SRI LANKA, NOVEMBER 2013

Date: 
28/11/2013
Country: 
SRI LANKA

28/11/2013. Now in Sri Lanka arrived 27/11/ via Jakarta. Had to wait for some time in Jakarta. Arrived in Colombo at 1730. It was quite nice. In the airport Thaksala has managed to get inside to meet me then of on a 4-5 hours drive to Ruthuna University where the meeting was on the 29. Lots of traffic it was at least 1 hour before we got out of Colombo. More car here than last time I was in Sri Lanka about 15 years ago. I was the first Keynote speaker at the meeting which I think went quite well or so they told me. There were of course many other speakers including Thanh from Vietnam. In the evening a large party with good food, singing and dancing. I was even dancing with Thakshala. Yesterday 29 of by a boat to see many interesting things in different places where the boat stopped. The first stop was at a large Buddhist temple then see how the cinnamon is collected from the cinnamon trees for export. Seem to be a good place for poorer people to work and nice to see. Today of to see Thakshala’s home then back to Colombo to stay in a place close to her present home as she is on sabbatical leave from Rutuna University. It is very warm here about 30º not like Scotland at the moment. So far many new things to see. Wild animals small almost like big rats are running around begging for food but very interesting animals I have not seen before. I must try to do more with my travel dairy.

2/12/2013. Now away from Colombo to the place I so often visited many years ago in Kandy where I was. I think even Joan and Torben came here. Pathirana who I worked with our research in the coconut plantation took us by train to Perudinia next to Kandy where we are staying in a small hotel. But here no soap, no ice pot no drying cloth in the bathroom but food ok so far. We have had a lot of discussing about the conflict there has been in Sri Lanka with Tamil Nadu in the North of Sri Lanka. When we arrived Pathirana took us to his home and his daughter’s home who has 3 children. They showed photos taken 25 years ago when I was here. Quite good pictures but no batik shirts. Never been to Indonesia at that time to get used to Batik shirts. Have to lecture at the University this afternoon.

3/12/2013. The 2 days in Colombo was also nice but the hotel stayed in was not. The last night no electricity so no light in the room. It was very warm but no ventilation was working. Here in Perudinia it is much colder. This was where the European or British stayed during the time Sri Lanka was a colony of Britain. Tomorrow of again to Colombo and soon of to Jakarta and then by KLM to Dyce. Spoke to Joan using a Sri Lanka sim card but it seem no money left so can not use it again.

5/12/2013. Now in Amsterdam airport. Thinking back the lectures we had in Perudinia went down well or so they said. I spoke about animal adaptation to different climates over hundreds of years. We then got together with Pathirana family for a meal in a hotel in Kandy. The town which I have often visited but long time ago. Next day Pathirana collected us and took us back to visit the Royal Community Park in Kandy. A fantastic place to visit but foreigners had to pay 100 Rupias to get in! So many interesting things to see many different trees. Some trees were planted by important visitors. One of the trees was planted when Queen Elizabeth and Phillip visited Kandy! I got a good picture of that. The nature there is so full of surprises so it took a bit longer than it should. We had to go back to Colombo by train which took 2.3 hours then by a Sri Lanka taxi very special wheel with one wheel front and two wheel at the back. We went with that taxi to Mrs Thakshala’s house where we were staying. We arrive about 8 in the evening of Dec 4 but I had to leave 3 in the morning by a taxi to the Colombo airport. The taxi was late so had to call Thakshala to ring them. Then the taxi arrived at 3.30. I was to leave by air to Jakarta at 7.15 in the morning but since there was no traffic we arrived at the airport about 4.15. so 3 hours at the airport. I managed to get a ticket for a good seat. Did some shopping and got on the plane in very good time and arrived in good time at Jakarta Indonesia where I had to get a flight to Amsterdam stopping in Kaula Lumpur as normal. But due to rain and bad weather the plane went of about 1 hour late from Jakarta. The stop in Kaula Lumpur was normal. I used their computer in the lounge but only 20 minutes to let Joan know I was on the way. Since we were a bit late arriving I was worried since I might miss the plane to Aberdeen. We arrived at 6.40 and the plane was at 8 am so ok I thought. When I came out to look at which gate I found the plane was cancelled due to some bad weather, rain and storms. So had to change the ticket to a later one now taking of here at 15.30. So now spending time in the KLM lounge reading and writing and having bits to eat! They told me that my luggage would be changed to the other plane. I hope so.

Looking back the trip to Sri Lanka it was a very interesting trip and I saw so many unexpected things which were different from when I was last there about 15 years ago or more. The roads are good and so many cars. When we left the airport coming in it took about 1 hour to get out of Colombo on the way to Ruhuna. Presumably the living standard has increased. I also saw much more of the environment in Sri Lanka so much forest with lovely trees. In spite of the problems they had in civil wars with Tamil Nadu it seem quite a happy country. It was very nice to meet up again with Pathirana as we worked together many years ago to measure the effect of coconut yield of grazing under them with cattle where we found that coconut yield increased as a result of grazing under them due to increase in water holding capacity. I always remember that the owner of the coconut trees let small farmers graze under them at no payment! When we measured what happened to the coconut yield we could understand why!