Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Explore Sri Lanka

I've been reading posts about trips to the Northern and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka over the last few weeks, seems that many a 1000's are traveling to areas that have been virtually out of bounds to an entire generation and I'm so wanting to join in!

My last trip to Batticaloa would have been about 9 - 10 yrs ago,  a drive I'm not likely to forget as I started the trip on a Thursday evening after work. Just getting out of Colombo was a nightmare, upto Kandy, on to Habarana and onwards. And I did this in a Toyota Cynos - the closest I've ever been to driving a 'sports' car! It was an eerie sensation I remember, driving along in darkness along roads not traveled upon before.

In 2003 I took the night mail to Vavuniya, and bussed it from that point onwards to Jaffna - that too was a surreal experience and one I am unlikely to forget in a hurry.

My only regret is that at the time I really didn't have a camera - I cant think why not, oh well; memories I do have.

So, lets see, what would my dream trip be...

A week on the road, driving up along the East Coast - from Arugam Bay up to Batticaloa, Pasi Kuda, on to Trincomalee, from there to Jaffna, Delft Islands (is that possible?) back down to Mannar and further along the  Western Coast, two weeks maybe?

A few years ago I took the coastal road upto Puttalam and on to Anuradhapura - that stretch of road was awful at the time and I berated myself for choosing to do so at the time - those pot holes!

This post is actually going no where, but I wanna go anyway

Monday, March 29, 2010


The end of a financial year is close upon me and looking back I got to say, I'm not too happy with the results - the impact of the global economic slow down cut into my performance by as much as 50% taking me back to trading levels of 2007/08.

Any improvement is slow in coming due to multiple factors - increase in material cost, a weakening Euro and a gaining US$, whatever anyone else says, I dont think we are clear yet; the fundamentals look wrong, no matter how much of a positive face the experts try to keep.

It was not really surprising then to read that  a leading Telecommunications provider in SL was cutting back due to the "economic crisis" - interestingly, most of the previous communique from this entity till I saw this article has generally been positive.....

Its 19:05, Monday evening and 35.5 degrees Celsius, warm eh? There were a couple of cool days, much appreciated, last week, but the temperature is back with a vengeance, sigh...

BTW, my ATM card, which worked so well over the last two years has stopped - Inability to access one's salary has its obvious advantages, but me starving to death  may make enjoying it later difficult.... the cloud in the silver lining eh?!

Take care all

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

To all those mean Moms

Including my own - thank you

Mean Moms                        
Someday when my children are old enough to
understand the logic that motivates a parent,
I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me: 
"I loved you enough to ask where you were going,
with whom, and what time you would be home. 

I loved you enough to be silent and let you
discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to stand over you for
two hours while you cleaned your room,
a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger,
disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children 
must learn that their parents aren't perfect.. 

I loved you enough to let you assume the
responsibility for your actions even when the
penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough to say 
NO when I knew you would hate me for it”

Those were the most difficult battles of all.

I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won, too. 
And someday when your children are old enough to
understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them. 
Was your Mom mean?   
I know mine was.
We had the meanest mother in the whole world!
While other kids ate candy for breakfast,
we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast.

When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch,
we had to eat sandwiches.

And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was 
different from what other kids had, too. 

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times.
You'd think we were convicts in a prison.

She had to know who our friends were
and what we were doing with them.
She insisted that if we said we
would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it,
but she had the nerve to break 
the Child Labor Laws by making us work.

We had to wash the dishes, make the beds,
 learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, 
empty the trash and all sorts of cruel

I think she would lie awake at night 
thinking of more things for us to do. 

She always insisted on us telling the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

By the time we were teenagers, 
she could read our minds 
and had eyes in the back of her head.
Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk
the horn when they drove up
They had to come up to the door
so she could meet them.


Because of our mother we missed out
on lots of things other kids experienced. 

None of us have ever 
been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's 
property or ever arrested for any crime..
It was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults.
We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today. 
It just doesn't have enough mean moms! 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A praying mantis, in Obama's footsteps and fantasy coffin's

I’ve been on the road for the last one week, traveling to Ghana and back. This is always a trip made with some sense of  trepidation given the distance, the very ‘enthusiastic’ cops one encounters on Ghana roads not to mention the driving conditions.

The road for the greater part of the 1000 odd kilometers is in good shape, interspaced at some points by road conditions that would challenge an Audi qQuarto on a rally drive; and then of course there are the huge container trucks and taxi drives to keep an eye open for.

The trip to Accra takes me two day’s – I  try to cover between 600 to 700 km on day one, Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city my target where I gratefully take a shower before dropping off to sleep. This time I was treated to a wonderful thunder storm and fell asleep to the sound of rain drumming on the tin roof a few feet above my head – the first rain I’ve seen in 5 months!

I had a little trip planned for the next day, instead of heading directly for Accra I was gonna make a detour to Kakum, a 300 sq km rainforest close to the coast which boasted a canopy walkway. Six suspension bridges 40m above the jungle floor, this walkway offered a bird’s eye view of the rain forest.

Kakum boasts a myriad of fauna – forest elephants, monkeys, 400 verities’ butterfly’s and at least one Praying Mantis! Sadly, except for the last I was not to see anything else.. I suspect that the canopy walkway is too close to human activity to have much of the forest creatures in the vicinity.


With time to spare the next stop was the Castle at Cape Coast – one of the largest slave trading  centers’ in West Africa. Converted into a castle in 1637 by the Dutch it was subsequently enlarged by the Swedes and then changing hands five times over a 13yr period until 1664 when it fell into the hands of the British. For the next 200yrs it was the headquarters of the colonial administration until Accra was declared the new capital in 1877.


The tour takes one from the bowels of the castles slave pens to the gate of no return and from there to the windowless double locked cell of the condemned where ‘reluctant’ slaves were starved to death as a lesson to others.

My next stop was a casket manufacturer a few km away from Accra. For over 50yrs now a group of specialized coffin makers have been turning out fantasy coffins in some amazing shapes and sizes too! An elaborate funeral is a status symbol with families spending more on one that they do on a wedding, and these 'fashion statements' for the afterlife one of the more obvious ways to do so. 

 The norm is that a fisherman choosing a boat or perhaps a fish, a truck driver a copy of the vehicle he drove in this life... lions, stools, crows, a coke bottle and while I visited even a cooking pot was in the making - the 'occupant' to be placed in a near fetal position apparently!

My  fav though had to be this old camera!

On the way back I came across the tallest termite mound yet - the black strip is 5'5" -so by my reckoning, this mound was a little over 12'

Till the next time folks.....