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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Just over an hour’s flight from Colombo is Male, the capital of the Republic of Maldives. We’re spending a couple of days on Meeru Island before heading home on Sunday with a short stopover (connections willing) in Singapore, then the night flight home.

After the hectic lively pace of Colombo, Meeru Island is all about bare feet and chilling out.

Feeling very fortunate on a multitude of levels.

Horizontal - Meeru Island Crab - Meeru Island  Heron on Meeru IslandMeeru Island palms

About half of the galleries in the National Museum of Colombo are under restoration. There were still impressive objects to see as well as a good selection of ancient Sri Lankan paintings.

It was another hot and humid day, so the few standing fans were welcome stopping points to cool and dry down.

At one stage, groups of primary school children entered the Stone Antiquities gallery in single file, and then left, just as quietly and quickly as they had arrived. I’ve been wondering what impressions they took away.

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National Museum Colombo 3National Museum Colombo 5National Museum Colombo 4National Museum 2National Museum Colombo 7National Museum Colombo 8

Geoffrey Bawa was a Sri Lankan architect. He designed Sri Lanka’s Parliament House as well as many hotels and houses. His home, managed by the Geoffrey Bawa Trust, is tucked away in a laneway of an affluent area of Colombo and is open for tours.

The house, designed to incorporate natural light and ventilation in this tropical climate, is filled with art objects, including several works by Australian artist Donald Friend. A set of doors painted by Friend now resides in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The version in the Bawa house is a copy.

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Geoffrey Bawa house 2 - Donald Friend door (replica)Geoffrey Bawa house - 3Geoffrey Bawa house 1

First full day in Colombo. A trip to the house of architect, Geoffrey Bawa (see next post). The Old Dutch Hospital site. A walk through the hustle and bustle of Pettah in search of the Dutch Museum.

Lunch (curry and small eats in the form of a mutton roll and vegetable pastry) on the footpath of the Colombo City Hotel while we watched the world go by. Iced vanilla tea at the Dilmah T-Lounge – the coolest thing we did all day!

A stroll along Galle Face Walk and a tuk-tuk home.

Here’s a sample.

Colombo 1Colombo 2Colombo 3Colombo 5Colombo 6 - lamp in Dutch MuseumColombo 6

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We moved digs on Sunday. A little further south on the lake at Polonnaruwa. Closer to the birdlife.

On Monday before breakfast, I spent an hour watching all of the activity and attempting to capture some of it from a distance with a 200mm lens. The bird images have had some serious after cropping and pushing to bring them to you –  storks and herons, egrets and plovers, and a kingfisher.

Morning birds 10Morning birds 1 morning birds 2 morning birds 3 morning birds 4 Morning birds 5 Morning birds 6 Morning birds 7 Morning birds 8 Morning birds 9  Morning birds 11 Morning birds 12

The pieces for our next leg of travel (getting to Colombo) weren’t fitting together. The internet wasn’t helpful as we couldn’t access the Sri Lankan rail timetable. There was conflicting advice from travel blogs about the availability of first class tickets and our hotel wasn’t set up to assist with travel advice.

In the hopes that another place might be more helpful, we moved to a hotel further south on the lake. As we walked in that direction, a tuk-tuk driver named Bandula sought our custom.

Accidental finger biting possible

Where are you from? Where are you going? What are you doing today? We mentioned that we wanted to go to Colombo on Monday.

9.42 train.

First class?

No. First class hasn’t been available for 18 months. Second class is very comfortable. You will have your own seats.

He then called the railway station and ascertained that we could pre-book them. After we dropped our bags, we were off to the Railway Station at Polonnaruwa in search of tickets.

Come this way.

Before we knew it, we were behind the counter getting individual attention.

Polonnaruwa Station - tickets to Colombo

Seats booked, we headed back to our new digs with tickets in hand and a tuk-tuk booking for the next morning.