30.11.10

Heading To Dubai -

First of all...Happy birthday to my brother Harry for today...November 30. We will phone you when we get to Az...and my dear Christa...Happy Birthday December 1.... Who knows where we will be ..but we will be in touch.
Hoping to get some good photos in Dubai...just staying overnight then the long 15 hour flight to LAX..the on to PHX...then home..






29.11.10

Oma love... Day 30

This is our last day here in Sri Lanka and the house feels truly empty without Alexander..I sang a lot of songs to him and he really loved my singing as I sang with gusto..his favorite was....
" The ants go marching one by one"...he would laugh every time I sang it. Soon I will have another grandchild to sing to....the wait begins...Oma is Swiss for Grandmother.





Here is my sweet sister Caroline with her first grandchild..Gianna...she was born November 4th...she and Larry and Troy are totally smitten with her. Gianna lives with her Mom, and grandparents in Trail..














Last 2 days here - Day 29

Lonely Planet review for Beach Wadiya
Maybe it's the way the staff greets every arriving diner as if they were family. Or it might be because you feel equally welcome whether you're wearing a T-shirt or a tux. Whatever the appeal, come early to pick a table inside the weather-beaten beach shack or outside in the sand, order a chilled Three Coins beer while a waiter fills you in on the catch of the day, and receive your specially customised grilled or fried seafood platter. Princess Anne and Richard Branson were just a few of the celebraties that have enjoyed the seafood here.






Seeing that we were on our own and it is our last couple of days here..we wanted to go to this Cafe. We had heard about it from a Cathay Pacific pilot
who said it was a great place to see the local color. It has a great location, the seafood appy I had for lunch was good and it looks like the Baja to us...except....because of the long war..they don't have the same value system for their beaches or dogs as we do.....that is why you don't want to go on the beach.....one day this stretch of beach will be lovely..they are working on it...just have more important priorities now.





The humidity was very high again so walking in the afternoon is not an option for me..Jim could probably do it...but not me..we hired a 3 wheeler to drive us around and we saw some different sights..it was a good day..now we are back in the a/c house with a cold beer cooling down..it has been a great adventure and another cafe checked off our list.





You sit under these palapas in the shade and watch the ocean waiting for your fresh seafood to arrive.

28.11.10

Alexander as a Canuck

We bought Alexander this Vancouver Canuck Hockey Jersey ( thanks to Jeremy and Julie for driving me around Vancouver so we could find it in such a small size.)
He finally modeled it today......totally made Jim's day..not Laurie's who is a Calgary flames fan...but really...this was all about this Jimmy and Alexander moment...He shoots...he scores!














27.11.10

Pettah Market in Colombo - Day 28

The Pettah Market, this is the place to go for shopping for all kinds of things from fruits to clothes to electronics if you want to buy at wholesale prices. You have to bargain extensively and it is recommended that you take a local you trust along with you. Even if you don't buy anything, Pettah, or Colombo 11 is an experience in itself being a very typical, loud and crowded oriental market place full of all sorts of odds, ends and junk. Each street in the market has its own speciality, for example, in 1st Cross Street you can find electrical items, 2nd Cross Street has jewellery and so on. In the Pettah Market area, some street vendors actively ask passers-by, foreigners and locals to view products they are selling though polite refusal is generally accepted.


The colorful streets teaming with ordinary Sri Lankan people going about on their daily shopping at this bustling market place..it literally ties up many, many city blocks filled with so much merchandise.


They carry huge loads on their heads as well in 3 wheelers and hand carts..the traffic is crazy with all of the vehicles and people all claiming the same small space of road..but everyone gives way! The have an acceptance that is not often found in our part of the fast moving world.


There are mosque's right next to temples which are next to churches.
Tolerance for the many different religions is what makes this country so interesting. It is the accepted way to live.


Some of the detailed carving on some of the temples. As Shane drove us around this busy, interesting market...we were the only 3 white persons there. We where greeted with wide and welcoming smiles...they are a lovely people finally living in a peaceful country after facing 30 years of war.

Grandpa Jim and Alexander - Day 27

Jim has formed a wonderful bond with Alexander who smiles at the sound of his Grandpa's voice. Here he is doing a comb over for his favorite grandson.










Touching the same lucky statue where Alexander stayed before with his parents on a beach weekend away in Bentota.









I love this photo of the two of them at River House..Alexander loves my little wooden bracelet that I got with Jim and his mom and dad from a beach vendor at Isla del Pirata, Colombia 5 years ago. Who knew he would have so much enjoyment out of such a simple thing..






Here they are in color. Monday morning will be here soon and I know it will be a tearful goodbye the night before..they have to leave here very, very early on monday morning.













25.11.10

The Devastation of the Tsunami - Day 26

These photos still tell the effects and the aftermath of the Tsunami that hit Sri Lanka so hard in 2004..even after driving thru where so many people lost their lives (35,000 in Sri Lanka) there is still evidence to this disaster. These photos were taken yesterday on our way back from Galle to Colombo.

















This one is very blurry as they were taken out of the car window....in the foreground on the right hand side you can see a grave..there are so many of these along the side of the road where the victims are buried. They look like bombed out buildings...resembling a war zone.
On Monday, Shane, Laurie and Alexander leave for 2 weeks in Australia where Shane has work to do...we are taking a day trip on the train from Colombo south along the coast to Galle and back..we drove thru Galle but never had a chance to see this impressive Dutch Fort..it withstood the tsunami and very little damage was done to the inside of the town.

The River and Alexander - Day 25


We had a river boat ride this morning before heading back to Colombo..we bought this life jacket for Alexander from Mountain Baby in Nelson, B.C. (www.mountainbaby.com)
He was what Shane would call a bit windjee..(Aussie for a bit cranky). He wasn't sure about wearing it at first but you would never know it by his sweet smile.... He did have a good look around and we were lucky enough to see quite a few birds as well as the Monitor Lizard below.







Enjoy a scenic cruise along the Madhu River, a relaxing trip with plenty of interesting stops. You pass dozens of islets forested with mangroves and can appreciate the timeless natural rhythms of rural life. You cruise in a canopied, outboard motor powered boat; pausing to view a 200-year-old temple & to watch the locals cultivating cinnamon. You may also see traditional fishing techniques in action & can view demonstrations of coir manufacture and rope making. Bring your binoculars along if you can, as around 46 species of bird reside in the area, including 14 aquatic varieties. You can also spot huge water lilies & colourful butterflies.






Water Monitor Lizards are highly mobile. They swim well (keeping their limbs to the side of the body, and propelling themselves through sinuous undulations of the flattened tail). They have even been seen swimming far out at sea. They can remain underwater for up to an hour.










The boats are quite colourful..the river provides many sources of food..
(prawns..crabs..fish)....transportation.... as well as tourists wanting to see the waterways..it was very interesting way to spend an hour on the water.

























The River House - Day 24

The River House
Balapitiya, Bentota, Sri Lanka

A luxurious addition to Sri Lanka's hotel scene: an exclusive riverside hotel set in 7 acres of tropical gardens, with access to a near-private beach

Sri Lankan fashion designer Taru certainly had a knack for choosing the best waterside location when she created The River House. Set on the banks of the broad Madhu Ganga river, this slick and stylish hotel lies amidst 7 acres of tropical gardens, which are alive with colourful birds and chattering monkeys. With beautiful views and space to breathe, it's stunningly secluded.

The 5 huge suites are uber-generous and mix contemporary style with Sri Lankan touches. Forget shabby-chic, this is grown-up design on a grand scale; you'll find individual slate plunge pools, vaulted ceilings, enormous bathrooms with polished concrete floors and kingsize beds covered with intricate Indian bedspreads. This is more like a luxury private villa than a hotel, and it's as peaceful as it gets.












It was a great place to stay..it started raining.....it just poured.....the heavens opened up and we can never remember a time when the thunder and lightening were so close.. The staff prepared such a wonderful evening meal..we shared some drinks, some wine and continued to watch as the rain just kept falling..it never spoilt the atmosphere at all in fact I am sure it added to the river theme.





The gardens where filled with these stone pots and it drew your eye from one path to another one on the grounds. The flowers were bright and colorful. It was a charming place to stay.







23.11.10

Morning, Noon and Night - Day 23


First of all...Happy Birthday to my sister Evelyne..my good friend Shannon and our friend Leighton...all celebrating the same birthday today!

We had a wonderful day just hanging around the pool, walking the beach, playing with Alexander and having a glass of wine while we were watching the sunset..it was a lovely, relaxing way to spend the day.



























Tomorrow we are off to our final resort on our adventure..it sounds as wonderful and different as this one was.






22.11.10

The Far Pavillions @ERA Beach -Day 22











With a tasteful mix of traditional and modern Asian features, ERA offers an exceptionally comfortable and relaxing retreat. The garden pool provides a focal point of views out to the Ocean. The grounds and its beauty provide the ideal location for sipping your sundowners and watching the most amazing sunsets one could ever imagine.

The hotel boasts both a fabulous restaurant and relaxing bar area. Additionally, dinner can be served down by the beach itself.

Choose a book from the well stocked library, use the free Wifi service to send your holiday snaps or email your friends on the guest computer.

BEDROOMS
Each of the eight bedrooms has been tastefully and lovingly designed by the owners and all are en-suite with stunning bathrooms. Two bedrooms are located on the ground floor with their own private outdoor courtyard and stunning water feature. There are two further bedrooms available on the ground floor, both offering easy access for those with mobility difficulties. The other four bedrooms are located on the first floor with amazing views over the garden to the Indian Ocean. You can enjoy a romantic meal on your own veranda or sip a cocktail while the sun goes down.








View from our upper floor balcony just outside our dream bedroom.






Jim said to me this morning as our tea and coffee was brought up to us...
" This is one of those moments we will remember forever." I agree!
The scenery and breaking waves are stunning. Our dinner last night was exceptional..fresh fish for me and omg!!! Sri Lankan curry for Jim..I am so proud of him!


On the Road to Uda Walawe National Park..- Day 20/21

UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK is located approximately 200 km south-east of Colombo city and is a major eco tourism destination in Sri Lanka . The 30,821 hectares dry zone game park has an annual rainfall of 1524 mm and an average temperature of 29.4°C.

It is most famous for the many elephants that live there (about 600 in total). During a visit, it is not unusual to see whole herds of adults and young elephants– feeding or bathing and playing in the water! In addition to this main attraction, the park is home to many water buffalo, water monitor lizards, sambar deer, monkeys and the occasional leopard, as well as being an exciting location for bird enthusiasts.

A 4WD open-top safari is the only way to see all the wonders that this protected reserve has to offer and our experienced and knowledgeable nature guides will make this an unforgettable experience.

We had a great guide and saw over 50 elephants, water buffalo's ( seen behind us) spotted deer, wild buffalo, crest red-headed hawks, eagles..and a ton of peacocks and colorful birds..was a great morning...













Kalu's Hide Away Resort in the National Park.
A unique feature in the New Chalet is experiencing the outdoor sleeping facility, a true jungle experience. The upper deck suite is an ideal platform for honeymoon couples or those who wish to have complete privacy. We enjoyed the suites on the main level and the swimming pool.







The family in the pool ...Little A loves the water and is learning to kick like crazy.






"Glad the Elephants didn't eat you, Oma."








20.11.10

Barefoot Cafe...lunch and shopping - Day 19

From outside the black and white ‘Barefoot’ logo against the white building with colourful store windows say little to the outside world. One must drive down the lay-by and park in the parking lot at the back. The first surprise is immediate as soon as you walk in through the arched entrance into Barefoot’s garden and café. You leave behind Colombo’s hustle and bustle, hot sun and humidity. A sense of calm and tranquillity awaits you.

The café experience is usually to be savoured unhurriedly after a walk-about inside the Barefoot shop. In the shop awaits a colourful selection of Sri Lankan hand-woven cloth. Sarongs and shirts for men and women, curtain material, table clothes, handicrafts, antiques of every nature, trinkets and presents for friends abroad. A bookshop that boasts of every Sri Lankan author and every type of book on Sri Lanka.




A few hand crafted Sri Lankan gifts from Barefoot...the recipients will remain
nameless for now....it was a great lunch and a lovely shoppe...will go back again before we leave.

19.11.10

It's all about Alexander! - Day 19

First of all...congratulations to our niece Kari...93% overall on her Journeyman Electrician 3rd year final exam..well done, Kari! We are so proud of you!





Jim, Alexander and Shane enjoying a moment together waiting for lunch..little A. is the happiest baby you could imagine...






Listening to Leonard Cohen with Oma....he was quite intrigued.





The family snapshot at a tea factory stop on the way back...

Today we are headed to the Barefoot Cafe for lunch..they have a great selection of authentic Sri Lankan handcrafts..then out for dinner to The Gallery Cafe..one of the best in Sri Lanka..the food here in SL is really good.
On the road for another 4 day adventure down to west coast tomorrow...we are hoping to see wild elephants..can't wait to share those photos I will take with those of you who read my blog....oxo

18.11.10

Photos from the Tea Country - Day 18 con't

There are all kinds of ways to get to work...this is one of them..it was amazing that we didn't see accidents along the way when you consider the traffic and third world country roads.








Bright and colorful stores..smiling people..they don't have much by our standards, but in this mild climate they are able to grow much of their own food.









The gardens..they are beautiful and well kept..even the children did field duty.



















These fields blend in seamlessly with the tea crops..it was a wonderful sight to see. As more tourists come to Sri Lanka and see it's beauty, I hope the working class people will be able to reap some of the economic benefits. It is rough traveling thru the congested streets and pot-holed roads..but the people and the scenery make a long lasting impression.


Traveling in the Tea Country - Day 18

The tea pickers coming in to weigh their tea leaves....these women were at 6500' walking up and down these steep hills.




Heavy mist in the late afternoon shrouded these women as they made their journey from the hilltops to the weigh in stations.




Sacred cows....Scared cows...used only to give milk...they usually are tethered on the side of the road..but these got loose somehow. Shane read my blog and asked me if I meant to say scared cows or sacred cows..he said either would work...thanks Shane..I do turn things around a bit...mix it up so to speak!




Most of these photos were taken out of the car window while we were traveling back to Colombo yesterday.