LTTE's air strike on Colombo (dark though).

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