Tuesday, March 27, 2012

24Mar Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka changed its name from Ceylon in 1972 and has been in civil war for many decades.

The war has not officially finished, but no passengers seem to be concerned about it as we were confident that it isnow a safe place to visit.

Our darling friends Renee and Rene joined usfor a day in Colombo.

John and Diane also wanted to go with us if we were going to hire a van taxi.

Six of us negotiated a van for 6 hours at the pier.

We asked Lala, the cab driver to show us around town and take us to a nice Hotel for lunch.

Lala was quite happy to hear that Greg and I are from Australia.

His son finished University in there and now lives in Brisbane as a resident.

He said that he is very happy with that and proud of him.

I found people in Colombo generally friendly and that reminded me of a gentle Sri Lankan man that I used to work with in Sydney many years ago.

Sri Lankans are made of 70% Buddhist;the rest is made of Hindus, Christians and Muslims.

It wasquiet and pleasant to drive around as it was Saturday morning and the city has relatively small population of 2 million.

Lala said that we are lucky in a way to avoid chronic heavy road traffics of work days.

I also thought that we were lucky with brand new Toyota van with cool air conditioning in a day like today with temperature of 35C.

We all agreed that we had such a nice and surprising day in Colombo includes very nice lunch at the Galle Face Hotel when we returned to the ship.

May wish peace settle in this beautiful country for good!

Welcome ceremony by local dance group at the pier

A beautiful Hindu temple that charges tourists nearly $20 for taking photo of interior

Buddhist temple built on Lake Beira

A wedding couple in Kandy traditional costume just arrived in the Buddhist temple for praying

An elephant residing in the Buddhist temple

Big Buddha

Inside of the temple wall statues

Countless Buddha statues around the temple court yard

And Temple backyard

Outdoor Theatre

Performing now…

Independence Memorial Hall

Exhibition & Convention Centre built as a gift to Sri Lanka by Chinese government

Historic beautiful Galle Face Hotel facing Indian Ocean

Galle Face Hotel at seafront promenade

Galle Face Hotel buffet restaurant where nine of us all had nice lunch. Susie, Woody and Eloise just arrived in the hotel at the same time with our group.

Chaotic traffic at the bus stop for local bazaar district near the main railway station

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