My lunch, our house, and a photo of the most beautiful woman in the world

Unlike most of my posts, this will be more photos than words, at least if you count each picture as 1000 words. These photos are mostly of things in our daily life here and there is not all that much to say about them, but perhaps more than can fit into a caption.

University of Peradeniya's train station

University of Peradeniya's train station

The theme of the first three photos is “My Lunch.” Every weekday, I walk a short distance from my office in the Physics Annex to a small store to buy my lunch. On the way, I pass the university’s train station pictured above. This is the closest train station to our house but we have never caught a train here. The problem is that the only trains that stop here are the “locals” that stop at every stop. So while this station is on the main line to Colombo, we board the train either at Kandy or the town of Peradeniya, both about equidistant from our house. A couple of days ago, I had a flash of realization that the train station would have a scale to weigh parcels. So I visited the station platform itself  for the first time and the baggage master kindly weighed me. My 101.4 kg is slightly below my previous low weight when we traveled to Singapore and Cambodia three years ago, but it was not as low as I had hoped after getting on a scale in my hotel room in Kolkata and seeing a reading of 97 kg.

Milk bar where I get my lunch packet

Milk bar where I get my lunch packet

After I cross the train tracks, I get to the small store (which calls itself a “milk bar”) where I buy my lunch. The milk bar is on the near end of this building. Next to, and part of, the milk bar is a room with tables and chairs for customers who want to eat their lunch on the premises and many do. I presume the owner of the store lives above the store in the flat you see on the second floor, or perhaps he rents it out. To the right of the store is a series of other small shops, including a veterinary office, a stationery shop, and a bookstore.

At the milk bar, one approaches a counter where a clerk will bring you what you ask for. Underneath the counter and behind a glass window is a set of shelves with freshly made pastries and rolls, savory “short eats” (vegetable or meat filled buns), and “packets”. Behind the counter are the miscellaneous stuff of life: laundry supplies, boxed cakes, candy, cigarettes, sodas in the fridge, potato chips, batteries, etc. My “usual” is a vegetable packet and a Coca-Cola ($1.20). While I complete this transaction in English, I have since learned that the Sinhalese words for vegetable packet and Coca-Cola are “vegetable packet” and “Coca-Cola.”

Vegetable packet and a Coca-Cola

Vegetable packet and a Coca-Cola

After purchasing “the usual,” I take my lunch back the the Physics Annex to the faculty lounge. The photo above shows my packet after it is unwrapped. Sugar-free cola has not caught on in a big way here, so the only soft drinks available at the local milk bar (or at any store short of a major supermarket) are of the non-diet variety. In this heat, I “need” a cold soft drink to survive, so I have compromised my usual requirement for my sodas to be sugar-free.

In the photo, it is a bit hard to see what it is that I am eating. The bulk of the packet is rice, the staple of the Sri Lankan diet. The green you see in the foreground is coconut sambal, a spicy condiment. Some of the brown is dal, i.e., lentils, the vegetable that when combined with rice gives you a complete protein source. Some of the other brown is a vegetable in a curry sauce. Note the lack of utensils. This is all eaten with ones fingers. I’ve gotten pretty good at it, actually.

The theme of the next set of pictures is “Our house in Dangolla.”

Front door of our house in Dangolla

Front door of our house in Dangolla

This is a picture of the front of our house looking back along the front towards the garden. The door on the right is our front door. Just to the right of that is a small slice of the garage door. The house is constructed from cement beams filled in with brick to form the walls and covered over with plaster. Note the pavers and the painted cement border around the house.

Dangolla Road house from backyard

Dangolla Road house from backyard

This photo is looking the opposite way across the front of the house (on the right), but giving a view of a part of the garden and the rest of the house structure. All the windows and doors are wood in wood frames, nicely crafted.

Flowers in our Dangolla Road house garden

Flowers in our Dangolla Road house garden

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These two photos are a small taste of the beautiful flowers in our garden. Our maid, Rani, devotes at least an hour each day lovingly caring for the garden. There was a man that used to come by to clip the grass (by hand with a knife), but Rani dismissed him when he tried to overcharge for his services. Since the grass stays clipped, I presume that Rani is now doing it herself (by hand with a knife).

Amaya Hills Hotel at sunset, Kandy

Amaya Hills Hotel at sunset, Kandy

Every so often, right about sunset, we take a tuk-tuk up into the hills that overlook our house, to the Amaya Hills Hotel. The Amaya Hills is a luxury, resort hotel. On our first visit, we intended to watch the sunset and then eat in their well-regarded restaurant. Well, we watched a gorgeous sunset only to discover that the restaurant did not start serving dinner until 8PM. This is a characteristic time for Sri Lankans to eat dinner, but we can not survive that long without food. Well, we were told, the bar does have a snack menu that we could order from anytime. Turns out that the hotel has quite a different definition of snack than I have. The menu included burgers, milkshakes, spaghetti, and other goodies. And when they served the “snacks,” they turned out to be almost more food than we could eat. To top it all off, the prices were very reasonable. So this has become something of a habit for us. Usually on the weekend, always at sunset, we have a meal al fresco at the Amaya Hills about once a week.

On our last visit, the most beautiful woman in the world was dining at the Amaya Hills and she was gracious enough to allow me to take a picture of her.

Kris, Amaya Hills Hotel, Kandy

Kris, Amaya Hills Hotel, Kandy

Tim

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2 Comments

  1. Kris said,

    March 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Aw, thanks, Tim. Wish I’d combed my hair–tuk tuk riding is windy! Kris

  2. SHANNON Jackson said,

    March 16, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    The house is beautiful as is the scenery and your wife. The food looks good too. I too prefer diet cola. Sugary drinks give me too much acid for comfort. Since it supposed to be 18F tonight I am also envying the heat although one can get really tired of it too and develop heat rashes and fungi.


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