Before we move any deeper into 2008 I want to take a moment to reflect on everything that happened in 2007. As we get older time can seem to slip by without us noticing. Each year gets progressively faster and the refrain “where did the time go?” wets our dry lips ever more frequently.

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Some psychologists think that time appears to move faster as we age because we stop creating as many new experiences. Our memory skips over details that we have become accustomed to: driving, eating, sleeping, playing. Even new experiences are built upon previously ones and the brain doesn’t record the full depth of each moment. We used to have summers that lasted forever when we were kids, and now full years fly by and blur into each other.

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I can safely say that 2007 was full of new experiences and as rich as any other year of my life. In an attempt to prove the psychologists wrong, or at least to use their rules against them, I offer glimpses of a year full of richness, beauty and adventure.

The year began in Sri Lanka for New Years.

I think the sign speaks for itself

Typical intersection

After spending 1 month in Sri Lanka and being infected with Dengue Fever and Chikungunya (don’t even ask…) I headed back to East Timor via Bali. In Bali I met up with my friend Mike and we traveled for 2 weeks and spent our time diving, surfing and bribing local police.

What are those monkey’s up to?

Bali is famous for its statues

We headed over to the next island, Lombok, where we were shaken down by the local police…the 8 hour boat journey was much nicer than our welcome.

Saying goodbye to Mike, I headed back to East Timor for 1 month to look for a job, hang out, and scuba dive as much as possible.

Fishing with friends

Bullet proof vest and helmet courtesy of the UN

Goodbye Timor

After 1 month I said goodbye to East Timor and moved to Sri Lanka, where another conflict was raging. After 3 months of searching for a job I began working on human rights and with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

I first lived in an annex on the second floor (behind the tree to the right)

Traffic in front of a Mosque just before Eid

I did some traveling in Sri Lanka but have no pictures to prove it. I do however recommend the dance show at the Dickwella Beach Resort (Southern Coast of Sri Lanka) on Saturday evenings. I have never witnessed such a wonderfully display of cheesiness performed with the utmost sincerity.

In April, the same group of friends, who bore witness to the mentioned dance show, and I headed to the Maldives to live on a scuba diving boat for 5 days. This trip is definitley in my top 5 experiences in life. Living on the boat, traveling from atoll to atoll, and diving every day was a magical combination.

Our boat and home

Traditional sail boat

Look at this

A spotted moray

I finally found my home in life

All good things must come to an end

After the Maldives (which is a nation of small tropical islands to the south of Sri Lanka in case you didn’t know) my next trip was to Malaysia for work. Again I don’t have any pictures but I was there….honest.

In July I met my boss for the first time (heis based out of the country). What better way to introduce him to Sri Lanka than by bringing him to the Elephant orphanage:

The orphanage is half way to Kandy (an ancient capital of Sri Lanka and its second largest city) and houses elephants who have been hurt and abandoned due to the encroachment of humans around the island.

Coming back from a bath in the river

They have a large area to run “free”


My next trip brought me to the cultural triangle where I visited the Dambulla Rock Caves (ancient Buddhist temple), and the World Heritage site, Sigiriya, a large rock housing an ancient capital and Buddhist temple (although there is some debate on which it was, or if it was both). We also went on a safari in a national park and got more than we bargained for…

A very cheesy temple below the Dambula Caves

Caves at the top

A view through the gate


Ancient gardens below the rock

A huge lion used to mark the entrance to “path” to the top.

The eco villa, Vil Uyana, where we stayed. A fantastic place that I would recommend to anyone.

We got boxed in by a number of elephants and this bull decided to charge us. Luckily it was a mock charge to go along with my mock heart attack

We found a group of elephant near the lake at sunset. They are protecting babies hidden in between their legs

They finally calmed down

A few months later in August a friend visited town so we took a trip to Kandy to watch the famous Pera Hera (a 5 day festival revolving around the temple of the tooth which is said to house a tooth of the Buddha). The level of organization that must go into the parade is amazing. We only watched the parade on one day (and not even the most elaborate) and it lasted for at least 4 hours.

Getting ready for the big night

Traditional music

Over 100 elephants marched by carrying small batteries to power their lights

In October I headed to Kochi, India for a friends wedding (again no pictures). This was my first trip to India and I was amazed at how relaxed the South was compared to what I had heard about Delhi and Mumbai. After returning to Sri Lanka I was off again to the U.S. for my friends’ wedding and to see friends and family. I had not been home for 1 1/2 years!

I stayed in the U.S. for 3 weeks. I flew back to Sri Lanka and had 2 weeks to get back into the rhythm of life here before I was off to Geneva, Switzerland for work. While most of my time was spent in the city, I was able to take a train ride up to Zermatt to ski.

Geneva at night

Nyon, just outside of Geneva

Small church at dusk near my friends’ house

I connected to the train to Zermatt in a small town that was so excited for the beginning of the ski season that fireworks and free coffee and bread greeted me at 5:50 am

The train to Zermatt

Cars are not allowed in Zermatt

I returned to Sri Lanka and did not travel again until December when I spent Christmas in Sigiriya and then New Years in Unawatuna, a tropical beach on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.

As you can see, 2007 was full of new places and great wanderings. I can only hope that 2008 will be half as rewarding as 2007 was. It is certainly starting off that way, and I am off to India again next week. This time I promise to take pictures!

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