Motorcycle Journeys – From Anuradhapura to Padaviya


Nanda Wanninayaka with Gamini Akmeemana

Nanda Wanninayaka with Gamini Akmeemana

I am a motorbike lover. I like to ride long distances. The longest distance I have ridden is from Mahawilachchiya to Kahathuduwa, Piliyandala via Colombo. I have ridden between Colombo and Mahawilachchiya many a time. Road is very good via Puttalam and it is fun to speed up along the road. The other long trip I made was to Gomarankadawala, Trincomalee with my nephew and it was unforgettable because we were drenched in the torrential rain on our way back. Most exciting tour was the one I went to Talawakele from Badulla with my newly married wife in 2006. My most recent long trip was to Padavi – Sri Pura from Anuradhapura for a meeting. I often ride to Kanagarayankulam in Vavunia too. The bike trip I went to Welioya with the journalist Gamini AKmeemana was memorable because he rode a very old Honda CB 200 (6 Sri 7517) and I rode a brand new Bajaj Pulsar 180 and still Gamini was way ahead of me with his old machine. I think more than the bike model, he knows right techniques in bike riding. That night we stayed in a hut in a small farm just below the Padaviya wewa with a farmer friend of Gamini. That was in 2005. It was fun riding with Gamini but I never got a second chance with him.

Touring for Malwana Rambutan with Jose Jacob from Kerala, India


Rambutan at a stall

Rambutan at a stall

Last year Leslie Varghese from Kerala, India visited Sri Lanka to look for Malwana rambutan. This year he sent his director of their farm here. We went on a rambutan tour on June 17, 2014 to both Kaduwela and Malwana.

Jose loves fruits. He has a big farm in Kerala which he started as a private venture and now doing well with a staff of around 100 people. They grow a number of fruits including rambutan. Jose fell in love with Malwana rambutan as he thinks it is the best variety in the world. He has traveled to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. where rambutans are grown but says Malwana is the best.

I met Jose at Ja Ela and we went to his hotel in Wellawatte through Katunayaka – Colombo Expressway. After having lunch we first went to Kaduwela using hotel transport. We stopped at Koswaththa and tasted some rambutans and a durian there. There were both yellow and red rambutans and both tasted equally good. Jose is of the view that durians in Thailand are the tastiest.

At a durian stall

At a durian stall

From there we went to Sudu Mahaththaya’s rambutan farm in Kaduwela. I was supposed to be the interpreter to Jose throughout the tour but I found the young driver of the hotel, Mohammad was up to the job and was doing the interpreting part very well. He had attended an international school in Wattala and joined the hospitality industry as he sees a bright future in it.

Sudu Mahaththaya's Rambutan farm

Sudu Mahaththaya’s Rambutan farm

Red rambutans

Red rambutans

Yellow rambutans

Yellow rambutans

A durian tree at Sudu Mahaththaya's farm

A durian tree at Sudu Mahaththaya’s farm

Sudu Mahaththaya’s nephew was in the farm and he was first reluctant to let us come into the farm but after we explained our purpose which was to learn about rambutan farming he let us in and answered all the questions put up by Jose. Sudu Mahaththaya’s farm is around 20 acres big according to the nephew and they have planted some durian trees also in the farm. We tasted a durian there and it was very tasty. According to the nephew the seeds were brought from Thailand and planted there. Though Jose wanted to buy red rambutans here they were all ordered by businessmen in Jaffna. They were packing them into 500-fruits-packages to be ready for the buyers. We ate yellow rambutans there. Jose met a group of fellow Keralites in front of the farm. They were very happy to see each other and had quite a lengthy chat with each other.

Jose Jacob

Jose Jacob

Wanni

Wanni

Next we went to Malwana. Rambutan season in Malwana was almost coming to an end. First we went to a small garden where around 10 rambutan trees were available. These small gardens belong to the villagers and they sell the harvest for a smaller profit for small scale buyers as the villagers cannot wait till the big buyers. Big buyers go to bigger farms.

Then we went to another farm in Malwana. Coincidentally this was the same farm I took Leslie last year. It had big rambutan trees that were more than 20 years old. The farm had been leased out to a small scale businessman and he looked after the farm. He had taken the farm for a 600,000 LKR lease for the season.

With the man who bought the farm on a lease

Jose and Mohammad with the man who bought the farm on a lease

Next we went to Silva’s rambutan farm in Malwana. Silva was not available. That was a pretty big farm and the trees were much younger. There were three workers who answered all questions asked by Jose and we spent some good time there. They were very friendly despite the fact that we were not buying rambutans. After all the questions were answered we said goodbye to the workers. They gave some rambutans to us free of charge. Though Jose tried to pay, they refused to take them. This is the Sri Lankan hospitality you could see in most parts of Sri Lanka, especially in villages.

This year, rambutan price started at 10 rupees a fruit and have now come down to 3.50 rupees a fruit. Since the season is coming to an end, the price can again go up to 10 rupees a fruit in the farms. The farmers have to take a lot of precautions to safeguard the harvest. They light bulbs at night over the tree canopy. They use a homemade device to make an unpleasant sound to scare away birds and bats at night. The farmers say that they do not consider much about parrots and squirrels eating fruits during the day time as the damage is not significant and they believe that they too have a right to eat the fruits as they also live in the immediate environment.

Since I felt Mohammad, the driver can do the interpreting job well I asked Jose that it would be advisable for him to go on tour with Mohammad the next day. Mohammad is a good contact if any English speaking tourist wants to travel in Sri Lanka. His driving is good and communication skills in Sinhala, Tamil and English are commendable. Jose had planned to go to Kandy the next day. We came back to Pettah and I said goodbye to Jose and Mohammad.

The Difference Between Sri Lanka and India


A nice review about Sri Lanka by an Indian lady. Thought it is worth re-blogging.

Rakhee Ghelani

It had been 18 months since I had been outside of India.  That’s a long time, and to be honest I didn’t think going to Sri Lanka was really going to be a big change from what had become normality to me, after all at some points there is only 30 kilomtres separating Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka, as I discovered when visiting Rameswaram.

How wrong was I?

From the minute we got off the plane I knew I was in a different country. It wasn’t just a case of a “same same but different”, it was a competely new and refreshing experience.  So exactly how is Sri Lanka different from India?

The People

The first thing I noticed was the people.  They are polite, respectful and considerate of others.  I was astonished at the airport as a car slowed down to let us cross the road.  I have…

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රථවාහන පොලිසිය රථවාහන තදබදය වැඩිකරනවාද?


traffic police sri lanka

මම මෑතක් වෙනතුරුම සිතා හිටියේ රථවාහන පොලිසිය මංසන්ධිවලට යොදවන්නේ වාහන තදබදය වැඩිවනවිට බවත් ඔවුන් එම වාහන තදබදය අඩුකරන බවටය. නමුත් වසරක් පුරා දිනපතාම පාහේ කොළඹ නගරය පුරා කරක් ගසන මට එය එසේ නොවන බව තහවුරු වී ඇත. කොපමණ තදබදයක් තිබුනත් ස්වයංක්‍රීය රථවාහන සඥා එළි වලට අනුව රථවාහන ගමන් කරන්නේනම් වැඩි තදබදයක් නැතුව වාහන ගමන් කරතත් පොලීසිය යෙදූ සැනින් තදබදය ඉතා ඉක්මනින් ඉහළ යන්නේ සමහර නිළධාරීන් හිතුවක්කාරී ලෙස එක් අතකට පමණක් වාහන යොමු කරන නිසා බව මට පසක් වී ඇත. ඔබට විශේෂයෙන් සිකුරාදා දිනට මෙය කොලඹ නගරයේ අත්දැකීමට හැකිය.

රථවාහන පොලිසිය මහා මාර්ගවල රථවාහන හැසිරීමෙන් ඉවත් වන බවට පසුගිය කාලයේදී ප්‍රචාරය කළත් නැවතත් ඔවුන් යොදවමින් පවතී. ඔවුන් ඉවත් කළ කාළයේ කිසිදු කරදරයකින් තොරව ස්වයංක්‍රීය සංඥා මංසන්ධිවල රථවාහන පාලනය හරියටම කළේය. නමුත් නැවතත් කාගේ හෝ උවමනාවට පොලිස් නිළධාරීන් මේ කටයුත්තට යොදවා රථවාහන රියදුරන් අපහසුතාවයට පත් කරමින් තිබේ.

මෑතක සිට කොළඹ නගරය පුරා මංසන්දිවල ට්‍රැෆික් ලයිට් වෙනුවට පොලිස් නිළධාරීන් වැඩි වැඩියෙන් යොදවනු දකින්නට ලැබේ. පොලිස් නිළධාරින් යෙදූ විගස වාහන තදබදය අධික වේ. මෙ බව මේ වන විට අදාල අංශද දැනුවත් වී ඇති බවත්, ඒ නිසාම පොලිස් නිළධාරීන් මංසන්දිවල නොයොදන ලෙස තීරණයක් ගෙන තිබූ බවත් අසන්නට ලැබේ. එහෙත් කවුරු හෝ ඔලුබක්කෙකුගේ මුග්ධ තීරණයක් නිසා නැවතත් පොලිස් නිළධාරීන් වාහන හැසිරවීමට යොදවන්නට පටන් ගෙන තිබේ. මෙයින් අපහසුවට පත්වන්නේ අපය. කාට හරි පොලීසිය මහජනයාට ප්‍රදර්ශනය කිරීමට අවශ්‍යනම් ඔවුන්ටත් පොලිස් ස්ටාර් වැනි රියැලිටි ෂෝ එකක් කළ හැකිය. එසේ කර හෝ අපව මහපාරේ රස්තියාදු කරන එක නැවැත්විය යුතුය. ට්‍රැෆික් ලයිට් ඇති මංසන්දි වල නොව, පොලිස් නිළධාරීන් යෙදවිය යුත්තේ පාසල් වැනි තැන් වලත්, අතුරු පාරවල් ප්‍රධාන පාරට වැටෙන තැන්වලටත්ය. එසේ තිබියදී ඔවුන් ස්වයංක්‍රීය ට්‍රැෆික් ලයිට් ඇති මංසන්දිවල යෙදවීමෙන් මුළු රථවාහන පොලීසියම මහජනතාවගේ උසුළු විසුළු වලට ලක්වේ.

හොඳම දෙයනම් හැකි ඉක්නම්ණින් මොරටුව විශ්ව විද්‍යාලය ලවා හෝ හරි හමන් සමීක්ෂණයක් කරවාගෙන (මොරටුව විශ්ව විද්‍යාලය රථවාහන සම්බන්ධ සාර්ථක සමීක්ෂන මීට පෙරද කර ඇත) මෙහි සැබෑ තත්වය හඳුනාගෙන වඩා කාර්යක්ෂම පොලීසියද, එසේත් නැතහොත් ස්වයංක්‍රීය මාර්ග සංඥාද යන්න බේරාගත යුතුව ඇත.

බජාජ් පල්සර් සමග මගේ ප්‍රථම ප්‍රේමය දෙදරා යමින් පවතී……..


පල්සර් ඩිජිටල් පෙට්‍රල් මීටරය

පල්සර් ඩිජිටල් පෙට්‍රල් මීටරය

මම මෙතෙක් මිලදී ගෙන ඇත්තේ බජාජ් මොටර්සයිකල් පමණි. මුලින්ම පල්සර් 200 එකක් මිලදී ගත්තෙමි. දෙවනුව පල්සර් 150 එකක් පසුගිය නොවැම්බරයේ මිලදී ගත්තෙමි. මීට පෙර මම ලිව්වෙ බජාජ් පල්සර් මෝටර්සයිකල් වල හොඳ පැත්තය. ඒත් අද නම් යන්නේ බජාජ් පල්සර් මෝටර්සයිකල් වලට බැටේ දෙන්නටය. බජාජ් පල්සර් සමග මගේ ප්‍රථම ප්‍රේමය මේවන විට දෙදරා යමින් පවතී.

පළමු මොටර්සයිකල්  එකේ ඩිජිටල් පෙට්‍රල් මීටරය හරියට වැඩකලේ නැත. ෆුල් ටෑන්ක් පෙට්‍රල් ගැසූ විට පෙට්‍රල් සීරො පෙන්වය්. පෙට්‍රල් සීරො උන විටදි ෆුල් ටෑන්ක් පෙන්වයි. එය කීප වරක්ම රෙපෙයාර් කළත් කිසිම වැඩක් වුනේ නැත. අන්තිමට මෝටර්සයිකලය විකුනා දැම්මේද ප්‍රධාන වශයෙන්ම මේ නිසාමය.

මම මුලින් සිතුවේ ඩිජිටල් පෙට්‍රල් මීටරය අකර්මණ්‍ය වූයේ මගේ අවාසනාවට කියාය. ඒ ගැන නැවතත් දෙවරක් නොසිතා අලුත් පල්සර් 150 බයික් එකක් මිලදී ගත්තේ නැවුම් බලාපොරොත්තු ඇතිවය. නමුත් ගත්තු දාම බයිසිකලය ගෙදරට පැද ගෙන ඒමේදී රබර් ෆුට් රෙස්ට් එක බුරුල්වී ගැලවී ගියේය. ඒත් එක්කම ඩිජිටල් පෙට්‍රල් මීටරයේ ප්‍රශ්නයද මතු විය. බජාජ් සර්විස් සෙන්ටර් එකකදී එය රෙපෙයාර් කර අලුත් කෑලි දැමුවද කිසිම පළක් නොවීය. පසුව දැනගත්තේ බජාජ් පල්සර් වලට එන ඩිජිටල් පෙට්‍රල් මීටරය තවම පර්ෆෙක්ට් නොකල තාක්ෂණයක් බවයි. එහෙනම් ඔවුන් ඩිජිටල් පෙට්‍රල් මීටරය සවි කර  වෙළඳ පොලට නිකුත් කලේ මොන මළ මඟුලකටද?

තවමත් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ අලෙවිවන බයික් අතරින් සුන්දරම නිමාව ඇත්තේ බජාජ් පල්සර් 150 සහ 180 මොඩලයන්ටය. බයික් එක හරිම හුරුබුහුටිය. ඒත් ඒ සුන්දරත්වයට යටින් ඇත්තේ එතරම් හොඳ කොලිටි එකක් නොවේ.

මෙසේ ලියන මම සමහර විට ඊලඟටද පල්සර් එකක්ම මිලදීගත හැකිය. ඒ පල්සර් හොඳ නිසා නොව, බජාජ් සර්විස් සෙන්ටර්ස් හැමතැනම ඇති නිසාය.

Yarl IT Hub


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During my last visit to Jaffna, on the invitation of Ms Gowri Ananthan, one of the founder members of Yarl IT Hub of Jaffna, I had the pleasure of attending the Yarl IT Hub’s January 2013 meeting with my friend Wasantha Wijewardhana. The event was held on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at IIS (Institute of Informatics Studies) City Campus.

Gowri is trying to make a prototype under the name of Himalaya Creations, so that there would be a proof of success and it could give courage for others to come back and form an industry in Jaffna, Gowri believes.

She further says that the Silicon Valley / an Industry will not form by itself, and someone should work on it. As per the vision states, Yarl IT Hub is formed to make Jaffna the next Silicon Valley.

There were around 50 youth at the meeting, mostly from ICT institutes in Jaffna. The organization’s vision is “To make Jaffna the next Silicon Valley.”  There is nothing wrong in dreaming big.

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This is the agenda of the meeting.

  1. Introduction to mobile computing

Presenter: Bala

Team Lead

  1. Student answers to 4 questions with respect to future of mobile computing – Gowthami from IIS
  1. Introduction to Android Programming

Presenter: Vanjikumaran

Senior Software Engineer

  1. Augmented Reality

Presenter: Vimal

Senior Software Engineer

Demo: Sujeewan (Demonstrated his final year under graduate project)

  1. Arimaa team update – on the progress of the implementation of their concept)

Presenter: Jayakrishnan Rajagopalasarma (Leader of the team which won Yarl Geek   Challenge – Season 1)

  1. Yarl IT Hub Update

Presenter: Sarveswaran

Lecturer

We listened to the first 4 presentations and out of them only the first two sessions were in English. I wished the rest of the programs also would be in English. But if the youth are more comfortable with Tamil, presenting in Tamil can be justified. I found the participants’ English was good enough though.

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The presenters were very energetic and knew their subject areas well and the attendees also were very enthusiastic and actively participated in the sessions.

Their blog is quite resourceful and you can download past presentation slides and articles as well. I think they should also upload the presentations of the January event also as quickly as possible.

It is high time that Refresh Colombo people invited members of Yarl IT Hub for their presentations and vise versa. We can achieve a lot together.

Please find the photo album of the meet up at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.423090191104567&type=1. In case you cannot access it, please join the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/264218806991707/ so that you can access it.

Trip to Velanai, Jaffna


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Last Friday (25th of January, 2013) I went to Jaffna with Nirrosion. Er.. it’s not a spelling mistake, that’s how he writes his name. We started from Ja-Ela at around 10 pm in his car and I don’t remember anything beyond Nochchiyagama till I reached Nallur in Jaffna as I fell fast asleep. It was around 6 am when we reached Jaffna. Nirrosion’s wife and daughter, a three-year-old also joined the trip as her first reading of alphabet ceremony had been arranged at Krishna’s house in Jaffna.

After reaching Krishna’s house in Jaffna I had a cup of tea. I was introduced to Wasantha, another friend of Nirrosion’s from Rathnapura. We had a chat and I retired to bed to have some more sleep.

I woke up and had Pittu Kottu, a novelty for me, for breakfast. I met a young man called Thuwaragan who runs a small video creation company called Himalaya Creations  He took Wasantha and me to his house and we were shown the short documentaries and TV commercials a they had created. Those are fairly impressive for a young team like his. We also met the CEO of the company a young lady called Gowri, the elder sister of Thuwaragan, who had come from Singapore for a short visit. She also is originally from Jaffna and works in Singapore now. She invited us to take part in Yarl IT Hub meeting held at IIS (Institute of Informatics Studies) that day. I had read about Yarl IT Hub from Indi http://indi.ca/2012/02/jaffna-as-an-it-hub/ and I didn’t think I would be able to attend a meeting of theirs.

We were invited to see a videoing of a dance item for an advertisement by the same video company I mentioned earlier and we went to St. John’s College, Jaffna in the evening. The boys I met there could converse with good English but they said the same standard cannot be expected elsewhere as only few city schools produce good English results.

Boys' Dance

Boys’ Dance

Completed video of the song.

We came back home and I started reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist novel given by Wasantha. It is an inspiring story.

The next day we had lunch with a couple from Jaffna at Krishna’s house. It was a mix of a Jaffna and Down South curries and they were tasty.

In the evening we went to Velanai in the island of Kayts, around 10-15 kms away from Jaffna peninsula. The road was not so bad. We first went to the small beach and spent some time there and then went to a village in Velanai. Only a part of the village has electricity and there is a primary school and a community hall to start the project. We also met the Thalaivar (leader) of the village and he is keen to start the project in his village.

It is a small fishing village and Nirrosion and Wasantha plan to start an ICT and English education project in here. My mission was to do a simple feasibility study and help them write a project proposal in this regard to be handed over to funding agencies.

My New Bajaj Pulsar 150 Bike


With my Bajaj Pulsar 150

With my Bajaj Pulsar 150

I sold my Bajaj Pulsar 200 through ikman.lk a week ago and bought a new Bajaj Pulsar 150. This is cuter, lighter and cheaper compared with Pulsar 200. This consumes less fuel and easy to handle. I haven’t ridden it faster yet as it is advised not to speed up at least till the second service is done. I don’t think it will be that comfortable when speeding up compared to Pulsar 200. Pulsar 200 was a rocket!

I bought red and black model to please my son as I thought he would prefer red. But after I brought the bike home he said he preferred all black Pulsar 200 I had before! He also is a fan of black as I am.

This costs a whopping 273,000 LKR with one year’s full insurance. Had to buy it on a lease and will have to pay even more as interest. But I cannot operate without a bike and I cannot afford a car as yet. Besides, I prefer to ride bikes as it is in the open air than inside a cubicle like in a car. Only problem is when it rains. I got caught in the rain during the past few months almost on a daily basis but got cold and fever only twice.

I bought the bike from Mahawilachchiya as my niece is the manager of a Bajaj shop and I didn’t have to go through all the difficult paper work and providing guarantors, etc. I rode the bike to Ja-Ela the next day without the number plates and only with a temporary plate with the chassis number and the engine number provided by the vendor. I was stopped by the traffic police several times and I was let go as they understood it was a new bike. But according to the law you could be fined if you ride a bike without getting it licensed. The temporary plate allows you only to take the bike from the vendor to your residence.

Bajaj’s Pulsar series (except 135 model) is the most beautiful bike model I have seen. Ever since I saw it first I am in love with the model. My next dream is to own a Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS. It is still not in the Sri Lankan market. It is sportier and more masculine.

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I Sold My Motorbike Through ikman.lk


With my Bajaj Pulsar 200

With my Bajaj Pulsar 200

I had decided not to sell my Bajaj Pulsar 200 motorbike before I use it for 5 years. But suddenly I decided against it and sold it when it reached 3 years and 8 months. Emergence of www.ikman.lk also was a reason for selling the bike. I wanted to test the site. I uploaded a classified advertisement about the bike. Within a week there were more than 5 offers and one of the offers matched the exact price I had quoted. Had I known ikman.lk was this powerful; I could have quoted a higher price and still found a buyer.

Two of the offers came from Anuradhapura and I was more interested in selling the bike to someone from Anuradhapura as it was registered in the North Central Province. A guy from Pandulagama, Anuradhapura called me and insisted that he was really interested in the bike and asked me to bring it over to Anuradhapura from Ja-Ela. Once I took the bike to him, he did a thorough check and again he brought a mechanic to my ancestral home next day and double checked that I was not selling a bike with poor quality. I loved my bike a lot and ensured I do the services on time and maintained the bike’s quality. Its only fault was the defunct digital speedometer which came as a factory fault.

We did the sale the following day and it was heartbreaking to part with my beloved bike. It was with me all these years and had been a part of my life. Parting with it was like parting with the first girlfriend. This was my first bike.

Ikman.lk advertises heavily on TV, radio, internet and other media. I rightly guessed that there should be a bigger hand behind the site and Indi had unearthed who are behind it. We are yet to learn what the business model of the site is. At the moment it is 100% free.

Advertising on ikman.lk is very easy and simple. You can try selling your property and anything legal under the sun through ikman.

Café Che in Colombo


Cafe Che, Colombo

I don’t know how you feel about this but there is a restaurant named Café Che in Colombo. I happened to be there last Friday for the farewell party of my colleague at Dialog, Kishor. After all, having seen all the stickers, T-shirts, tuition posters with Che’s images, you can’t blame someone for opening up a café with Che’s name.

Café Che, a Cuban theme restaurant, is situated along the Gandhara Street, the trendiest arts avenue in Colombo. There is no parking space and you have to park your vehicles along the byroads. Place is filled with famous Che Guevara photos, posters, drawings everywhere.

Before we went to the café we searched for its website www.cafecheonline.com and already listed down food items that were on the online menu as it would have been easier ordering them once we went to the place. But Alas! Once we went there they said that the website is not updated and you can’t have things in the online menus.

The boys working at the café were extremely polite and efficient and they took orders and double checked the orders with us and then started sending us dishes one by one. All dishes had something green. It was something unique with the place. I am a lover of green stuff and had a lot of them and when the main course came I didn’t have room for it in my stomach.

Food was tasty and place was quiet and I would recommend you to try it.