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Notes on the Geography of Sri Lanka: Town and Country

Pictures taken along the way from Colombo to Anuradhapura.

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Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 1

We're doing this by road, but once there was a railroad north to Jaffna.  The southern part of the line is still there, with some bridges worthy of heritage status.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 2

We've slowed down at Katupota, a few miles west of Kurunegala.  Why all the people?

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 3

Market day! 

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 4

It's warm outside, so there's a large area under cloth.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 5

Cool off with fresh fruit juice.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 6

Do we have a way to cook vegetables?

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 7

The competition.  The gentleman on the right, wielding the wicked knife, was selling coconuts.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 8

The water in Sri Lanka's king coconuts is especially good.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 9

There's some fairly specialized merchandising.  Salt in this case.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 10

The merchandise isn't all local, though; out back there's a parking lot with the trucks that brought a lot of it.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 11

Prankster: a friend decided that a serious pose wouldn't do. 

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 12

Dried fish.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 13

Why not clothes?

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 14

Plastic ware.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 15

Moving on.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 16

Up the road, at Tambuttega, this merchant has apples from China.   That's a testament to modern logistics and rising incomes.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 17

Across the road, these Chinese-made hand tractors, hint at one source of that income.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 18

The tractors are equipped with cultivators.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 19

There's enough money for motorcycles and bicycles, too.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 20

A hand tractor and cultivator in a rice paddy, where the soil must be made impermeable by through mixing, or puddling.  Often it's still done with animal traction.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 21

Getting the rice paddies ready.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 22

A month later, the farmers will be sprinkling urea.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 23

Gottcha!  Any ideas what this is?

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 24

 We're just west of Wariyapola.  Next to it, a pond with a million soaking coconuts.  See the connection?

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 25

We'll pull the soft husks up here and shred them.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 26

We'll fluff the fibers.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 27

Then we'll dry the coir by spreading it out like super mulch.  You can wade through it--it's very soft.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 28

Time to bale.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 29

The results are tidily stacked.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 30

And this?  Sri Lanka is famously divided into two parts, the wet zone and the dry.  The north is the dry, and without irrigation it's pretty barren.  Recognize the tree in the background?

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 31

Close-up.  It's widely grown in the United States and used for barbecues.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 32

Right: it's mesquite.  Check the house?

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 33

It's traditional mud-and-wattle.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 34

The roof thatching is admirably done.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 35

One source of income is selling firewood.  It's not cheap--about a dollar a stack.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 36

Up in Anuradhapura, finally, there's a town with a lot of modern trappings.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 37

A few miles north of town, there's a corner store.  See what's just to the left of the yellow sign?

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 38

Yes, it's a phone booth--actually a cell phone mounted in the booth by the enterprising storeowner on the left.  He says he takes a 100 percent markup on the per-minute charges he pays the phone company.

Sri Lanka: Town and Country picture 39

How far does the infrastructure reach?  This far at least.  The owner of this station at Anuradhapura also runs a fleet of buses.


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