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Notes on the Geography of Sri Lanka: Trincomalee

Trinco, for short, is the great natural harbor on the east coast of Sri Lanka.  Political troubles have kept it from living up to its potential.

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Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 1

The road in from the north, with fuelwood delivery by bicycle.

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 2

The coast here is Tourist Beautiful, even Tourist Picturesque. What makes Trinco a port, however, is the hill in the background, which creates the only stretch of cliffed coast on the whole island. It also creates calm water here and especially in the harbor that lies on the other side of the spit seen here on the right and tying the mainland to the hill.

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 3

The road from the spit to the rocky hill leads to this old tunnel, piercing the wall into the old British naval base.

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 4

Nowhere else in Sri Lanka do you find coasts like this.

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 5

The view south.

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 6

This is Tamil country. Hence the Hindu shrine atop the cliff.

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 7

A fishing boat passes below.

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 8

Looking back to the town, whose position on the linking spit is shown well here, along with the two anchoring grounds on either side of the spit.

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 9

There's plenty of room on the spit to dry fish. (Flakes of spicy, dried fish are a popular, even classic condiment in Sri Lanka.)

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 10

The Christian cemetery. The monument in the foreground will be of interest to Jane Austen fans.

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 11

Hard to read? "Sacred to the memory of his Excellency C.J. Austen, Esq., Companion of the most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, Rear Admiral of the Red and Commander-in-Chief of her Majesty's Naval Forces on the East India and China Station, died off Prome, the 7th October, 1852, while in command of the Naval Expedition on the river Irrawady against the Burmese Forces, aged 73 years." This Austen was the younger of Jane's two brothers and was born several years after her. He died of cholera and was probably buried at sea--this monument being merely a cenotaph. Jane Austen died much younger than either of her brothers and so would have known nothing of this.

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 12

Main street. Things are quiet today because Buddhist nationalists have just insisted (Spring 2005) on placing a large statue of the Buddha at a nearby intersection. It's a provocation in this mostly Tamil community, and there are soldiers everywhere, imposing an uneasy calm.

Sri Lanka: Trincomalee picture 13

Businesses struggle to stay alive.


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