Well, that was a bit longer than the delay I was expecting. The internet was cooperating and this time it was actually due to other stuff that kept coming up.
We took a visit to Galle (pronounced Gaul in English or Gal-le in Sinhalese) taking the highway. And when I say, “the highway”, I quite literally mean the highway since at the moment, it’s the country’s only one. There are more planned and under construction.
Apologies for the rubbish quality photos. I took these with a cheap camcorder.
On the way, I saw something that I thought I’d never see on a Sri Lankan highway.
Mind you there are no posted limits on inland roads and only some city roads have limits posted. Though that hasn’t stopped people from exceeding Mach 1 on a regular basis on both. Did I mention driving in Sri Lanka is frightening?
You can tell the country is really moving forward by the amount of new construction going on, especially in terms of public projects and private housing. And we have some examples of those public displays of progress.
There was also a victory arch of sorts. Though, considering it was built after the civil war ended (1984 – 2009) and the top is adorned with a blossoming flower, I think the message here is that it’s a “peace arch”.
One of the nice things about living on an island is that you’re not too far off from the beach from most locations.
These days most of Sri Lanka is pockmarked with ads that play on popular culture. Movies music etc… And I’m sure none of these had any sort of corporate approval since the whole country has a pretty relaxed attitude to piracy and plagiarism.
And of course, there’s the variety that make absolutely no sense.
We then came across the old fort of Galle. This was first built during the Portuguese occupation (1505 – 1658), extended during the Dutch occupation (1658 – 1798) and then the British occupation (which itself lasted until 1948) and, sadly, has better construction than some of the newer structures I’ve seen going up. Then again, these were built to repel invaders, not just rain and mice.
The spot is fairly popular with couples in the area. In fact, we saw quite a few taking cover under umbrellas.
There’s no beach in the area and many of the external walls directly reach the ocean since this was a defensive fort and not a resort. The steep walls have cannon ports in several spots with plenty of overlap to cover blind spots.
Directly behind the fort is a Buddhist temple, which at one point used to be a Christian church during the occupation. The stupa (the white structure) was built among some of the church architecture (the bell tower is still intact). Sadly, most of my architecture shots were blurry and beyond recognition.
The interior shots were, once again, ruined due to my sloppy camera work. Though I did manage to pull up a few OK photos of the inside statues and paintings including the main statue of a reclining Buddha.
We took a bit of a walk down the local roads were we came across some of the gorgeous blooms. They look a bit fuzzy, but this time it’s not the camera. It’s the famously harsh daytime daze on the island. Being equatorial, Sri Lanka gets some of the brightest sunshine.
Our next stop was the Maritime Archaeology Museum. Here, I was hampered not by the Sun, my camera or my photography skill (all three were a trifecta of failure this day), but here we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the artifacts.
The artifacts were basically relics of the Portuguese presence and Arab and ancient Chinese trade and such, some of which were washed ashore during the 2004 tsunami. Cannons, bowls, tobacco pipes, vases, statues, old fishing boats etc… The rest of the town had no photo restrictions.
It was really starting to get hot by the middle of the day, so we decided to call it quits for now. We can always visit here again since I’m not leaving for a bit longer. We went to the nearby Galle Fort Hotel for a bit of a breather… and some ice-cold drinks!