Well OK, not a photo but isn’t a video better? This video was taken on safari in Sri Lanka’s Mineria national park. The elephants were protecting their babies hidden between their legs by locking trunks, growling loudly, and slowly advancing on us to push us out of the area. Who knew that elephants growled! I took this video just shortly after I was charged by a large bull elephant. It was “only” a mock charge but lesson learned, don’t get near another man’s girl. Share

Experiencing Sri Lanka’s Providence- Part 2: The Ancient Buddha Rock Statues of Polonnaruwa

Called Serendib by Arab traders (the origin of the word “serendipity”), Sri Lanka has an amazing diversity for a small island and offers the possibility of experiencing vastly different climates, history, and cultures during a short vacation. In this Four Part Series I will share a glimpse of four vastly different areas of Sri Lanka that can, and should, be a part of any itinerary to the island of providence. The first part in this series explored the the East Coast city of Trincomalee and the Hindu  Koneswaram Temple. Nestled in the lush central jungles of Sri Lanka sits Polonnaruwa, the 10th century ancient capital on par with Cambodia’s Angkor Wat,  Myanmar’s Bagan, or Thailand’s Ayutthaya. The rectangular archeological site sits on the shores of the Topa Wewa Lake, slightly north of the modern day town of Polonnaruwa where you can buy your entry ticket. Crumbling palaces, dozens of dagobas Read full article…

Should you give money to beggars when you travel?

Sitting outside on the patio of a small Kosovo cafe, a beer held at the ready to celebrate the end to another perfect day, we were suddenly descended on by six scruffy small children. Pitiful eyes pleaded with us for money as they spread out amongst our group begging. We ignored them in turn and somehow they managed to look even more desperate. I know, it sounds horrible and trust me it feels horrible. I have been traveling a long time and the scene is the same in most developing countries I visit. The orphans in Hanoi reciting their memorized English phrases, the legless beggars in Cambodia, the woman with her newborn child hanging limply from her breast as she begs amongst stopped traffic in Sri Lanka. We weren’t a group of normal travelers, instead we were all seasoned development workers, used to working in harsh environments with marginalized and Read full article…

Experiencing Sri Lanka’s Providence- Part I: Trincomalee’s Koneswaram Hindu Temple

Sri Lanka. For many people it conjures images of a strident Colombo with its pollution and bottleneck traffic, the relaxed idyllic beaches in the South and a suffocating civil war in the North and East. Quite a contrast and one that kept many people from visiting the country during the intense fighting that erupted from 2006-2009. Now that the war is over tourists are streaming into the country, filling up hotels and weighing down tour buses. Locals are also fanning out and visiting areas once considered too dangerous. Called Serendib by Arab traders (the origin of the word “serendipity”), Sri Lanka has an amazing diversity for a small island and offers the possibility of experiencing vastly different climates, history, and cultures during a short vacation. In this Four Part Series I will share a glimpse of four vastly different areas of Sri Lanka that can, and should, be a part Read full article…

My 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets

My friend Megan who writes the blog See. Write. Live. nominated me to share my three best travel secrets on Todd’s Wanderings. The nomination is a part of Trip Base Blog tag in which the Top Bloggers’ Best Kept Travel Secrets will be published in a free ebook that will be shared with the “entire online community…” Hmmm, good luck with that! First, I had to decide if my secrets were safe for the average traveler…my lawyers tell me I should be okay (by reading this you have now waived all your rights). So here you are, some of my well kept secrets, and favorite places in this wonderful world: 1. Mount Koya, Japan Aschaf Everyone visits the major temples in Kyoto and Nara but these days they are little more than tourist attractions, albeit pretty ones, lacking that lived in, struggle for enlightenment feel. Mount Koya, the secluded mountain Read full article…

Weekend in Haputale Sri Lanka

In August I headed up into the hill country with two friends to beat the heat in Colombo. Our destination was the Kelbourne Tea Estate just outside of Haputale. Kelbourne Estate has three English tea bungalows set high up in the mountains in the middle of a working tea plantation. You are waited on hand and foot, and can have dinner in your own dinning room surrounded by ever present green tea bushes. Of course half the fun of getting to the hill country is driving up through the stunning scenery That is until you get stuck behind a manure truck and two bused sizing up each other’s %$##* We picked the Wildflower Cottage with three bedrooms and… …what was supposed to be a stunning view…. Getting closer to the view as the clouds pass underneath us Ah, there it is At night the temperature drops enough to rationalize a Read full article…

Development and Human Rights at Work

Considering that most of my posts are about travel and exotic locales it may be shocking to hear that I actually do have a job. Many of you may have wondered about what it is I actually do and what type of work a development/human rights/conflict resolution worker actually does. To shed a little light into my work life, and to help educate on some of the most pressing matters facing Sri Lanka, I am posting two recent publications that I wrote. The first publication was released through my former employer, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE). It deals with the High Security Zones in Sri Lanka and how they have been used to deny citizens their human rights to adequate housing, and return to their former homes and lands after displacement. The full report can be accessed here: High Security Zones and the Rights to Return and Read full article…

A Weekend at the Lighthouse

Kay won a free weekend at the Lighthouse Hotel, in Galle, Sri Lanka during a Japanese sponsored raffle over New Years. Knowing we only had a few more months left in Sri Lanka we decided to cash in the vouchers at the Geoffrey Bawa designed luxury hotel. While I was not too impressed with the view of the hotel from the street (like most places in Sri Lanka), the view of the water and the inside were fantastic. At the entrance guests are greeted to a colonial war waging its way up the spiral staircase. Feeling relaxed yet? If you need help getting up the stairs I am sure these guys will help out… Nothing to see here sir…move along. Ahhhhh, all right, all right, you caught us…good one! Once you make it past the carnage in the entrance, you can shut your door and relax in spacious rooms. I Read full article…

On Tuesday May 19th 2009, the President of Sri Lanka announced the end of the civil war that has ravaged the small island nation for over 30 years and deprived over 70,000 people their lives and future. The military captured all remaining territory previously held by the LTTE, and the military announced the death of the LTTE’s leader, Prabhakaran. By all accounts today should be a day of celebration as the country’s young, those under 30 years of age, have never known anything but civil war. And yet as I sit here and write during a new public holiday, fire crackers booming away in the distance, I can’t help but feel unsettled by the weight of suffering still going on, the lives lost to “win” the war, and the uncertain path Sri Lanka’s leaders will take: towards reconciliation or consolidation. Since I moved to Sri Lanka over two years ago Read full article…

Journey to South Eastern Sri Lanka-Part 2

…Continued from Journey to South Eastern Sri Lanka-Part 1 In the morning we drove an hour south to Tissamaharama and checked into our new hotel that would be our base for exploring Yala National Park and diving at the Great Basses. Peacocks are everywhere Hibiscus Garden Hotel. This is a fantastic hotel and quite affordable. The staff are great and very friendly. The pool was exactly what we needed to cool down after long days under the tropical sun. After checking into the hotel we arranged for a safari tour of Yala National Park. Almost all national parks in Sri Lanka only allow visitors to enter in jeeps. The park is home to a variety of animals including elephants (which we never saw) and the elusive leopard. The park is said to have the highest concentration of leopards anywhere in the world…although finding the shy nocturnal cat is still rare. Read full article…

© 2006-2010 Todd's Wanderings Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha