Monday, May 31, 2010

Nuwara Eliya Trip

Pictures of our visit to Nuwara Eliya also known as Little England also pictures of our ride down the mountain and towards Kandy. I thought it was pretty neat driving through the clouds and tried to capture a few pictures of that. I will post the Nuwara Eliya story next.

Our Hotel - St. Andrews Jet Wing
Bed time chocolates

Saturday, May 29, 2010

They're Called Marines

Stumbled on this video on YouTube, just wanted to share it:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Three Weeks To Say Goodbye by C.J. Box
Paperback 368 pages
Crime Thriller

The author invites us into the home of a young couple with an adopted baby daughter. Out of nowhere the biological teenage father of the baby wants her back. What ensues is a whirlwind of crime and hidden family secrets.

I read it in a few days. I say it's a good read.

Book Corner - Finished Reading

No Other Option by Marcus Wynne
Paperback 319 pages
Clandestine Thriller

The main character in this book is a Special Forces soldier gone bad and his former colleagues are hunting him down. All the while he is off on a killing spree across the Mid-West.

Asides from all of the gratuitous murders, it wasn't a bad book.
I say it was a good read.

St. Calir's Water Fall, Sri Lanka

One of several water falls that we saw on our trip

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Doc and Corey's Big Adventure - Part I

This past weekend my son Corey and I went on a guided tour into the high mountainous region of Sri Lanka. The driver picked us up in a nice Peugeot 405 and we were on our way.

The traffic getting out Colombo was pretty bad. We headed south then east.

The concrete jungle soon disappeared into lush tropical forests and small towns and beautiful mountains.

Our first stop, white water rafting. The driver parked the car at a small hotel and said he would wait for us there and he pointed to a waiting trishaw that took us up the hill. I had my first chance to look down and see the river and rapids, and looked exciting already.

A Sri Lankan kid was pumping up a rubber raft while another one led us to do the gratuitous waiver signing and put on life jackets and helmet.

They attached the rubber raft to an overhead rope and the boat slid down the hill to the river, pretty smart! Us on the other hand had to walk down a precarious concrete steps of various sizes that went down the hill, this was way more dangerous than the white water rafting!

Our guide explained to us the two commands "Hold the rope" (Around the raft) and "Fall in the boat", somehow I thought the "Fall in the boat" command would be a after the fact.

We launched the boat, us and three guides. I was surprised at how fast the river current was. We soon approached our first rapids. My eyes were probably as big as saucers as we approached. Turns out it wasn't so bad, wasn't bad at all and it was really fun!

At one point the guide asked us if we had ever heard of the movie "Bridge Over The River Kwai", well I had, not my son. The guide said that this is where the bridge was blown up. There is nothing left but a rusty eye bolt stuck in a rock, but interesting to know that there are real train cars 50 feet down at the bottom of the river.

We went through some more rapids and we reached a point where one of the guides encouraged us to jump out and float on our backs, initially I thought, why would I want to do that! The guide did, so I jumped in. It was so cool! The current just pushed you along, no problem. We approached a small rapid and we went through it, very cool! It was almost as fun as being in the boat!

We eventually came to the end of our journey where they showed us where we could get cleaned up and change. I tipped our guides and thanked them. Our driver then took us inside the hotel for a hot cup of tea which really hit the spot.

We then departed for our hotel which was across the road, per se, also 6 kilometers up a mountain on winding, twisting very poor condition dirt roads. This seemed to go on forever!
We eventually made it to our hotel (Video and short story I already posted).

Next, the trip through the tea plantations and our stay in Nuwara Eliya, also known as "Little England"

Whats with the picture? The red dot is my helmet and you can make the black dot which is the guide as float through the rapids on our backs (Wearing life preservers).
The other picture is of me showing approval of the human rafting experience.
Pictures of our guides and me and my son.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Big Adventure Update

I promise to post all the stories I can recollect about me and my sons adventure into the interior of Sri Lanka (I still haven't looked at a map to see where we went).

Right now my back is killing me and I have to go to work very early in the AM. The muscle relaxer is making me drowsy and I am going to read a book to put me to sleepy time.

Riding the Rails

Like father, like son. My son on the train to Kandy and me on an earlier trip to Hikkaduwa.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Royal River Hotel

This is the first hotel Corey and I stayed at during our trip into the interior of Sri Lanka. After we white water rafted our driver took us on what seemed to be a very long trip up to the top of a mountain, it was actually only 6 kilometers (Little over 3 miles) but the road was in such bad condition and very tight hairpin curves.

The roar from the river was so loud, yet soothing. We left the door to the balcony open for both the cool breeze and to listen to the river.

Here is a video I shot from outside of the room taking in a view of the jungle, a quick look at the room then outside to the balcony.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Raining Everyday

The rain has been incredible. Everyday, non-stop torrential downpours. So I found out that we have been getting the outer bands of Cyclone Laila that is heading towards India on the East coast. this has not been monsoon rains, the monsoon rains are coming!

I have seen quite a bit of damage caused by the rains, trees falling, a brick wall that fell down but the worst part is the flooding.

Our housekeeper tells us that she walks in knee deep water to get to our apartment and that her home has been flooded every night. We offered her our guest bedroom but she wouldn't accept, we offered her additional money to take a trishaw to work, she wouldn't accept it. She said that we give her so much already.

I took a train trip with my son to Kandy (In the interior of the country). We rode by many neighborhoods of what basically nothing but shacks constructed of whatever material is available. Well these entire neighborhoods were flooded. Mind you these homes do not have running water and they don't even have outhouses as we think of them but sewage pits. Add the floods to these conditions and it's ripe for diseases. The government said that it is releasing additional money to take of the flood victims, I hope it reaches out to everyone in need.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pictures of Todays Big Adventure With My Son

My son arrived after two long days of traveling from the west coast of the U.S.A. to here via London. As expected he chatted it up with a Sri Lankan girl he met at Heathrow, somehow I knew that and they were seat mates as well. He managed to stay up all morning long, go to the gym, eat a hearty breakfast and ready to see the town.

We geared up for a walking tour and he got his first taste of a typical scam artist not but two blocks from the apartment. I say scam artist but he did tell us we couldn't walk any further and that the road was closed, I knew he was lying which made me mad, he segued into the "gem store sale" which I saw coming a mile away, starting with when I saw him run across the street to talk to us. I told him we lived here, he didn't say another word and walked across the street again.

We first visited the Hindu temple. I had never been inside before. Was kind of what I expected. There was a wedding going on, very ornate apparel worn by the bride and groom, no one was taking photos so we didn't either.

Got hassled by a guy trying to sell me stamps on the way out as Corey was hurriedly trying to put on his shoes so we could get out of there.

Stopped at a coconut stand and he had his fist coconut and enjoyed it.

We then continued on our walking journey to the Buddhist temple. There are a few here in Colombo and honestly I don't know the name of it, but it's the one with the elephant.

We walked around and looked at the old car collection. I don't know what the story is behind the old cars. I read on the Internet that the senior monk there likes to collect them, I don't know is that's it or people donate them.

We grabbed a trishaw and went to the national museum. It was a little boring, just a bunch of old stuff. The best part was the last king of Sri Lanka's throne, that the Brit's confiscated after they took power and sent to England and then one of the kings sent it back I think in 1936.

We returned to the apartment and put on swim wear and went to our my favorite pool, Corey liked it too.

I saw dark clouds coming and it started raining, then it started pouring, the rain came down in sheets but we kept on playing in the pool. We got out when we heard thunder.

Came back to the apartment for a pretty good lightning show and a rouring wedding reception at Raja Bajun (Ground floor curry buffet restaurant here at the apartments).

After Corey cleaned up he laid down on the couch and it was lights out.

Here are some pictures in no particular order: