Blogs from Peradeniya, Central Province, Sri Lanka, Asia

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Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Peradeniya January 10th 2006

CLASSES, DANCES, AND A HEALING RITUAL Time to be serious students again. Today we got more immersion in Sri Lankan history and culture with Prof. K.N.O. Dharmadasa, and a taste of myths and rituals with Prof. Udaya Meddegama, a man with infectious enthusiasm. We were shown ancient books written on strips palm leaves, held together by string that ran through two punched holes. One of these books was filled with tiny, neat writing in Sinhala. I would love to be able to read it! In the afternoon, we had a real treat, as the Kandy Dancers came to our Bungalow for a private performance. We arrived in time to see the dancers creating a clay deity image and adorning it with flowers. These dancers perform local songs and dances for tourists on a regular basis, and ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Peradeniya January 7th 2006

Cultural Ecology, an introduction to Theavada Buddhist Philosophy. We had a two hour lecture which covered what is normally covered in a full semester course. We all wished to learn more and Professor Premasiri agreed to join us for dinner and continue the conversation. The Buddhist reverence for all life has ramifications for wildlife management. We leave for an overnight trip to Horton Plains with botanist Professor Wijesundera. The road is under major repair. There is some question as to whether or not we will be able to get all the way to Horton Plain. Travel is very slow as we wind back and forth, climbing our way past villages and tea plantations. We stop in Nuwara Eliya for a Chinese dinner and met some people from Canada. Then it is back onto the bus to ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Peradeniya January 7th 2006

CLASSES AT PGIS, PERADENIYA PGIS stands for the Postgraduate Institute of Science. Our trip officially began with an impressive opening ceremony in a large lecture hall on campus. Many high-level University officials attended, gave short speeches, and helped to light the 6 foot high brass ceremonial oil lamp with a brass rooster on top. We learned later that this is meant to drive out the darkness and ignorance, and provide light and understanding. Illumination, if you will. We met Prof. S.A. Kulasooriya, Jon's Sri Lankan counterpart, and the Coordinator of the Program in Sri Lanka. He welcomed us, especially as the first group in what everyone hoped would become a continuing communication and exchange between our cultures. As this trip was actually a field studies class, naturally we spent some time in the classroom. In fact, ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Peradeniya January 6th 2006

The day of snakes and amphibians. And our introduction to leeches. Another day of rain. We are again reminded the monsoon is officially over. Rain in the tropics is different; the temperature is 77 degrees Fahrenheit. When you get wet you don't really get cold, you just get wet. When it is not raining the humidity is very high, so rain or not you are always damp. The ground is so porous that the water gets soaked up leaving few puddles. First, the lecture - cobras, vipers, and other reptiles and amphibians by Mr. Anslem de Silva. After tea, it is into the lab to see and handle snakes and lizards. Bare handed he milks a Russell's viper. Yes, it is a very poisonous snake. About 300 people a year die of snake bites in Sri ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Peradeniya January 5th 2006

The bus, our bus, is back to met us. We have this bus, driver, and his assistant for our entire stay in Sri Lanka. We take the ten minute bus ride to PGIS, Post Graduate Institute of Science. There is an opening ceremony, we are welcomed by several deans of the University of Peradeniya. Hopefully this will the beginning of a long relationship between our two universities. The three week class we are taking is the "Biological and Cultural Ecology of Sri Lanka." Each student is given a binder with our schedule and several handouts. After the ceremony we meet several of the professors who will be giving lectures. In the lobby Sri is waiting for us with our mid-morning tea (and food). At 10:30 we start our first lecture, "Ecosystem Diversity." I got my bachelors ... read more

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Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Peradeniya January 4th 2006

It is a little past midnight as we leave the airport and head towards Kandy. We still have several kilometers to travel before reaching our beds. The bus ride only gives us a narrow view of the countryside. Buildings line the street. We never seem to leave the buildings, mostly shops; still at two in the morning several of the shops are open. We stop to buy bottled water. A gas station is open. Several college students came down to the airport to meet us and help us with our luggage. This is our first chance to meet and talk with the people of Sri Lanka. At 4 AM the bus finally stops; the traveling is complete we have arrived at Mahakande Gal Bungalawa. The name means large rock house, built in the 1800s, and it ... read more
The Bungalawa
Siri - A wonderful cook and friend




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