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Report 13 - 20 March 2010 - Goodbye Nauru/Hello Trincomalee
For my first three weeks in Sri Lanka I lived in hotels.
Very good, good and not-so-good hotels. So I saw Sri Lanka
from the tourist perspective first and it was very
acceptable. However that impression changed considerably
with the not-so-good hotel and then later our first house.

It is certainly not the worst place, from the modern
conveniences point of view, that I have experienced in my
travels but it does leave quite a bit to be desired in
several areas that could so easily be better

However, the most important factor anywhere one lives is
the people and on that score the Sri Lankans rate highly as
being generally very friendly and helpful, so the other
shortcomings have not been quite as important as they
might otherwise have been - or as they were in our last

Other positive aspects of living and working in Sri Lanka
are that some degree of English is spoken almost
everywhere and most signs and labels are in English; the
local food is good and many places cater for foreign diets
at least to some extent; the mobile telephone service,
cable TV and broadband internet are excellent and
relatively cheap; my working conditions, co-workers and
Client staff are good to work with; we have a vehicle at our
disposal and there are many famous places of interest to
visit, though most are a few hours drive away and
conditions have improved significantly in the north and east
since the end of the conflict with new projects being
announced all that time.    

On the down side Trincomalee has been much hotter, drier
and there is much more litter than we had expected. Most
buildings here, including many of the older ones, seem to
have been built with air-conditioning in mind.  I have been
working in my spare time since we moved into our house
trying to get some natural ventilation into it. I have
improved it a little but I still have a long way to go. The
house has a concrete roof so it acts like an oven and there
are no opening windows on the two sides to catch the cross
breeze. Unfortunately there are few suitable buildings
available for rent in Trinco unlike most other towns.

The other main problem is that there really is very little
for us to do in Trincomalee during the week as there is no
rugby or Hash House Harriers and we haven't yet met any
other expats living here, apart from an Italian couple who
run a small hotel just outside of town and who are pretty
busy most of the time.
Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Before the climb!
The highest point!
We go walking most evenings after work but there is really
only one reasonable walk nearby and that is up to the
famous temple at the top of Fort Frederick. But the
narrow road is usually crowded with worshippers and so we
just walk to the top of the approach hill twice and then
walk the long way home via the town to do some late

My job is leading a team of Sri Lankan engineers and
supervisors looking after several road redevelopment
projects throughout Eastern Province. That includes the
Trincomaee and Batticaloa areas. I spend most of my time
in the Trinco office but I visit the road site with an
overnight in Batticaloa once or twice each month. The
overall project is scheduled to last a little over two years
but my contract is initially for one year with the option to
renew. So we'll see how things are going by the end of the

So far we've been able to get away for a weekend in
Colombo and an overnight in Kandy, with a visit to Sigiriya
Rock Fortress on the way back.  Most other weekends we
drive about 100 km to Dambulla, on the road to Colombo to
do some shopping in their market which, though just a
collection of roadside stalls, has a much better selection
than the Trinco market.

We hope to report on visits to more historic site in future
weeks and I will also update our impressions and
observations of life in Sri Lanka.