I really admire Colombo. He’s so resourceful. And I love his ‘…just one more thing‘ shtick.
Oh, wait. That’s Columbo.
Close to Polonnaruwa, we stop to have a look at some prehistoric tombs.
Our destination is Ridi Viharaya. This is off the beaten track, so we pass through lonely coconut plantations and green hills.
The cave temples at Ridi Viharaya have Buddhas of different shapes and sizes.
We are the only visitors. It’s very peaceful.
The doors have very elaborately-worked handles.
Overnight is spent in Kurunegala. We stay at the colonial-era Hotel Viveka,
Preparing to leave the next day. In the middle is Viraj, our driver. (And all-round bodyguard.)
At the Millennium Elephant Foundation, we see elephants in the river being scrubbed with a coconut husk.
Some elephants get a treat, like this squash.
At last, we’re in Colombo, staying in the area of Galle Road.
Back in the neighbourhood of Colombo Fort Station, where our journey began.
The hubbub of Colombo makes a great change from the quieter parts of the island.
The port of Colombo is undergoing modernization by the Chinese.
Before returning to the hotel, we watch the sun go down in the Arabian Sea…
…just as a train passes on the tracks that hug the shoreline.
Next day, we visit the National Museum. It’s well-preserved, with well-curated exhibits. Nice grounds, too.
It’s interesting to see displays about many of the places we’ve seen here.
You know the giant stupas we describe from time to time? This is what’s buried in the centre – a modest teacup-sized reliquary and a few tutelary figurines.
In the afternoon, we go to the elegant Galle Face Hotel to enjoy a drink in front of the ocean. Also to celebrate early for Judith’s upcoming birthday, since we are going to miss it.
And lastly, to celebrate the end of our journey as a quartet: Judith flies home in the wee hours of the morning. She must return to w&#k. We Shanghai Pete for a further few weeks.
Sight or Insight of the Day
We track down the house of Arthur C. Clarke.
This takes a bit of detective work, as it’s not officially open to the public. Once we make our way there, however, the caretakers are amenable to letting us have a look around.
Clarke lived in Sri Lanka from 1956 until his death in 2008. Even though he passed away over 10 years ago, the house looks as if he just stepped out for a minute.
It’s full of awards and memorabilia, as well as signed photos given by everyone from Tom Hanks to Buzz Aldrin.
This looks like a very Clarkian invention – a solar-powered pith helmet.
There’s something about visiting the homes of artists – fascinating to see where the magic happens.
Arthur C. Clarke in February 1965, on one of the sets of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
See you in another life, Arthur.