In May I traveled outside of Sri Lanka for work and headed back to the West, at least for the first part of my trip. In the course of one month I visited England, the US, Switzerland and Thailand. My first stop was England to give a workshop on housing and security in Sri Lanka. It was my first time in England, so after visiting the University of Essex I took a few days to wander around London and soak up the Spring air.
Hyde Park was a great place to relax and see the black swans
Big Ben. By now you are probably realizing that all I did was walk around and see the landmarks from the outside.
I wish I had enough time to look inside but I found just walking around and soaking up the atmosphere had its own rewards. Of course I also found time to hit the pubs at night…
After a nice few days of catching up with friends in London I took the opportunity of being “close” to the US to visit home for a week. It is amazing how used to flying I have become when the 7 hour flight from London to Boston seemed short…especially compared to the 22 hour flying time from Sri Lanka!
After arriving in the US I headed straight up to New Hampshire to my grandparent’s lake house on Lake Winnipesaukee to help clean up the yard and house and get it ready for summer.
A view of the lake from my dock.
After New Hampshire I headed down to Jamestown, RI
where my parents live. Jamestown is a small island in Narraganset Bay located next to Newport, where the bay meets the Atlantic Ocean.
The town docks are right downtown and just a 10 minute walk from my house.
Typical New England coastal scene
After a weeks vacation work needed me to go to Geneva, Switzerland to attend the Human Rights Council at the UN headquarters. It was an interesting experience to see the Human Rights Council in action and to tie together the work I have been doing in the field with what happens at the international level.
A view from inside The Palais des
Nations. The chair in the distance is called The Broken Chair.
The Chair’s torn off leg symbolizes the suffering of land mine victims and was erected to pressure governments to sign the international treaty to ban land mines in 1997. Unfortunately not all countries have signed the treaty (including the US) so
the chair remains.
A soccer ball was floating above (it was down for maintenance) the fountain in preparation for the Euro Cup being held in Switzerland. It looked very cheesy surrounded by the beautiful lake, mountains and historic architecture
A marina on the lake
The weather was beautiful and all of Geneva was out enjoying the lake. After work each day I would meet up with friends and join hundreds of other young professionals for drinks on the water.
After a week of living in a small, expensive hotel in Geneva (complete with only one bathroom on each floor for everyone to share), I headed back to Sri Lanka
and then was off a few days later to Thailand for work. I spent 1 week in Chiang Mai
at a workshop on participatory training methods and then a long weekend with my girlfriend in Bangkok.
Ancient wall and moat in Chiang
We only had a few days in Bangkok and most of it was spent shopping for things not available in Sri Lankan.
Every major mall has a shrine outside.
We spent a good part of our time at the Weekend Market (Chatuchak
The market covers over 35 acres, has over 15,000 stalls and sells just about anything you can think of, from furniture
, to clothes, to exotic animals.
If you are in the market for a Buddha this is the place for it. However, it is difficult to say which ones are real antiques
and which have been made to look old to fetch a higher price from tourists.
You can get whole Buddhas or broken up piece by piece.
These poor little guys must have been really hot