Stuif's Adventures

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Sri Lanka December 2008
Before I settled down in Malaysia, I have been a frequent visitor of Sri Lanka.
In the period between 1981 and 1999 I must have visited the "Island of Serendipity" more than twenty times. Once, in 1992, on a sabbatical leave, I stayed there for half a year. In Tangalle, a remote fishing village on the South Coast.
I mastered the Sinhala language, could even read and write it ( ok, a bit only, it is not that easy)

I don't believe in an afterlife, otherwise I would have been sure that in an earlier life I would have been Sinhalese, a member of the "karawa" caste ( the fishermen)

During my visits, the poltical situation in Sri Lanka was often tense, not only between Sihalese and Tamil, but also, in the nineties, between government and the (illegal) JVP. I could write a book about my experiences in those troublesome days..:-)

After 1999 I have not been back, not even after the 2004 tsunami, which caused devastating damage in "my" village Tangalle. Of course I was worried about my friends and I managed to contact my closest friend Chaminda. He had survived, but Sisira, another friend, was swept away and died.

When I got a letter from Chaminda that he was married now and that he had a son. I decided that it was time to visit Sri Lanka again. The week before Christmas was a suitable time, because a former student of mine, Anna, now a good friend, was planning to come to Sri Lanka where she owns an apartment in Colombo.

I arrived in Colombo in the middle of the night, and took a taxi to my hotel. Many army roadblocks, a tense atmosphere, it reminded me of the past. The next day I visited Anna in her apartment and we had a very pleasant day, talking about past, present and future..:-).

I had arranged with Chaminda that he would come to Colombo the following day with his family to pick me up. It twas really nice to see him again and meet his wife Samantika and his son Janiru.

In two days we drove back to Tangalle, visiting some tourist attractions on our way. In Tangalle I got a room in the Gayana guesthouse, where I also had stayed during my first visit in 1981(!).

Hundreds of people had died here during the tsunami. Many guesthouses had been destroyed, but rebuilt already with foreign help. Unfortunately there were hardly any tourists, probably because of the ongoing fighting between Tamils and Sinhalese.

Quickly I became part of Sri Lanka again, although with rather mixed feelings this time. Three months ago Chaminda's uncle had died, and there was an alms giving ("daane") ceremony where I was the guest of honour. One day we went on a mussel catching trip, as I had done several times in the past. It was the same but also different....

And I visited my other close friend, Kamal, living about 40 km inland. I had written to him about my visit, but the letter got lost, so it was a big surprise for him to see me unexpectedly. He also had married recently and was now the proud owner of his own guesthouse.

On the last day I revisited the beautiful rock temple of Mulgirigala. I visited Sisira's grave. And I bought a painting from a friend, the gifted artist Pathmamanda, who lost all his early paintings in the tidal wave.

Needless to say that this was a visit with many different facets....

Meeting Anna

Her dining room

A room with a view
1 comment

Posh ravioli lunch in Sri Lanka!

Temple at Kalutara

Chaminda and his family

Samantika and Janiru

Our guesthouse in Unuwatuna

Orchids in the garden

Learning to walk

Father and son

Taprobane island

Weherewena Temple, near Matara

The temple grounds

Flower offerings

Chaminda and son

Inside the temple

Gayana GH, Tangalle

My VIP room

The rebuilt "Old Gayana"

Pre-tsunami remnant

Beach view from Gayana

Fun on the beach

Work on the beach too

Shanika GH, rebuilt

Many ruins remain

Most beautiful beach in the world

The lagoon

Pathmananda's art gallery

His paintings

Found back after the tsunami

Sujith in front of his GH

Memorial for the tsunami dead

Sisira is nr 63


Evening on the beach

Enjoying a beer on my balcony

Official introduction of the tsunami alarm

Monks coming to the daane


The musicians

Ready for lunch

The food is offered

The head monk and I

Our turn to have lunch

Good food

Look at his smile!

Evening drink with Chaminda and Sujith

Kamal's GH in Bundala

Good to see him settled

Catamarans on the beach

Frangipani, my all time favorite

Birds heaven

The mussel rock

Catching the mussels


Must have been about 30 kg

Preparing our lunch

Almost ready

Perfect with cocnut and arrack

What a lunch!

Sarath in his new house

The tomb of his child in the garden

Janiru unpacking his present

Me and my godson

Mulgirigala rock temple

One of the many pagodas

Entrance to one of the caves

Beautiful mural paintings

Large reclining Buddha


I would like to be a Buddhist

Steps to the top

Not easy

View from the top

Main pagoda

Going down

Inscription from 6th century AD!

A moon stone

Tangalle harbour

Chaminda with his boat

The painting I bought

Painter and proud owner

Medaketiya cemetery

A lonely visitor

Sisira's tombstone

wrote on Dec 30, 2008:
What a wonderfully spacious apartment.

wrote on Dec 30, 2008:
Those mussel shells? How many did you eat?!

How different is Sri Lankan food from Southern Indian food?

wrote on Dec 31, 2008:
Really a lot...haha!! So fresh.
Sri Lankan food is very similar to Southern Indian food, actually it can get a bit boring after a while. Rice and curries, that's it.

wrote on Jan 2, 2009:
Its like a honeymooning chamber!

wrote on Jan 2, 2009:
After the tsunami, you know what those mussel shells thrive on? And you ate "a lot"!! Ha! Ha!

wrote on Jan 3, 2009:
It was the bridal suite, yes...:-)

wrote on Jan 3, 2009:
Check out that PINK mosquito net!

wrote on Jan 3, 2009:
from the looks of it the mosquito net is not so much to keep out the mozzies but prying eyes. this one got plenty of gaps for the blood suckers to crawl in and join you in bed. take it from someone who has had years of experience of hiding under a mosquito net ... from the mozzies, lah. and even if you thought you had tucked it securely all it needs is for you to roll up against the net and the mozzies can feed from outside. /stephen

wrote on Jan 3, 2009:
anything else besides the egrets? /stephen

wrote on Jan 3, 2009:
I did not even bring my bins...:-( There were many Red-wattled Lapwings and Cormorants, easy to ID. Also Bee-eaters (Chestnut-headed?) and Kingfishers. And I think I saw a Pelican

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