Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 6, a full day



"I am just looking at the itinerary for my birthday today and besides Galle fort it includes a visit to lace makers; a drive to Ahangama, lunch at a boutique hotel overlooking a stand of stilt fishermen; a visit to a small tea/pepper plantation specializing in white tea; a boat trip on Koggala lake to visit a cinnamon smallholding on an islet;  back to Galle and a demonstration by a chef creating hoppers for dinner at still another boutique inn.  All this before driving back to Lady Hill for the night.   This is my kind of birthday...full of new experiences and another taste of Sri Lankan food too ." ( from my journal)

Belgian lace making, Galle, photo by mary m payne

We did indeed visit a couple of lace making destinations on the trip.  Here is a lady making lace at an old Dutch house in Galle.  The lacemaking is just now being revived again as a cottage industry, originally brought over by the Portuguese.  It is called bobbin lace or Beeralu lace and is a kind of knitting done with bobbins.  
 I have posted a video from You Tube on another page to show you how it is done. 


Part of lace tablecloth, Sri Lanka 
June buys a carving too.  photo by Mary M Payne

Working out pattern for an appliqu√© butterfly, Sri Lanka  Photo by Mary M Payne

Prices are astonishingly low for the amount of work on one piece. Tell Tale travel supports local artisans so we visited quite a few in our two weeks.   I  noticed bobbin lace on some of our canopy beds in the colonial manor houses where we stayed.   I myself brought home some coasters.


 I also bought a little carved teak elephant from this man in Galle fort...how does he survive selling one for just six euros?

Galle was interesting, a little ancient city inside the walls of a living fort, left over from the Dutch, then British settlers..  Everyone in the fort survived the 2004 tsunami. Only a couple of boats were thrown over the ramparts.  Despite that security many of the original houses have sold lately because an average Sri Lankan can buy 9 houses elsewhere for the money received for their family house within the Galle fort. 

Sri Lankan woman , Galle, photo by Mary M Payne

Our next stop was a lunch of freshly caught tuna, rice and a tasty salad at Ocean Crest Inn and a good look at the Indian ocean and stilt fisherman.  

Ocean Crest Inn from the top floor dining room,  Photo by Mary M Payne


Stilt fishermen, Ahangama, Sri Lanka , photo by Mary M Payne

s no ordinary fishing, there might be several methods of catching a fish but this one is mind-boggling. Fishermen in Sri Lanka use stilts to catch a fish. Yes, stilt fishing is an old tradition practiced by around 500 fishing families in Galle, in southwestern-most Sri Lanka, especially around the towns of Kathaluwa and Ahangama. It had disappeared after the 2004 tsunami that struck Sri Lanka and other countries bordering the Indian Ocean, but resumed after things got back to normal. Its a beautiful sight looking at fishermen balancing on a thin plank, but at the same time its tough too. All this effort and toiling only to preserve their old custom, wonderful! They usually fish during sunset, noon and sunrise, with each one taking their elevated position and balancing about 2 metres above the water. As you can see in the picture below, there is a vertical pole engrafted into the sea bed, attached to it is a cross bar, called petta, on which the fishermen do the balancing act. Stilt fishing in Sri lanka So with one hand they hold the stilt and the other hand they have a fishing rod or a line to catch spotted herrings and small mackerels, which are then kept in a plastic bag tied around their waist or the pole. Earlier bags woven out of coconut leaves were used, but now they use discarded plastic bags. Why don’t they use nets instead? If the tradition is being carried on for so long, there has to be some reasoning behind it. Fishing on stilts Stilt fishing is done on the banks and is unobtrusive, so the fish stay around for a longer time because they don’t get disturbed. But with nets, if the fish gets disturbed they might not return for a long time. So the fishermen of Galle don’t mind sitting for long hours to get their catch, it seems they don’t use a bait either on the hook. Stilt fishing in Galle Sri Lanka Since how long this custom is practiced is not known, but I came across a government document which says that according to old fishermen stilt fishing started after the Second World War. Unfortunately such traditions generally are threatened due to commercialisation. Building of hotels close to stilt fishing areas, bathing tourists leads to disturbing the fish and driving them away from the coral reef. Resources: Stilt Fishermen Tags: Odd Stuff FALLEN SOLDIER The tyrannical tentacle of the state has caught one of our own. Gary Z McGee is in jail for the petty offense of not pulling over quickly enough. He is now charged with two felonies: Evading arrest and endangering a child, because his son was in the RV. The license plate was stolen from his vehicle during his trip back home from visiting his family over the holidays, and he was being pulled over for speeding and driving without plates. He is currently awaiting his day in court and will be sending us his words, as he is able. Living in the most incarcerated country in the world Gary Z McGee is just the latest victim of the prison industrial complex. He faces 2 to 15 years in prison if convicted. Please feel free to send him words of your own to P.O. BOX 39 Sierra Blanca, Texas 7985. As is usual in this system, people with money can bail themselves out and afford proper legal counsel. Unfortunately Gary is not in this category. His bail amounts to $8,500.00. And the minimum to obtain legal counsel is $1,600.00. Any donation is greatly appreciated. To send a care package: My care pack.com or 866-643-9557. To put money on his books 866-394-0490. Facility code #5500 booking number 2016016069. If you would like to donate to his bail or defense fund we have set up a pay pal account for Gary.Mcgeezfund@gmail.com Profile photo of Bhavika Bhavika Bhavika is a nature-loving, spiritual being and co-founder of Fractal Enlightenment, who strives to help fellow beings re-connect with nature and their inner selves. Thank you for being part of this journey. Show Comments

Read more at: https://fractalenlightenment.com/940/culture/the-old-custom-of-stilt-fishing-in-sri-lanka | FractalEnlightenment.com 
s no ordinary fishing, there might be several methods of catching a fish but this one is mind-boggling. Fishermen in Sri Lanka use stilts to catch a fish. Yes, stilt fishing is an old tradition practiced by around 500 fishing families in Galle, in southwestern-most Sri Lanka, especially around the towns of Kathaluwa and Ahangama. It had disappeared after the 2004 tsunami that struck Sri Lanka and other countries bordering the Indian Ocean, but resumed after things got back to normal. Its a beautiful sight looking at fishermen balancing on a thin plank, but at the same time its tough too. All this effort and toiling only to preserve their old custom, wonderful! They usually fish during sunset, noon and sunrise, with each one taking their elevated position and balancing about 2 metres above the water. As you can see in the picture below, there is a vertical pole engrafted into the sea bed, attached to it is a cross bar, called petta, on which the fishermen do the balancing act. Stilt fishing in Sri lanka So with one hand they hold the stilt and the other hand they have a fishing rod or a line to catch spotted herrings and small mackerels, which are then kept in a plastic bag tied around their waist or the pole. Earlier bags woven out of coconut leaves were used, but now they use discarded plastic bags. Why don’t they use nets instead? If the tradition is being carried on for so long, there has to be some reasoning behind it. Fishing on stilts Stilt fishing is done on the banks and is unobtrusive, so the fish stay around for a longer time because they don’t get disturbed. But with nets, if the fish gets disturbed they might not return for a long time. So the fishermen of Galle don’t mind sitting for long hours to get their catch, it seems they don’t use a bait either on the hook. Stilt fishing in Galle Sri Lanka Since how long this custom is practiced is not known, but I came across a government document which says that according to old fishermen stilt fishing started after the Second World War. Unfortunately such traditions generally are threatened due to commercialisation. Building of hotels close to stilt fishing areas, bathing tourists leads to disturbing the fish and driving them away from the coral reef. Resources: Stilt Fishermen Tags: Odd Stuff FALLEN SOLDIER The tyrannical tentacle of the state has caught one of our own. Gary Z McGee is in jail for the petty offense of not pulling over quickly enough. He is now charged with two felonies: Evading arrest and endangering a child, because his son was in the RV. The license plate was stolen from his vehicle during his trip back home from visiting his family over the holidays, and he was being pulled over for speeding and driving without plates. He is currently awaiting his day in court and will be sending us his words, as he is able. Living in the most incarcerated country in the world Gary Z McGee is just the latest victim of the prison industrial complex. He faces 2 to 15 years in prison if convicted. Please feel free to send him words of your own to P.O. BOX 39 Sierra Blanca, Texas 7985. As is usual in this system, people with money can bail themselves out and afford proper legal counsel. Unfortunately Gary is not in this category. His bail amounts to $8,500.00. And the minimum to obtain legal counsel is $1,600.00. Any donation is greatly appreciated. To send a care package: My care pack.com or 866-643-9557. To put money on his books 866-394-0490. Facility code #5500 booking number 2016016069. If you would like to donate to his bail or defense fund we have set up a pay pal account for Gary.Mcgeezfund@gmail.com Profile photo of Bhavika Bhavika Bhavika is a nature-loving, spiritual being and co-founder of Fractal Enlightenment, who strives to help fellow beings re-connect with nature and their inner selves. Thank you for being part of this journey. Show Comments

Read more at: https://fractalenlightenment.com/940/culture/the-old-custom-of-stilt-fishing-in-sri-lanka | FractalEnlightenment.com 

This is no ordinary fishing, there might be several methods of catching a fish but this one is mind-boggling. Fishermen in Sri Lanka use stilts to catch a fish. Yes, stilt fishing is an old tradition practiced by around 500 fishing families in Galle, in southwestern-most Sri Lanka, especially around the towns of Kathaluwa and Ahangama.

Read more at: https://fractalenlightenment.com/940/culture/the-old-custom-of-stilt-fishing-in-sri-lanka | FractalEnlightenment.com 
This is an ancient method of fishing which requires perching on a stick with a crossbar.    It is still practiced by around 500 fishing families in Galle and in towns like this one, Ahangama.   The stick does not disturb the fish like netting does but it is a difficult balancing act.  

After lunch we were on our way to the small tea plantation Handunugoda https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handunugoda_Tea_Estate which still uses machines left over from the British Colonial era.  I also got to see how black pepper grows as a vine on selected trees.


Pepper growing vine, Handunugoda Sri Lanka

  Here is a sign we saw posted there... although now the tea is picked by middle aged women with a tiny pair of scissors into an ordinary container, alas, not gold.  Virgin White Tea has a bland taste, but it is a health tonic and you won't find it just anywhere.  Handunugoda makes very small quantities of the choicest teas. 



By the time we got to Koggala lake the sun was setting and we took our tranquil boat ride with this view on the way to the cinnamon families on a small island.


There are a handful of families on the tiny islands here cultivating cinnamon bushes and preparing it in stick , powder and oil forms. The oil is known for its medicinal qualities including as a repellent of mosquitoes.   
 We were treated to a cup of cinnamon tea and watched a demo of the various processes and were able to buy.   Cinnamon bark is one of those things we take for granted in the west.  I never thought about from where it came or how it was prepared. Now I know. 


Stripping cinnamon bark to dry in sticks for market,  Koggala lake, Photo boy Mary M Payne
On we go to dinner and a hopper demonstration.  Hopper pancakes are a staple in Sri Lanka and are served plain or with an egg cracked inside.  They are similar in character and method of cooking to French crepes except that the pan is rounded on the bottom to create a bowl shape.   Plain hoppers can be eaten with a variety of curries and relishes and are quite satisfying. 

 The pan is seasoned with olive oil and then the batter is poured in.  It looks easy but many restaurants have their own hopper chef who arrives with all his accoutrements at the ready. 

Hopper chef at Unawatuna,  Sri Lanka Photo by Mary M Payne
 A delicious dinner followed and then a surprise dessert. ... a  birthday cake with Happy Birthday David and Mary on it.    Bless you Dee.  What a great day. 


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