Winding Down in Sri Lanka

Trip Start Feb 08, 2010
1
11
Trip End Feb 22, 2010


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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Friday, February 19, 2010

Actually, We are back in the states - just arrived at 530 am on 2/22. I didn't have an internet connection the last couple of days in Sri Lanka and in Jordan, so I'm sending this from JFK Airport in NY. We had a great time - thanks for your comments and following along.

By the way, some of you have asked me to post pictures of all the family facing forward rather than taking shots from behind. Well the answer is that dear Shira doesn't want her picture posted on the internet. So, if you want a group Manski-Singer photo, send me an email at davidshirajoy@gmail.com and I'll send you one directly.

David
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Our last couple of days in Sri Lanka have been spent at two of the most sacred of the ancient sites in the country: Anuradhapura and Mihintale. The former was the greatest monastic city and capital in historic times (4th century BC to 11th century AD) in Sri Lanka. It was eventually abandoned and the jungle took over - evidently it wasn't until British archeologists rediscovered it in the 19th century. Ruins are still found everywhere (the area encompasses 16 sq miles) and restoration of many sites continues today.

Mihintale  is a mountain peak that is believed to be the meeting place of an Indian Buddhist monk and a Sri Lanka King during the 1st century BC which began Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is now an important pilgrimage site and active monastery.

Attached are some photos of some of these places. Also, I've posted a short video of driving through one of the small towns enroute to these sites. Its worth looking at to see the one-road town and all its traffic, people, and stores.

During these last couple of days in Sri Lanka, we stayed in an old Colonial (British) hotel that must have been quite something in its heyday. Large outdoor veranda, high ceilings, big rooms. And the food was probably the best Sri Lankan food we had the entire trip. The room didn't have air conditioning (actually, we only had this on one occasion), but we did have ceiling fans and mosquito nets - see attached photo.

We leave for Jordan tomorrow morning - we will be there for one night before flying home. We are planning to rent a car and drive to Petra - which is about 2.5 hours south of the Amman airport. It is interesting that we go from jungle to desert and explore ruins of another civilization from around the same time as we've been exploring Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka. The Nabataeans were great traders and built their capital in Petra. You probably know the site from the Indian Jones movie - one of the scenes features Jones entering this temple looking structure cut out of the sandstone mountain.
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