Category Archives: travelogue

Gregory Peck: Peyaawa for Peck from His Pal Victor

Victor Melder, whose preferred title is “The Truth about Gregory Peck and Peyawa”

In 1953 my father, Randolph (Rando) Melder, was stationed as Driver, CGR in Kadugannawa. We occupied a ‘Railway Bungalow’, besides the rail tracks bordering the Kadugannawa – Pothupitiya Road. A rail gate was situated by our home too. In early 1954 the movie “Purple Plain” was on location in Sri Lanka and much of the filming was done at Kadugannawa, at the outskirts of the town, on the Colombo- Kandy Road (Peradeniya end). An entire Burmese village was recreated in an area of a fallow paddy field. It was fascinating watching the village come up, with the local villagers supply plants, timber etc, all for a fee.

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Protecting Sri Lankan Rights: The Modern Saga of Shipwreck “Avondster”

Somasiri Devendra, in Island, 13 June 2018, where the title is “Under the Waters of Galle:  A Prelude to the “Avondster’ Project”

The curtain rises: One morning in 2002 I received a call from the Additional Director General, Central Cultural Fund (CCF), Mr. H. D. S. Hettipathirana, to discuss a glitch in the Avondster project which was due to get off the ground. I was, then, wearing several hats: Consultant (to the CCF) and Special Advisor (to the Director-General, Archaeology) on Maritime Archaeology; and member of the Advisory Committee to the Ministry. I was also a member of ICUCH (the ICOMOS International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage) and had been involved in the formulation of both the ICOMOS Charter and the UNESCO International Convention on the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Neither I – nor anyone else in the country – had had any maritime archaeological training: I was the proverbial one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind! But, in all these honorary positions I strove to balance national and international interests.

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Revd Small of Richmond: Educationist Extraordinary

Simon Meeds with Joe Simpson**

In September 1973 Joe Simpson had my first encounter with the man who, 120 years after his birth, is still referred to as “Small of Richmond”.  Joe remembers the moment clearly. It was a typical morning for the south coast of Sri Lanka at that time of year, already hot and rather humid. Joe was a newly-arrived Cambridge University graduate, a teacher from Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). He had heard about Rev. Small from his VSO predecessor, another Northern Irishman who had served at Richmond a few years before. He remembers feeling wonderment on learning that not only had the Rev. Small been Principal as long ago as 1906, but also that at the age of 90 he still resided at the School.

 Walter Joseph Tombleson Small

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Scaling The Heights of Everest: Johann Peries becomes Second Lankan to do this

Editorial Item in Newsin Asia, 22  May 2018, … https://newsin.asia/johann-peries-becomes-second-lankan-to-climb-everest/

Sri Lanka’s Johann Peries successfully climbed the 29,030 feet Mount Everest at 5.55 a.m in Nepal time on Tuesday, his support team in Colombo said.

 Johann Peries and Jayanthi Kuru Uthumpala, the two Sri Lankans who have climbed the Everest

This was his second attempt. Peries now becomes the second Sri Lankan to summit Mt. Everest after Jayanthi Kuru Utumpala did it in 2016. He left the Camp at 4.00p.m last evening. His earlier attempt in 2016 was unsuccessful when his oxygen tank failed 400 meters from the summit.

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Ceylon, Percy Fawcett and the Quest for the Lost City of Zed

Vinod Moonesinghe, courtesy of Roar Life, where the title is “The Lost City of Zed: Lanka’s Link”

In March 2018, the magazine Nature Communications published an article by a team of archaeologists from Exeter University. The team had been investigating possible ancient settlements in the Amazon’s upper Tapajós Basin, using a variety of modern techniques, including satellite imagery. They discovered 81 sites from the pre-Columbian era (about 1250-1500 A.D.).

 Shooting the giant anaconda, the cover of Expedition Fawcett, written by Brian Fawcett

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Lester Peries immortalized in the NY Times

Richard Sandomir, in New York Times, 4 May 2018, with this title Lester James Peries Visionary Sri Lankan Filmmaker”

Lester James Peries, a visionary director whose films about the dynamics of family life in Sri Lanka brought world recognition to that island nation’s movie industry, diedon Sunday in Colombo, the capital. He was 99.

Starting with “Rekava” (“The Line of Destiny”) in 1956, Mr. Peries’s films offered a significant shift from formulaic Indian-influenced dance and fantasy movies that had been standard fare in Sri Lanka, which was known as Ceylon at the time. He wanted his pictures to accurately reflect the lives of the Sinhalese people, who constitute most of the country’s population. Continue reading

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Hai Hoyi … Baila Natamu! Sri Lankan Baila

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya, in The Island, 2 May 2014

The extraordinary love of the Portuguese for music is epitomised at El Ksar el Kabir in Morocco, 1578, where 10,000 guitars lay on the battlefield, near the dead Portuguese soldiers. The Portuguese took guns and guitars to battlefields! Is it surprising that the Portuguese presence is vibrant through Sri Lankan popular music – Baila?

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