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Sri Lanka: Pearl of the Indian Ocean

Sri Lanka hangs like a jewel off India's tip, surrounded by the Indian Ocean.  Marco Polo called it "the finest island of its size in all the world." 

Anjalendran : architect of Sri Lanka
David Robson ; photography by Waruna Gomis.
North Clarendon, VT : Tuttle Pub., c2009.
During the past 25 years of civil war in Sri Lanka, Anjalendran has stayed on, creating architecture that has attracted interest across the entire Indian subcontinent. InAnjalendran, David Robson explores this unique man and his uncommon vision. Anjalendran's buildings have a simple directness and although totally modern in spirit, they acknowledge the rich traditions of Sri Lanka. Whether working with ample budgets or at rock bottom cost (like his SOS ChildrenÆs Village orphanages), his work focuses not only on creative buildings, but—:a la Frank Lloyd Wright—:also their landscaping, furniture and decoration. Just as interesting as the architecture is the process by which Anjalendran works—:from home, never employing more than four student assistants, with no office, no secretary, no car and no cell phone. He operates without a bank account and has never signed a contract with either a client or a builder. With stunning color photographs, plan details and behind-the-scenes insights,Anjalendransheds light on the works of this exceptional man.
     
Knitting and tea : 25 classic knits and the teas that inspired them
Jane Gottelier ; photography by Patrick Gottelier.
New York : Potter Craft, c2009.
Twenty-five patterns provide the inspiration to make a wide array of items from a tea-centric swirl tablecloth to a vintage tea dress to a Cricket Sweater and tea cozy. Delectable teatime recipes are included.
     
War, evil, and the end of history
Bernard-Henri Lévy ; translated by Charlotte Mandell.
Hoboken, N.J. : Melville House Pub., c2004.
In a series of daring first-person reports, Bernard-Henri Levy investigates five of the world's most under-reported and horrific war zones -- a world of kamikaze killers, child soldiers, and hidden mass graves, where thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians are dying in conflicts that have been going on for decades. What he witnesses, says the great French philosopher, leaves his philosophy "shattered." But it leaves him, as well, with a vision, and a quest: to make history finally take note of these wars and their perpetrators, and to make society take note -- right now -- of the "damned" who are their victims. Book jacket.
     

Serendib

Sri Lanka has been known to explorers since antiquity.  Arabic explorers called the island "Serendib."  This is the basis for the English word serendipity, an apt term for an island with happy discoveries around every turn. 

Devastated by Tsunami

On December 26, 2004, Sri Lanka was devastated by an enormous tsunami.  Over 30,000 people died and 2.5 million people were displaced.  World governments and aid organizations rushed aid to tsunami victims.  The rebuilding continues.

Although it is only the size of West Virginia, Sri Lanka boasts an incredible variety of unique experiences to beckon the visitor. 

Many travellers seek out Sri Lanka's palm-fringed beaches and fine surfing. 

Misty mountains in the island's center offer a respite from the tropical heat and provide perfect growing conditions for the Ceylon tea introduced by the British during colonial rule.

Nestled in the mountains is the ancient capital of Kandy, home to the Buddhist Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth).  During the annual Kandy Perahera festival, the tooth (said to belong to Buddha himself) is paraded through the streets on an elephant's back, accompanied by dancers, drummers, and torch bearers.  

Thousands of pilgrims and tourists visit the ancient city of Anuradhapura each year to view historic Buddist temples and the famed Bo tree.  The tree was planted in 245 BC to symbolize the establishment of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.  It is said to have been taken from the original Bo tree under which Buddha attained enlightment and is one of the oldest known trees in the world.

Sri Lanka's bounty is reflected in its cuisine.  Rice is served with a variety of curried meats and vegetables.  "Curry" refers to a combination of spices, rather than a single spice, and includes the native cinnamon, cloves, cardamons and nutmeg that have attracted traders to Sri Lanka for centuries.

Visitors to Sri Lanka will never forget this "Pearl of the Indian Ocean."

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff