Thursday, 15 August 2013

day 11 Aug 15 Old Dutch fort, Galle and Sri Lankan dogs

Another morning of fine biking along small roads and through the forest and besides fields. We stopped for tea next to a school where a huge mural had been made of the Bhuddist way of life including touching one's parents' feet. The teachers in the group were envious of this example of discipline.

We spent the rest of the day in Galle where  one can still fell the Portuguese , Dutch and British colonial influences with Dutch street names such as Leyn Baan (Line Street) and there is a huge sea wall bastion now 600 yrs old and withstood the tsunami in 2002 unlike the new town.   The town is an enjoyable eccentric mix of old and new with trendy art galleries alongside red tiled houses and vast maritime warehouses.  I went into the  Dutch reform church  and the pastor must have felt very important preaching from his vast pulpit but there are but no Dutch gravestones after 1720. On the central square was  a delapidated magistatrates court which looked like a museum but is still in use and 300 cases had been heard there  3 days ago. Next door a lawyer sat in her office typing on an old type writer. The  town museum was ancient and filled with antique junk and  had a new jewelry store at the back for shopping deprived museum goers tired of the old stuff .  We also stopped at a quaint reading room  which had 150 paying members and English books and magazines run by a very elderly man and a young girl reading Harry Potter.  We escaped from the afternoon heat with excellent coffee in a trendy cafe. The coffee in Sri Lanka has been execrable, clearly quality only counts if tea is being drunk. We then took a local bus back to our hotel. The driver behaved as though training for Grand Prix and needed all the help he could from the the flashing Bhuddist and three Hindu gods above the dashboard. I hope they are keeping his next reincarnation away.

Since my encounter with the dog I have been following news stories about dogs. Sri Lanka has 2.2 million dogs and there is awareness of the rabies problem with an article in todays paper. The minster of health has promised  the eradicate rabies by 2015. This will be impossible since many of the dogs are strays and in dreadful condition. There is also a Bhuddist reluctance to cull dogs. The campaign will run into similar problems as other eradication campaigns such as leprosy. Leprosy has been eliminated as a public health problem here which mean that they have over 2000 news cases annually and have done so for the last 20 years.

Better just enjoy my last night on the beach and stop worrying about rabies

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