Colombo

Trip Start Jun 07, 2008
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Trip End Apr 05, 2009


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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

EN:
Sri Lanka is a trully fascinating place offering a near unique combination of tropical sunshine and superb beaches, amazing nature and wildlife, and a fascinating and colourful culture epitomized by the relics of ancient vanished empires. All of this concentrated within one tiny package, roughly the size of Portugal or the Czech Republic, making it easy to experience the best of Sri Lanka within a relatively short time. Two weeks is enough to do a lot and from what we have seen so far, we can definitely recommend a visit to Sri Lanka.


The majority of the population is Buddhist (72%) and the second biggest ethnical group are the Tamil (20%). Violence between these groups erupted in the 80s, which led to a long civil war and series of terrorist attacks throughout the country. Since 2000 there is a ceasefire which is still holding, but tensions are still high and some areas in the north are still controlled by the Tamil Tigers. Because of this, security is really tight and the army is everywhere, the centre and south of the country are pretty safe, but we still found security checks and were searched several times a day.

During the 16th and 17th centuries the Portuguese controlled the coast and trade in Sri Lanka, as a result of that period a lot of people still have Portuguese surnames today, we met a lot of Silvas and other Portuguese names around here. People seem happy and are generally nice and always try to help you. We met a few touts, but nothing comparing to India.

As an entry point to Sri Lanka Colombo was a bit disappointing, mainly because security is very tight and access to some of the most interesting parts of town, like the Fort area, is restricted. We kept on bumping into army baricades and being sent off in some different direction, so we didn't stay long, on our 2nd day we took a train to Kandy. We still managed to walk a lot in Colombo and visit a few sites, like the Vihramahadevi park, Town Hall, Galle Face area, the Cargill's department store and a couple of Buddhist and Hindu temples.


PT:
O Sri Lanka e um sitio realmente fascinante, que oferece uma rara conbinacao de praias tropicais, natureza e vida selvagem, uma fascinante e colorida cultura, e ruinas de antigos imperios desaparecidos. Tudo isto concentrado numa area mais ou menos do tamanho de Portugal, o que permite ver muito do melhor do Sri Lanka num periodo de tempo relativamente curto. Duas semanas sao suficientes para visitar uma boa parte do pais, e pelo que vimos ate agora podemos sem duvida recomendar uma visita.


A maioria da populacao (72%) e Budista, e o segundo grupo etnico sao os Tamil (20%). Nos anos 80 conflitos entre estes dois grupos culminaram numa longa guerra civil e numa serie de atentados terroristas por todo o pais. Desde 2000 ha um cessar fogo que ainda dura, mas ainda ha muita tensao e algumas areas no norte ainda estao sob controlo dos Tigres Tamil. Devido a isto, a seguranca e bastante alta e ha tropas por todo o lado, o centro e sul do pais e bastante seguro mas, quando em viagem, ainda encontramos postos de controlo por todo o lado e somos controlados e revistados varias vezes ao dia.

Durante os seculos XVI e XVII os Portugueses controlaram a costa e o comercio no Sri Lanka, e deixaram a sua marca... ainda hoje muitas pessoas tem apelidos Portugueses, encontramos aqui muitos Silvas, entre outros. Em geral, as pessoas sao amigaveis e sempre prontas a ajudar sem esperar nada em troca, ao contrario do que vimos na India.

Como Ponto de entrada para o Sri Lanka, Colombo foi um bocado decepcionante, principalmente porque a seguranca e bastante elevada e o acesso a algumas das areas mais interessantes da cidade e restrito. Por isso nao ficamos muito tempo, no 2o dia apanhamos o comboio para Kandy. Ainda assim conseguimos caminhar bastante em Colombo e ver alguns sitios, como o Parque Vihramahadevi, a Camara Municipal, Galle Face, os armazens Cargill, e alguns templos Budistas e Hindus.


CZ:
Sri Lanka je idealni misto na 2-3 tydenni dovolenou. Jsou tu krasne plaze, teple more, i kdyz nekdy trochu divoke, hory plne zelene a cajovych plantazi, spousta pamatek a narodnich parku, a to vsechno na pomerne male plose, takze se to da vsechno rychle stihnout. Lide jsou tu mili a vstricni a docela dobre tu vari, ale clovek si musi zvyknout na hodne paliva jidla.


Vetsina obyvatel jsou buddhiste (72%) a nejvetsi nabozenskou mensinou jsou tamilove (20%). Od 80. let se tyhle dve skupiny hasteri v obcanske valce, ktera uz si vyzadala tisice zivotu a jeste vice lidi prislo o strechu nad hlavou. Od roku 2000 tu panuje primeri, ale v roce 2004 se napeti ponekud prohloubilo vinou tsunami, ktera postihla cele vychodni a jizni pobrezi. Zapad a jih ostrova jsou pomerne bezpecne (krome Colomba), ale vsudypritomna armada vsechny neustale kontroluje, hlavne na silnicich a v dopravnich prostredcich. Nektere oblasti na severu ostrova jsou stale jeste pod kontrolou "Tamliskych Tygru" usilujicich o nezavislost na Sri Lance, ale jejich moc postupne slabne diky temer nulove podpore civilistu.

Na ostrove se postupne v minulosti vystridali Portugalci, Francouzi, Holandane i Britove. Vysledkem je mnoho potrugalskych prijmeni a take fakt, ze valna vetsina obyvatel mluvi docela obstojne anglicky, coz nam dost usnadnuje zivot. Lide jsou tu povetsinou zdvorili, narazili jsme na nekolik otravnych prodejcu vseho mozneho, hlavne v nejturistictejsich oblastech, ale s Indii se to naprosto neda srovnavat, Indove jsou jina liga. :-) Vetsina Cejlonanu jsou veseli a pohostinni lide a Sri Lanka rozhodne stoji za navstevu.

Colombo jako mesto nas ponekud zklamalo, hlavne proto, ze valna cast centra je z bezpecnostnich duvodu uzavrena armadou, a nejzajimavejsi casti (jako Fort) jsou zabarikadovane a nikdo tam nesmi. Hned druhy den jsme vyrazili do Kandy v horach, ale i pres to jsme v Colombu navstivili nekolik zajimavych mist, jako park Vihramahadevi, radnici, oblast Gale Face, Cargill's department (obchod, ktery se snad od dob britske kolonie vubec nezmenil) a nekolik budhistickych a hinduistickych chramu.
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