Posts tagged Kalutara

Sri Lanka 1: They Love Americans

Sri Lanka

They Love Americans

Landing in Sri Lanka, Jessica and I were greeted with (in Ayubūvan), “May you live long.” The greeting was warm and friendly from people who genuinely like Americans, even though there are not many who visit this tropical island in the Indian Ocean…yet!

1-1

1-2

1-3

Colombo to Kalutara

Dog tired, but filled with excitement, we drove from the airport to Colombo. The main city was filled with bustling and lively crowded streets, along with a multi ethnic populace of Hindu, Buddhism and Muslim culture. This history dates to over 3,000 years back. The sights and sounds were exotic with a mixture of modern life and colonial ruin. The English and Dutch architecture is still very much evident, and quite impressive.

Exhausted, we found our way to the guest house in Kalutara and fell asleep without dinner. Invigorated and ravishingly hungry, we were awaken the next morning with smells of one of the most delicious and memorable breakfasts––traditional Sri Lankan pancakes made from local, fresh coconut milk and rice flour. Soon after, we met up with our trusted guide, colleague, and friend, Aroush who is a native Sri Lankan, now living in Florida. Off we went into the Sri Lankan back country!

3. 20160506_201759 3. 20160506_211822

Temples and Elephant Orphanages

There was so much to do, experience, and absorb. Our travels took us to the southwestern tip of the island, Galle, a major city. It had magnificent Dutch-colonial buildings and beaches. Kandy was the next stop with marveled us with its ministries, temples, elephant orphanage, and lakes. We forged onto Sigiriya next. Its unforgettable ruins of an ancient civilization, sitting on top of a rocky outcrop, with vertical walls that soar nearly above the clouds were breathtaking. We were in another universe, discovering magnificent salvage finds along the way.

20160511_105543

 

Sri Lanka 3: The Prize

Sri Lanka

The Prize

In addition to the hand carved items we found, we brought back astoundingly beautiful wooden slabs. These came from giant trees, which were naturally fallen. Nature toppled them, not the chain saw. These trees when sliced were found to be up to 8,000 to 10,000 years old. Astounding isn’t it? The wood grain is resplendent––simply exquisite.

We’re making some extraordinary tables—4’ wide and almost 20’ long. Sri Lanka wood craftsmen are busy making coffee tables, side tables, conference, and dining tables for us. The tables made out of the wood we find, is a story unto itself.

Sri Lanka is host to many tropical hardwoods seen nowhere else and quite unheard of in most instances. Take Black Mara, for example. It is a scarce and highly prized tree found at the edge of forests and takes on a golden luster when polished.

 

Then there is Spalted Tamarind; a beautiful exotic wood often found lying on the forest floor. The rotting effect on Tamarind creates the spalted look that varies from piece to piece.

I had no idea what “spalted’ meant, so thought I would include its definition, compliments of Mr. Webster.

Spalted ; adjective–– (of wood) containing blackish irregular lines as a result of fungal decay, and sometimes used to produce a decorative surface The lines also can be pink to gray and even a variety of colors in the same piece of wood.

9-5-0

Fresh and Delish

Our travels took us through lush verdant jungles with scents of vanilla and cinnamon. Aroush took a side road as we were traveling. Excitedly, he shouted over the noise of the jeep, that he wanted to show us something.

Soon, we found ourselves in a dense jungle, with cobra holes all over the ground. In front of us was a scene too magical to be real. A stand of tropical fruit trees, too many to count, all laden with ripe, lush fruit– an abundance of delectable mangoes, guava, coconut, passion fruit, sapodilla. Sapodilla is a flavorful fruit that tastes like a pear with brown sugar. There were so many others I had never heard of. We stuffed ourselves silly with the sweet juicy fruit.

Joy of Laughter

Along the rutted dirt road, near the fruit trees was a car, packed with kids, 15 or more doing the same thing we were, having an “off the tree” snack of pure deliciousness.

Jessica, who kids love, immediately made friends with all of them, or should I say Jessica and her cell phone. The kids were wildly enthusiastic, taking photos of each other under Jessica’s direction. On the way back to our seaside lodging at beautiful Kalutara, Jessica remarked more than once, how full of life and happiness these kids were.