2019 HAL World Cruise
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Colombo is an interesting port that we have visited many times. This is where we have been terrified by a tuk-tuk driver hijacking us for an increased fare to return us to our destination. But this is also where we have been enchanted with the modern architecture; ancient temples; and the beautiful, colonial era Galle Face Hotel. (Please refer to the prior posts of March 20, 2018 and March 15 & 16, 2017 for more about Colombo!)
On this trip, we elected to take a ship’s tour, by train, to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.
Hope you enjoy the photographic visit:
We docked in Colombo around 6:00 am. The morning was hot and hazy. The dock is noisy and busy. This is a very active commercial port with containers piled everywhere!.
Formerly known as Ceylon, this is an area bustling with trade–especially tea–as well as rubber, coffee, pepper, and spices.
More land has been claimed for the port area and the expansion is in progress. It will be interesting to see how this works out. The proposal includes plans for a dedicated cruise terminal. Obviously, the global economy is booming.
We see tourism spurring the economy in most ports we visit. Hasn’t it always been so? Exploration leads to increased trade and prosperity–whether you’re Capt. Cook introducing novelties to the homeland, or Rog & Sandy cornering the market in magnets!
In Colombo, trade is exercised right at the end of the gangway!!!!
But I digress. On this visit we boarded the tour bus and headed off to the Colombo Fort Railway Station for our adventure to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.
As we departed the port, we were struck, once again, with the contrast of the old and new that is most graphically evident in this part of the world.
Our drive to the station took us through the old (Colombo Fort) part of town.
We pass the clock tower and lighthouse.
We pass children on their way to school.
And we arrive at Colombo Fort Railway Station.
We are escorted to track #10 were we find a locomotive that looks quite old. But we noticed it’s last inspection was only a month ago. They seem to be maintaining the equipment.
This really is an old railway car!
But then the old train pulled out. And we awaited the arrival of our train!
And here she is! This is supposed to be a steam locomotive, but it sure does look like a diesel engine! It will pull the 2 cars dedicated to the Viceroy Special, a renovated pair of cars from 1928.
The Viceroy Special, established in 1986 by Hemasiri Fernando of JF Tours & Travels, was inspired by the train regularly used during WWII by Lord Mountbatten of the Supreme South East Asian Command, the SEAC Special.
Both cars are designed to seat 28 passengers, served by 2 stewards.
We will be served tea later in the ride.
Or, we could take advantage of the lounge located at the rear of the car.
After arriving in Pinnawela, we walk through this shopping area to the elephant bathing place in the Ma River.
The very first thing we notice is the elephant dung in the street.
Elephant poo is collected and recycled into paper products such as note-cards and writing paper. And no, although I may be known as the family “paper magnet,” I was not inclined to buy any!!!!!
We continued walking the gauntlet of vendors on our way to the Ma River.
And the elephants come into view! They have come down the river to this point where they will leave the water and walk along the street, among the tourists, on their way back to the orphanage situated across the main street.
We watch the babies play.
The elephants walk right up to the fence to grab bananas. Hawkers will sell you bananas for $2.00 each.
And then the parade begins as the elephants return to the Orphanage.
It’s the Baby Elephant Walk!!!
Looking for a handout!! Bananas preferred.
They really do get “up close and personal”
That is quite a nose. Looking for bananas!!!!!
Afterwards, lunch at the restaurant includes Lion Beer.
Also, a nice buffet assortment of local delicacies.
Once we finished viewing both sides of the orphanage grounds and had shopped the gift shop, we headed back to Colombo. Once again aboard the Viceroy Special.
This is a view of the Captain’s Garden Hindu Temple as we approach the railway station.
And, a short bus ride later, we find ourselves back at the port. Ready to move on to our next port-of-call.
Our next port-of-call is Cochin, India.