Sri lanka

Tip-toeing through Sri Lanka

‘The first night I stayed in Kilinochchi, I was a little apprehensive,’ admits the usually cool-headed Vasantha, van-driver and narrator of all the stories in Noontide Toll. Kilinochchi was the operational centre of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) until the Sri Lankan army’s entry in January 2009. Now the town offers amenities like the Spice Garden Inn, with glass-walled cafeteria and reception desk overflowing with coconut flowers and bougainvillea. Yet its assistant manager, Miss Saraswati, belies such luxurious blandness. A rat suddenly appears in the café; immediately she hurls a bottle, breaking the creature’s skull without destroying the implement. ‘I stared at Miss Saraswati. “You learn to do

High tea in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country

In the bar of the Hotel Suisse, perched above the lake in Kandy (pictured), high up in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country, a driver touting for business smiles to reassure me that the British ‘left us many good things’. Trains, roads, the English language. And cricket, I remind him, ‘Oh yes, sir, cricket.’ I wonder what he says to French or Australian tourists. The Hotel Suisse was used as Louis Mountbatten’s South-East Asia Command headquarters in the second world war; these days it has something of the feel of an old-fashioned and slightly eccentric English prep school. If the Hill Country is not quite the last redoubt of Sri Lanka’s British

Portrait of the week | 21 November 2013

Home The government announced proposals for the National Health Service, including a law to criminalise wilful neglect by doctors and nurses, and a scheme to post online the numbers of nurses on wards. By the end of October, 219 households had seen work completed to insulate their houses under the government’s Green Deal, launched last January. Nick Boles, the planning minister, suggested that David Cameron, the Prime Minister, might like to revive the National Liberal Party, an organisation affiliated to the Conservative party from 1947 to 1968. The Foreign Office summoned the Spanish ambassador after a Spanish ship entered waters off Gibraltar and undertook surveying activity for 20 hours. A

Wave, by Sonali Deraniyagala – review

Sonali Deraniyagala’s horrific book Wave, about her experience in and after the 26 December 2004 tsunami that struck the south-east coast of Sri Lanka, is one of the most moving memoirs I have ever read. All year round, day and night, if you looked down that long two-mile line of sea and sand, you would see, unless it was very rough, continually at regular intervals a wave, not very high but unbroken two miles long, lift itself up very slowly, wearily, poise itself for a moment in sudden complete silence, and then fall with a great thud upon the sand.  That moment of complete silence followed by the great thud,