Beautiful Eye

A Memoir for the Young Adult Reader

Live on Korean Radio

I will be live on Korean radio on March 27 from 11:30am to 12pm Korea time to talk about my travels around the world as well as my first book Beautiful Eye. Please download the software at TBS eFM to listen in live from anywhere in the world! I look forward to your comments below.

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My Favorite High School Hangout: Back 20 Years Later

The Colombo Swimming Club was not only my favorite hangout, but was the hangout of many of my friends.  Every Friday afternoon at my school we would gather around and ask each other “where to tonight”?  It was always the same answer.  The Colombo Swimming Club of course.   The Colombo Swimming Club was our place to relax and get away from the parents.  We could drink a coke by the swimming pool and get burned in the sun.  Occasionally we would use the library but it was usually a hideaway for meeting that boy or girl.  The famous snooker table is still here where the “elders” would constantly get in trouble for smoking over the table.  It was so dark in here that you could sneak in a few kisses with that boy or girl. In the outdoor dinning area our favorite food was chips (french fries) with salt and vinegar.  We constantly had to swat the crows to keep them from eating our food.  Those were the days. DSC_0783 DSC_0779 DSC_0778 DSC_0773

Outdoor Dinning Area

Outdoor Dinning Area

The Main Building The Main Building

The Snooker Table

The Snooker Table

Stairway to the Guestrooms

Stairway to the Guestrooms

The Dinning Area

The Dinning Area

Entrance to the Club

Entrance to the Club

DSC_0761 DSC_0500

New Badminton Court

New Badminton Court

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Merging Blogs

Some of my posts on this blog will soon be moved to Doria TravelsDoria Travels will be my blog where I will be giving you first hand experience from all of my travels from around the world.  Beautiful Eye will be just snippets of the book that will be published.  Please follow Doria Travels for the latest and greatest tips on different countries.

 

 

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The Pagoda Tea Room: Site of the 1983 Duran Duran Music Video

Sri Lanka - 012 - Market street around Fort St...

Sri Lanka – 012 – Market street around Fort Stn & Harbour (Photo credit: mckaysavage)

The Jami-ul-Alfar Mosque in Pettah, built in 1...

Right now we are having tea in a building that was built in 1884.  The Pagoda Tea Room is located in the Pettah area (old Colombo).  Not much goes on here now but the tea is cheap (Rs 60.00 a cup) or US$0.46.  In 1983, Duran Duran filmed their music video “Hungry Like a Wolf” here. 

Pagoda Tea Rooms

Pagoda Tea Rooms (Photo credit: DennisSylvesterHurd)

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Hikkaduwa to Colombo: A Scenic Drive

Fishing craft on the Galle road

Fishing craft on the Galle road (Photo credit: oldandsolo)

English: Colombo street scene in early 20th ce...

English: Colombo street scene in early 20th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning we left for Colombo via car and driver.  The cost was US$45 which I though was quite high but there was no easier way.  We have 2 very heavy backpacking backpacks and some hand carry luggage as well.  Hikkaduwa is not on the express train route nor near the highway ramp.  We are driving north on Galle Road so you can still capture in the rays of the sun coming off the Indian Ocean.  You also get to dodge the cattle and tuk tuk drivers as well.  This is also the longest route at 2 hours.

I am very much looking forward to being back in Colombo to meet more members of my 1993 graduating class.  This is also an opportunity for me to talk to bookstores about selling my book.  I also have an appointment with a literature translator who is interested in translating my book to Sinhala and an editor-in-chief who wants to offer me my own column.  Welcome back to Colombo!

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Galle Fort: A Walking Tour

English: Amangalla, Fort Galle, Sri Lanka

English: Amangalla, Fort Galle, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: building under repair in Galle fort i...

English: building under repair in Galle fort in Sri Lanka Photograph taken summer — autumn 2003 by Joedjemal Refer — http://www.GalleZone.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fort of Galle in southern Sri Lanka, first...

The fort of Galle in southern Sri Lanka, first a Portuguese, then a Dutch stronghold (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Large church, Galle fort in Sri Lanka...

English: Large church, Galle fort in Sri Lanka Photograph taken summer — autumn 2003 by Joedjemal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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My Lunch of Jumbo Prawns

Today we came back to Galle Fort to look around at the old architecture.  The first stop was the library built in 1832.  We decided to ask to have a look at their oldest book.  A memoir written in 1803 by a British author was presented to us.  The binding was redone but the pages were original.  I was lucky enough to hold this book in my hands.  The next stop was the old post office that still stands today dating back to 1872.  It is still fully operational.  As you walk around towards the clock tower, you can see the Tsunami 2004 damage.  There is still a lot of construction going on here.  For lunch, we headed back to the Rampart Hotel and decided to try the jumbo prawns in garlic sauce.  Believe it or not, but they were even better than the seafood platter.

 

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Hikkaduwa

 

English: Fishing boats near the Hikkaduwa beach.

English: Fishing boats near the Hikkaduwa beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Recovery and reconstruction efforts following ...

Recovery and reconstruction efforts following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, western coast of Thailand (Photo credit: ILO in Asia and the Pacific)

 

English: Hikkaduwa beach by sunset.

English: Hikkaduwa beach by sunset. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

English: Hikkaduwa beach.

English: Hikkaduwa beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Construction of house after December 2004 Tsun...

Construction of house after December 2004 Tsunami in Matara District of Sri Lanka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

USGS graphics showing the two wave forms of th...

USGS graphics showing the two wave forms of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Countries most affected by the tsunami, with t...

Countries most affected by the tsunami, with the earthquake’s epicenter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It is very hard to get a good Internet signal in this area.  Best to walk around and keep trying.  This beach area was first popular with the hippies of 1970s is one of Sri Lanka’s best deals to stay at right on the beach.  In fact most of these beach front properties are US$60 or under a night.  If you want AC and hot water, expect to pay another US$10 a night.  You really don’t need hot water and most of the AC units here are quite old.  I say save your money and go primitive.

 

This area was badly damaged by the Tsunami of 2004 and you can still see its impact.  When I was living here 20 years ago, these guest houses had quite a bit of beach front property back in the day, the ocean had less of a current, and the fishermen were bringing in a lot more fish.  Sad to see this morning that one of the fishing boats did not bring in any.  Surfing is still popular in this area though.

 

Today, I am determined to find the site of my 10th grade Geography field trip here but so much has changed.  Wish me luck.

 

Animation of 2004 Indonesia tsunami

Animation of 2004 Indonesia tsunami (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

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Lunch at Galle Fort

English: Ancient canon mount in Galle fort, Sr...

English: Ancient canon mount in Galle fort, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fort of Galle in southern Sri Lanka, first...

The fort of Galle in southern Sri Lanka, first a Portuguese, then a Dutch stronghold (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: One of the gates, Galle fort in Sri L...

English: One of the gates, Galle fort in Sri Lanka Photograph taken summer — autumn 2003 by Joedjemal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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My Seafood Platter

Sorry for not keeping you updated on my travels, but I have been either too exhausted or have not had an Internet connection.  I have been riding elephants, dodging iguana’s on roads, going on tours of colonial hotels from the 1800′s, and leopard watching.  More details on these adventures coming up soon.

Right now I am blogging from the Rampart Hotel right inside the Galle Fort.  Galle Fort was built by the Portuguese in 1588.  The Rampart Hotel is a colonial hotel which has the best seafood in the area.  I highly recommend the seafood platter.

English: Galle fort

English: Galle fort (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Day 5 and 6: Train to Kandy

English: Main Street in the Fort with the Ghaf...

English: Main Street in the Fort with the Ghaffoor Building in the background, Colombo, Sri Lanka Français : Rue principale dans le quartier du Fort avec le Ghaffoor Building en arrière-plan, Colombo, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The wonderfully painted Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque (...

The wonderfully painted Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque (Pettah Mosque) in the Pettah harbour area near the Fort Station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On day 5 I was not blogging from the beach, but from Odel which is Sri Lanka’s first department store.  This store has grown so much in the last 20 years.  They sell clothes, tea, gifts, candy, and handicrafts.

Today (day 6), I am blogging from a moving train to Kandy.  The scenery up to the hill country  is breathtaking.  You can book a 1st class ticket at tourist information at the Fort Railway Station.

The Jami-ul-Alfar Mosque in Pettah, built in 1...

The Jami-ul-Alfar Mosque in Pettah, built in 1909, is one of the oldest mosques in Colombo. Created by me (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Taqiyah (or kufi caps) in Pettah mark...

English: Taqiyah (or kufi caps) in Pettah market, Colombo, Sri Lanka Français : Taqiyah au marché de Pettah, Colombo, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Afternoon Tea at the Mount Lavinia Hotel

mount_lavinia_hotel_sunset

mount_lavinia_hotel_sunset (Photo credit: Chonil Weerawansa)

22x20px|border Sri Lanka, Mount Lavinia Hotel ...

22x20px|border Sri Lanka, Mount Lavinia Hotel

Today I am blogging from the famous Mount Lavinia Hotel.  This amazing white building was built by a British governor in 1805 to be his house.  This governor fell in love with a local lady here and named this mansion after her.  The beach here is spectacular, bit it is not recommended to swim here due to the strong current.  This beach is just a 10 minute ride from the Fort Railway Station and costs US$0.38.  This area is great for a quick get away from Colombo.

The governor's palace, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka

The governor’s palace, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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