Asia

Glimps of a free Batticaloa

In mid-March I traveled the 314 km (198 miles) road to the eastern district of Batticaloa. The trip took over 9 hours by car and while bumpy and long passed through some of the most beautiful areas of Sri Lanka I have ever seen. Lush jungle, sweeping plains, soaked marshes, and jagged mountains rolled by as we traversed from west to east coast. Through a stretch of national park peacocks ran unashamed along the side of the road, foxes scurried for cover as we approached, and an elephant stood uncompromising beside a rural store. In 2007 the Sri Lankan government militarily liberated sections of Batticaloa (and the rest of the East) that used to be controlled by the LTTE (the Tigers). The resulting mass displacement of people fleeing the constant mortar attacks and heavy ground fighting created a wave of internally displaced persons (IDP) throughout Batticaloa. Over 300,000 people fled Read full article…

Wedding in Kochi, India

In early March I hopped on a plane for the hour long flight to Kochi. I have now been to India two times. Both times to the southern city of Kochi, in Kerala, and both times for a wedding. My friends Sheila and Luv really outdid themselves and the 3 day event was filled with nonstop eating, drinking, dancing and picturesque sunsets over the bay. Their wedding truly lived up to every image I ever had for a grand Indian wedding. With its beautiful tropical weather, old world colonial footprint, bustling port and picturesque bay, amazing sunsets, and laid back locals, Kochi offered the perfect backdrop for the wedding. Here is a glimpse of what was a perfect weekend. The crafty marketing for the “Bar” almost lured me away from the pre-wedding luncheon in the historic district of Kochi. Having resisted the bar, I arrived at Menorah to eat wonderful Read full article…

Sri Lanka 2008: Bombings, Assasinations, and Cease Fire Abrogation

In the morning of January 2nd Colombo greeted the New Year with a bombing in Slave Island, a busy business district. The roadside bomb targeted a military bus transporting wounded soldiers from the army hospital to the General Hospital. Targeted bus Four people were killed, seven were sent to the hospital in critical condition and 22 others were injured. Thankfully all of my friends and their families were uninjured, but my heart goes out to all those killed and their families who have to start 2008 in such a horrible manner. A view of the street The bombing follows two other bombs in November which killed over 18 people and injured over 37 more. In the wake of the November bombings the police arrested over 2,553 ethnic Tamils in the Colombo area. Most were released a few days later but over 100 were kept in custody. After the current bombing Read full article…

Thankful Thanksgiving

Sometimes life is not so easy and what can start out as a great time can devolve into a very stressful one. This story has been occupying my mind for the past week and I feel like I need to get it out. Last weekend I took a trip down to Hikkaduwa, a beach town about 2 1/2 hours south of Colombo, to surf. I was planning on buying a surfboard for the season and spent the first day out on the waves and walking around the beach looking for anyone looking to get rid of a board. I had a great room looking out over the ocean, with a nice balcony just above the palm trees. View from my balcony Everything was in place for a great weekend: good surf, friends all around, and plenty of tables on the beach full of beers to drink under tropical palm trees. Read full article…

Road Trip to Mount Ramalou, East Timor

As promised here is the beginning of my updates. While I am currently living in Sri Lanka I want to share with you a road trip myself and 3 friends went on to East Timor’s tallest mountain, Mt. Ramalou. Located in the middle of the country it is not the easiest of places to reach. I don’t remember the exact distance (maybe about 160 km from Dili), but the first 140 km took about 4 hours and the last 20 kilometers another 3 hours!! It was great to get out of the “city” and see a little more of the country side. East Timor has an abundance of natural beauty and while the mountainous areas are some of the poorest and least accessible in the country, they also hold some of the most spectacular vistas, and kindest people there are. Enjoy the trip!! Climbing the winding roads above Dili, we Read full article…

Bali, Camping and Everything Inbetween…

A more recent update…. All of the other posts are basically background information to catch people up on my life here in East Timor. So here is what has been happening for the past 3 weeks or so. (beginning of November through the 3rd week). Bali… Kay (the woman I am dating) left East Timor to go back to Washington D.C. She is quitting her job with the World Bank and moving to Sri Lanka where she will start a new job with the UNDP (United Nations Development Program). So what other choice did we have than to take 5 days off and spend them in Bali, Indonesia. So I worked overtime to get comp time and then we took off for Bali…my contract doesn’t give my any vacation or sick days. We decided to head up to the northeast coast and go diving. After some confusion at the airport Read full article…

Dec 042006
The Way Home

As you may have already heard I have changed homes here in East Timor to a bungalow just outside of Dili (the capital of East Timor). I now live in a one room bungalow inside of a guarded “compound” right across the street from the ocean and a nice rocky/sandy beach. My compound has 3 other bungalows that are rented out by foreigners and our landlords live in a house slightly up the hill from us. There is 24 hour security, a wire fence with gate, 5 dogs, various other Timorese living in the compound (not sure who they are just yet), a bunch of construction workers building a new 2 story bungalow and a garden with three friendly monkeys that like to pick at my arm hair and try to find bugs. I live about a 45 minute walk outside of town so I have bought (and learned to Read full article…

A Good Weekend and Moving

A more recent update…around the beginning of October Well I have to say life is treating me really well at the moment. I have an interesting job, job security for the next 2 months (until December 8th), a great groups of friends out here and some exciting news…..I just moved to a place by the water and I bought a motorcycle and have learned how to ride it. But first things first. I had one of the best weekends I have had in a long time. Not really sure what happened on Friday night…always a good sign….I do remember Saturday so I guess I will start from there. I had my first diving session (my confined dives in the pool) and it was really fun. I get to go out on 4 open water dives in the ocean starting from next weekend. After wards I met up with the Hash Read full article…

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