Galle, an expat favorite

Trip Start Nov 08, 2012
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13
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Trip End Dec 10, 2012


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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Carmen and I are moving on to our last destination, Galle. We were met last night by Rothita, from Gemini Tours, who was our driver for the first three days in Sri Lanka. It's a long drive down the mountains, around Columbo and to Galle so it was nice to be with our friend and driver.  As a stop Rothita treated us to tea at his home in a suburb of Columbo. His wife and two sons and mother greeted us and we had a very sweet break in our long day of driving. It's the warm and personal experiences like this that I will always remember.

Galle is in the southwest coast that was hard hit by the tsunami. I cannot look at the ocean here and not be reminded of the horrible scenes on the nightly news in 2006. There was one report about 1000 people dying on a train as it ran along the ocean - that supposedly was near here. Obviously, I don't know what Galle looked like before, but I don't see very much damage remaining and they say that new construction is of better planning and quality in New Galle (not the old Galle Fort which sits much higher on a promontory) and the surrounding beach areas. We noticed painted signs on some of the fishing boats that said they were donated by various organizations. The one I read was from a Lions Club in Berlin Germany, but there were many others; Sinhalese say that almost the whole world showed up to help including, of course, America.

Galle has a natural harbor and has been a trading center for centuries. The Dutch built a fort here in 1663. It looks like a medieval town with narrow passageways and streets, slowly decaying buildings, ramparts, and all the stuff a fort would have in-the-day are included in a cool dusty museum. There's a Dutch Reform Church, a mosque, a Hindu temple and a dagoba, a Buddhist place of worship and probably others we did not notice. The fort is prospering with lots of small hotels, and a couple of lovely colonial hotels. Thankfully, Galle is a UNESCO site so it should retain it's charm and the crumbling parts will be appropriately restored. I love the little boutiques, cafes, and artsy charm of the place. Guess there are many ex-pats who have decided to be a part of this mini community. Carmen and I have combed every street and taken a hundred photos, we love it!

 ASIDE - China is a huge influence here. Carmen and I rode down here to Galle on a new superhighway that the Chinese built (part or all, I do not know). They also built a hospital in Kandy and assisted with restoration projects in the Cultural Triangle. I'm not sure many Americans realize the power of China in the world today.
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Comments

Judy Haroldson on

Sounds good - the repair and restoration. Looks lovely and we are glad you are enjoying it. More than miss you here as it's been snowing about 24 hours straight - over nine inches and still snowing.

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