Sunday, December 27, 2009

Trinco revisited........!!!

Trinco revisited....................By Sharm de Alwis

The change in the climate and the physical features was discernible as we crossed from the North-Western to the Eastern Province. This was my fourth visit to Trinco.

I had first been here as a lad of nine when my father was stationed as Captain Adjutant in the R.A.S.C. camp situated in the Portuguese fortress, Fort Frederick, built in 1675. That was the time that the Armistice was to be signed, bringing an end to the bitter World War ll.

The childhood memories I latched on to were the hoary tales of Lover’s Leap, the Swami Rock, Marble Beach, China Bay, the spacious living, the velvety, smooth sea, excursions to Pigeon Island and striking up acquaintances with the soldiers. Life was on the easy track and people would exchange smiles and pleasantries with strangers.

My second visit was when we went to Trinco on our honeymoon which lasted one whole month at the cost of only six hundred rupees for the entire duration including petrol! Petrol in 1970 was only Rs. 2/40 per gallon and a bottle of pure bees’ honey which was purchased in Dambulla cost only five rupees.

Trinco had remained idyllic and bathing in the Hot Springs, taking a boat ride to Muttur to pray in the majestic Hindu temple, enjoying platters of seer fish and jumbo prawns washed down with copious draughts of Adam’s ale as I had temporarily abandoned Bachchus are thoughts I have held dear to my heart.

Driving out of Trinco to Nilaveli, the environment looked ravaged. Hulks of homes where once the chatter of kids and parents made life meaningful dotted the drive. New houses were being built to bring back the gladness of paradise but it will take years for Trinco to smile again. Grief has had a long cry.

One of the first things we did was to take a boat ride to Pigeon Island. At ten in the morning we were the first amongst the pigeons but within the hour its fame as a choice resort asserted itself with clutches of tourists coming in to dip in the natural pool formed by crag and coral.

Palmyrah fences and also improvised fences with the use of straightened out barrels and stems of coconut and palmyrah fronds were the feature. The clusters of plamyrah palms rising majestically in close proximity of coconut trees made my heart bleed to think that we humans have not been able to take a lesson from nature.

The Nilaveli Beach Hotel where we spent three nights lazing our cares away has an abundance of slim berry trees around it. It was akin to living in the forest but with creature comforts. Hemingway would have found it a part of paradise.

The compelling lure of water - is it a throw back, I wondered, to a time in pristine history when man was once a fish and a woman, a mermaid. The fine grains of unpolluted golden sands mocked the beaches at Dehiwela and Uswetikeiyawa.

Life is as leisurely as the sea waves that sweep gently over the beach. I would be up hours before the crack of dawn, spend an hour mulling over the past, the present and the future. My 15 and 13 year old grandsons are, normally, avid ‘explorers’ and although I tried, they would not be awoken an hour later, fatigued by long swims. The other three grand-children have yet not come of age for ‘manoeuvres’.

Trinco’s natural harbour, the fifth largest in the world and one of the most beautiful was of great strategic importance to the Allies during the Second WW and lies resplendent now that the guns are silenced.

Although exuding a passionate sensation of liberation, Trinco is yet shedding the scabs of war with a myriad roofless houses and road surfaces that are now being speedily repaired.

Home-spun tourism is apace and the floating populace is enraptured by the skyline composing golden glows of sunrise and the setting of the sun, the rapturous turquoise blue waters stretching its allure for miles on end and the sea food of all types at fetching prices.

New buildings sprout in a feverish hurry and Channa Daswatta or Amali de Mel can lend fresh architectural thinking to give an aura of luxurious living within means. Right now, Trinco is a tinsel town with thosay kadays and cheek by jowl stalls selling showy trinkets to prove that "all that glitters is not gold".

Trinco awaits flattering advances from high life style gurus to improve her cosmetic beauty as well as to generate the engines of economic growth that had been stifled for decades on end. Paradise Road, Saskia Fernando Gallery, Odel, Gandhara, Beverley Street and other Gallery Boutiques together with Abans and Arpico will find niche markets from the insular as well as the floating markets.


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