Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Trincomalee, Sri Lanka Feb 2015

Trincomalee, Sri Lanka is on the NE coast of the island nation.  It has a huge natural harbour and was once considered one of the best ports in the world.  The British based themselves here during skirmishes.  Unfortunately, the civil war between the Sinhalese and the Tamils and Muslims closed the northern part of this island off for many years and is just now being reopened to tourism.  We are the first group of yachts to arrive in years.  As such, we are part of a learning curve for the officials here and we get a little annoyed by some of the bureaucratic bullsh*t at times.But we persevere.

Below is the view from the Maritime Museum wraparound veranda on the second story.  Makes for great views out towards the ocean, too.  This museum was refurbished in 2008.  The building below is next door and hasn't been redone.  It looks like it would be a great project for someone to tackle, though.

The view from the museum looking out towards the ocean.  We could see dozens of little fishing boats of all colors in groups out there, but the camera on my phone just doesn't have a zoom.
A Hindu temple in town in Trincomalee,  They are always so garishly colorful.  We see lots of folks with dots and dashes of different colored ashes walking around.  A heavy Indian influence here.  Many women are in saris.
Carts just outside the temple selling husked coconuts.
The men use the coconuts as offerings.  They light a bit of oil on the coconut and back up to this fenced in stone while praying.  Then they throw the coconut down to smash the coconut on the stone on the ground, splashing the coconut water all over. Someone comes along and collects the broken coconut pieces.  I don't get why, but the man I asked didn't speak English,
Another temple being built next door.  Not quite the same strong colors.
These spotted deer are native to Sri Lanka.  We see them in the market and the cemetery and in the open fields around town.  This one was nuzzling through a pile of onion skins at the edge of the fresh market
I grabbed the deer by the antler and shook him so he'd look up for a photo.  He couldn't be bothered with it much and went back to his search for food.  They are so used to people and vehicles that they just wandet through town.  One was chased by a dog and nearly gored Jason as it ran past him.  They sport a good rack of antlers on the males.
A man in the market selling betel nuts and leaves.  We see the red spittle in blobs on the streets--disgusting.  But the leaves were arranged so neatly.  The dark brown stuff in front of the man is tobacco for those with a different habit.
Lots of old bicycles in this town.  They just keep on going.....

On the way to the park to see elephants, our driver stopped at a shrine on a bridge going out of town to put some money on the shrine and pray for a safe journey for us that day.  He put a dash of ashes on the hood of the car, much like a dot on the forehead of a person after visiting a shrine.

We stopped at a roadside stand that sold buffalo curd.  We got these little clay pots of cool curd and poured a bit of coconut treacle on it for sweetner.  Curd is really just another work for yogurt and this was delicious.  So creamy and smooth. Buffalo curd has a higher fat content than cow's milk curd.
My little pot of buffalo curd and coconut treacle with a tiny plastic spoon.  I scooped out every last bit of it--delicious!
The earthen/clay pots in the foreground are bigger pots of curd with paper covering the tops and tied two together with twine.  Our driver bought a tub of it on the way out to the park, but we had him stop for us to buy some on the way back and I got a big tub for 250 rupees, a little less than $2 for the freshly made yogurt.  You get the tub for free but they are really heavy and I sent mine away with the trash a few days later.  I did buy a bottle of the coconut treacle, too.  If we run out of pancake syrup, this will do the trick. 
A scene at the local fresh market in Trincomalee.  It is on everyday and the earlier the better.  By five in the evening the place is empty and the stalls all closed up and the concrete swept clean.
Looking down another lane in the market.  Onions,shallots, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, carrots, turnips, tomatoes, lettuce, green beans, cauliflower and squash were veges I recognized.  There are always some greens that I have no idea what they are (they look like the weeds cut from the side of the road sometimes).  Few people speak enough English to tell me what they might be called or how to use them so I leave them on the tarps.  If I get an answer, it's usually to "cut it up and cook it" and that usually means in oil.
Myra standing by some hands of green bananas in the market.  Bananas are 70 rupees/kilo and the weight of these hands were written on the stalks.  At about 30 kg. each, these bananas would cost about $6-7/hand. I'm thinking of taking one with us to the Maldives, but they all tend to ripen at about the same time.
The view of Trincomalee from our anchorage.

The water supply for Trinco comes from a huge reservoir that we passed on the way to the park.  Some of the floodgates were open and the water was sluicing down the river below.  Our driver claims the water is filtered many times and should be safe to drink from the taps in town, but we don't see many locals drinking it.  Bottled water is still very popular.

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