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Sensational Sri Lanka

 

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Although Sri Lanka has had this name since 1972, many businesses have retained the old name of Ceylon. One of the major reasons, we're told, is that Ceylon has been so heavily associated with tea-growing for almost two centuries. 'Ceylon tea' is respected worldwide and it is the world's third-largest producer of tea.

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Many locals fish the waters around Sri Lanka, staying up all night on their outrigger canoes fishing several kilometres out to sea for cod and mullet.

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Hauling in the catch requires a team of men, usually about a dozen each side, dragging on thick ropes to bring in a net which would hopefully be full of fish.

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As in every country, dance is an important way of telling stories abut daily life. Here, these dancers mime the winnowing of rice using shallow baskets.

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Even though Sri Lanka is only separated from India by a strait, it is the worlds oldest continually Buddhist country. All temples have a Bo-tree because that was the tree under which Lord Buddha was seated when he was enlightened about 2500 years ago.

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Although the coastal areas are humid and tropical, at the higher elevations where tea is grown, nights and early mornings are cool and cool climate crops and herds of cattle thrive.

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The tea is grown on terraces, and in many places Australian gum trees provide shade. Much of the tea is still hand-picked. Over a million Sri Lankans are employed in some capacity in the tea industry.

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The Sri Lankan elephant is the largest of the Asian elephants and now the numbers are sadly vastly depleted due to the ivory trade. It is estimated there are only around 6,000. Around 70 injured and orphaned baby elephants are cared for at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Kegalle.

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Elephants are tended by people who feed them and lead them to the rivers to drink, and also scrub their thick leathery hides - something the elephants seem to love!

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Despite the beauty of the country - a lush green teardrop-shaped piece of paradise - the real attraction is its friendly people. It may produce tea, but the smiles of its people are everywhere.

 

 

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