28 April 2010

We made it... to one corner of Lanka?!

that is how I felt.. considering the staggering distance we traveled today. If I compare the 2 trips of Tantirimale *in last year* and our latest, I think the latter was much more tiring and probably even longer than the former.. is also how I felt.

Nevertheless it was a splendid trip my family had with my relatives from mom's side.. where only 1 cousin was free to attend as my other cousins were all too busy to join.. like last time. -__- Still it was fun having my jovial lil cousin sis around.. and even more jovial and young-at-heart aunts and uncs around. hehe..

Did I say where we went?

It was to see the stupa of Somawathiya that is as sacred as our own Maligawa in Kandy that I've been talking about more regularly. Somawathiya is where the right tooth relic of our Lord Buddha is enshrined.. while Dalada Maligawa claims to have the left tooth relic.

We were also planning to visit one of Lanka's best World Heritage Sites known as Polonnaruwa Gal Viharaya.. which is also a major tourist attraction.

But due to spur of the moment our trip's organizer, my punchi (mom's youngest sis) suddenly declared,
"Haven't we all seen Gal Vihare so many times, so how about Medirigiriya Watadage for a change?" and she said that while we were returning from Somawathiya on our way to Polonnaruwa. O__O

So off we went to see the watadage.. totally unplanned! *had to ask for directions umpteen times* -__-

Medirigiriya Watadage is no ordinary place either cause it is the best among all Lankan watadages (Stupa houses) that flaunts the most finest stone carvings.

En route we passed 2 nature reserves (Somawathiya and Minneriya) and 1 spooky jungle (Habarana = safari hub)! I was straining my neck to see some wildlife around and well.. I did have some weird, unexpected and wonderful encounters en route.. that I would talk about.. with spicy pics and tales I've stacked on my cam and my head, one by one, eventually.

So.. for now.. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... zee ya laterzzzzz!

24 April 2010

Cat Tales

While Ratty talks about Squirrel Tales and Rain talks about Mushroom Tales (read as Smurfs Tales) I thought I should talk about some Cat Tales since there's too many cats in and around our house as of late! O__O *7 of them to be precise; if I omit the visiting neighborhood cats!*

The long story short, I saved a mom cat and its 4 new born kittens some months back from a vicious mongoose family attack. I gave them a cushioned box, fed them daily and even communicated more often with them. After a couple of weeks the mom cat without a word of thanks transferred the kittens to their original home, my neighbor's house!

Well.. it was then we got to know that the mom cat belonged to them! Unwillingly our neighbor took their pet cat's family in and fed them for a month or two. *the aunt might be allergic to cats so she hates them, but her daughter loves them too much*

And then.. one day all of a sudden the very cat family with only 3 kittens *yep, sadly one was missing* appeared before our house. Since then they live here.. outside though, as my own pet cats *who are grown ups now* have declared war against the invaders. And my parents too hate having too many cats inside the house. -__-

So we're waiting till someone adopts them, but the candidates who appeared before us aren't eligible at all.

You see, two girls *in middle school* were the first candidates. They came to our house, stamped their feet so loud, screamed at the poor kittens, dashed after them scaring the living daylights out of me as well! Mom wasn't around at that moment. The next day they calmly told my mom that they 'simply tried to catch the kittens'. -__-

The next candidate was a small girl *in Preschool or elementary school* came with her mom and demanded my mom to give the cute kittens. My mom asked if the lil girl could take care of them. The lil girl said she's already used to taking care of her pet cat at home. Mom asked if her pet cat will accept these new kittens.

Ok.. hold your breath. You are not going to believe what this tiny girl said.

She yelled at the top of her voice and demanded, "I'm gonna throw out that big old cat and bring in the lil kittens!"

Mom was dumbfounded and I became frozen.. as a block of Arctic ice.

After they left, I told mom don't even think of sending these kittens to that devil brat's house! And mom nodded silently, still confused.

We heard the lil girl still screaming at her mom while leaving, saying that she's going to throw out her pet cat for real. Her mom pleaded not to do so. And asked don't you feel sorry? And the devil brat said a big NO! *Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.. brats these days!*

So.. we are patiently waiting for someone kind enough to adopt them. The kittens are big enough to wander about and they even visit their old home and neighboring houses. So they vanish all of a sudden and appear all of a sudden before us. O__o

They just love playing hide and seek.. 24/7! O__o Their favorite hideout is the 'Pichcha' or Jasmine trees that mom took so much care to grow and keep them surviving during the driest summer we had. And these lil mischievous bratty kittens just climb up and down and hang upside down and swing about and play as much as they want on them. -__- They are just too cute to be described in words. ^__^

Ok.. enough with the Cat Tales.. you so wanted to see the kittens right? Couldn't capture all of them in one shot cause they never sit still and pose for me.. except during these times..


You won't believe this but they're so afraid of me but not at all afraid of my cam! They won't even let me pet them! So not fair. =D


This is a Paparazzi shot of their mom cat who was taking a nap

While I was checking some cat pics on the net, I came across a one just like this. And when I checked its breed, guess what it was?

African Wild Cat! O__O


This is my most senior pet cat, the grandma cat, and my very first pet after we moved to this house in the countryside about 9 years ago. This cat might be 7+ years old. *ya, I should have asked for its birthday at least* -__-

This one's not related to the above cat family at all. But this grandma cat, who saw 3 generations of cats, is really kind towards the lil kittens but not at all towards their mom. -__-

On the other hand.. the mom cat, of those cute lil kittens, behaves very much similar to a wild cat going fhuuuuuuuu.. fhuuuuuuuuuu trying to scare away my original pet cats.. and sometimes even me and my parents! -__- *Grrrrrrr... cats these days!*

21 April 2010

Twilight Moon, Night Moon

Found these 2 unusually clear sky photos in my photo collection and couldn't resist the thought of sharing. I called them unusual since almost everyday I'm seeing so many cloud patterns, and so a sky without clouds was indeed unusual. *it happens when you become an avid cloud hunter*

I've no idea why or how the sky got so clear during those times *probably it was during the parched summer season* but... oh well.. who cares.. as long as I've got 2 unique photos to talk about. *pictures speak a thousand words, someone said so, and so.. I'll let them talk about themselves*

They were taken around a month apart at times falling around an hour apart! O__O Coincidence? *probability of an alien intervention = 99%*

If I remember right I didn't tweak their contrast or brightness *you can never trust my memory though* and only slightly cropped one of the pics. *got rid of a tree branch that made a conspicuous blot on one corner*


Twilight Moon

Subject: Crescent Moon *waxing moon, as per this calendar*
Date: 22nd March 2010
Time: 06:17 pm

Night Moon

Subject: Full Moon
Date: 28th February 2010
Time: 07:01 pm


PS: That lil white dot on the 2nd pic right below the full moon looks fishy right..? Who says that was a firefly? I bet it was a UFO returning from Earth to their moon base.

PPS: If I remember right it might have been the brightest star around that time. If not.. then it was reeeeeeeeeeeally a UFO! ^__^

Truth is out there..!
I want to believe...!!

18 April 2010

Unexpected Encounters

Last 16th was such an eventful day that started out totally unplanned at a totally odd time but things just turned out way better than we thought.. well.. not everything though. =D Since there's lots to tell, I'll postpone this story *with lots of plot twists* to a later date.

Oh and don't go away, cause I have just as interesting a scoop to tell you today. More than a story, it's about some of the unexpected encounters I had at this place of worship, Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, that I've talked about a number of times before. The photos I'm posting were captured on different days.

And the post is all about a bunch of lil fellows who call our pinnacle of reverence their home.

* CTRL + Click to expand images

Peek-a-boo! I see you!

Right at the entrance of the Maligawa there's a huge ornate gateway and when you pass through it you could see a moat from either sides. Often I've seen people *both young and old* taking a peek with utmost curiosity around here.

And since some time I too have been doing the same.. almost as a ritual whenever I visit here. To my surprise this was my lucky day.. for this is what caught my eyes and the lens.

I'm sure you can spot the fishes without a trouble but do you see anything else in the pic?

Of course.. there's a one that goes peek-a-boo! while stretching its neck as far as it could.. trying to eavesdrop the interesting gossip between the fishes.

It's a tortoise I think. Well.. I couldn't see its legs from up here, so can't be sure if it was a turtle or a tortoise! *I know that's not a good excuse* -__-

If you still couldn't spot it, then let me give you a clue. Look towards bottom left of the pic and you'll see the curious lil fella with a popped out head, on the lower step nearest to the waters.

That was it. I couldn't take more snaps or see what it was up to as my parents almost left me behind and entered Maligawa. =D

Grooming 24/7?

When you take the passageway that leads to the New Shrine Hall *which I've mentioned here, that houses a good number of Buddha images and beautiful paintings* you could see the sky between these 2 buildings.

Those slanted pillars carry the stunning golden canopy that hangs right above the repository that holds the Sacred Tooth Relic.

As you can *or can't* see in the above picture, there were about a dozen or so monkeys grooming here and there.. while some were leisurely doing roof edge walks and wall climbing.

I was quite interested in their grooming rituals so I thought to hang around a bit and take more pics. It was a sight to behold where one monkey would sit still while the other monkey would pick out ticks or fleas or whoever is bugging carefully.. one by one.. and nuke them!

But... one of these monkeys who was sitting at the edge of the roof nearly gave me a heart attack. You see it suddenly got an urgent call of nature and decided to free from its burden right from the same spot! O__O

And yep, you guessed it right. A sudden shower came pouring down and luckily I was around 3-5m away from the scene of crime, under a well sheltered spot, so I escaped unscathed. *phew, that was close* And I also prayed no one would take the very passageway and sure enough no one did. I released a sigh of relief and bid farewell to those ill-mannered monkeys and left the scene.. right away!

Ready or not.. here I come!
When I took this shot it was raining heavily. We were drenched from head to toe as the torrential downpour came suddenly and we had no time to collect our umbrellas as we were coming out of Maligawa and going through the Devala complex, which sits in front of Maligawa.

So we took shelter at the Natha Devalaya, a shrine dedicated to the deity called Natha. And then... someone caught my attention.

Can you spot it? This is the small shrine room and Bo tree in the premises of the Natha Devalaya. Someone was already taking shelter from the downpour.

'Why did the chicken cross the road?'

Well this lil fellow decided to answer that age old riddle and crossed over to our side.. just so it wouldn't get soaked anymore.

The chicken felt comfortable enough.. so it decided to stay over. And then..

.. a rooster appeared before us! I totally forgot where I was and started grinning like a hyped up journalist with a big scoop in hand. ^__^ And then...

"Hey, let's play hide 'n' seek"
"Sounds cool to me"
"Ok then, I'll hide and you seek"
"Righto. I'm off to hide"
"Then I'll start counting. One, two, three, four..."

"Cool.. but hey.. no cheating or peeking!"

While the white chicken decided to hide, the red rooster decided to stay back and count. And then...

"Darn, ya peeking roostah.. I told ya no cheating!!! Grrrr....."

Sadly I don't know how their game proceeded next cause we had to leave the spot thereafter. But there were more lil folks I found unexpectedly around here.

Like these pigeons who took shelter from the rain, while the chicken and rooster were busy playing games.

Can you spot them? There were 3 of them huddled at the top of the gateway *just below the roof* on the left side of the pic. You could also see a small stupa here *towards right side* and a Na tree *Ironwood tree which is also known as our national tree* in between them. I'm not exactly sure if it's a Na tree or not though but its flowers looked beautiful even from a distance.


The Devala complex is usually infested with 'Ge kurullo' also known as house sparrows. *mom calls them ge kurullo, not sure if they're something else* I usually see them perched on eaves or way up on gateways, chirping out loud. But this time I saw them on the ground for a change.

There's a kiosk right next to them selling various items for offering and such. And these birdies were here just before the entrance that leads to the Pattini Devalaya and Wel Bodhiya.

They were scouring the ground for food I guess and didn't mind me snapping them close by.

Wish I could have gotten a lil more closer to them but at the same time didn't want to lose a nice photo opportunity. Hope I'll get a close up of them next time.

That's it for today. ^__^

15 April 2010

Cloudy Couture 2010

Who says only humans are fashion concerned? I think even the clouds believe that in this day and age for them to be noticed by us *humans* they need to stick to haute couture.. coined as cloudy couture by their exclusive fashion designers.

All their countless designs basically belong to a handful of common types with tongue twisting names like stratus, stratocumulus, cumulus, altocumulus, altostratus, cirrocumulus, cirrus and cumulonimbus. *I know you didn't even bother reading the names =P*

You can click here to see some of their samples.

On a clear sunny day.. you may catch these cloud models doing the catwalk on their runway.. the endless blue sky. Don't believe me? Alright.. why not see for yourself.

* CTRL + click to expand images

Cloudy Couture 2010 Guide

It all begins with a line.. and ends with a line.

But if you care to take a peek..

you may see a flock of sheep..

or a jellyfish with long tentacles..

or finely sieved flour, ready to make a batter..

or a mirage before an oasis, that doesn't even exist.

And when the sun smiles upon you..

the wind will blow away your blues..

and let you soar high up in the sky, like a hawk.

For they are ready to dance like an ocean wave..

and flutter in the zephyr like a fluffy feather..

and even paint a picturesque portrait of the world.

So even if the world cracks up..

fear not..

for they will always be there to add color to your life..

..and let you smile a while. ^__^


Disclaimer: Cloud names exclusively from ucar.edu

13 April 2010

Saamaya, Sathuta Piri Suba Aluth Avuruddak Wewa!

How's Avurudu for everyone?

It's already that time of the year, when we Lankans *formally the Sinhalese and Tamil communities* celebrate our own new year that falls on 14th of April. Today *the 13th* is known as the 'Day prior to Sinhala and Tamil New Year' and tomorrow we officially celebrate our traditional new year.

There are so many traditional games, cycling and marathon races, beauty pageants and festivals organized throughout the country, so it has become virtually a countrywide celebration, where every community can get together, have fun and of course enjoy a huge array of mouthwatering traditional delicacies.

I had a lengthy post about avurudu *as we call it in Sinhalese* in my old blog, which I mercilessly nuked sometime back. So.. if anyone's interested in knowing more, click here.


Koha or cuckoo, our official singing birdie that announces the arrival of Avurudu, did visit us a week or so before Avurudu but.. on the very next day this koha was fired from his job and a new guy appeared to deliver the Avurudu message. O__o

Unfortunately the new guy didn't utter anything at all. *probably it follows the motto 'silence is golden* It did visit us for a couple of days in a row. It perched on top of a nearby telephone pole, a coconut tree beside the paddy field and a May tree that lied in between. It tilted its head up and down and sideways *turning only the head from 0 to 180 degrees* and kept scanning the area, for food perhaps? It even got attacked by a bunch of rowdy ravens while it was up on the coconut tree. But this guy didn't even budge. He simply titled its head whenever they attacked. *I've no idea if it was a he or she, but I assumed it was a he due to its cool personality*

Talk about a pride of a birdie, this guy was super brave and daring. But I wonder if it was injured for it didn't leave the area for a while. I've always seen them circling way above in the sky but never once saw them up close or on the ground. *I mean perched on a tree*

Too bad I couldn't get a clear capture of it but I did get hold of its silhouette nevertheless. Had to crop the images and enhance their brightness and contrast to get a clear view of it.

And now.. for this avurudu season, instead of our regular Koha.. I'm presenting you the new Avurudu announcer....


it's a bird...

it's a plane...

it's a superman...


it's a hawk...

I think... lol

Color: light brown *or brownish beige* with dark spots falling around its neck like a necklace
Height : probably around 1.5 feet
Wing Span: probably around 4-4.5 feet
Personality: Proud, arrogant, daring and cool


Coming back to Avurudu..

I'm sure everyone's really busy getting ready to celebrate avurudu these days. Me too decided to make some konda kevum today, attempting for the first time in my life! lol Hope I won't make a mess of it. -__-


Wish all Lankans around the world
a Very Happy and Prosperous
New Year!!! ^__^

05 April 2010

Magical moments of the heavens

Today I'm posting some photos I've captured on 3rd April 2010. One glimpse of the sky and the spur of the moment triggered these snaps.

Cause sadly a week or two back when something similarly magical appeared before me I missed the chance. *more like I gave up before even trying*

You see, I was in the middle of the Kandy town.. an hour or so before sunset.. hurrying home after shopping with my arms full of bags.. walking along a jam packed pavement with people buzzing about in warp speeds.. like in the midst of a giant ant colony. So.. pulling out my cam phone and aiming at the sky at a time like that... was more like.. out of the question. -__-

Least I've a blurry imprint of it. And I was totally surprised when I saw 'Eye of Sauron' in K's blog, cause what I saw was something similar.. but with more creamy toned fluffy clouds with dazzling golden silhouettes and vivid orangish glow just at the spot where the sun was hiding.. and there was a zigzag beam emitting from the sun looking as sharp as a laser beam. It also had silky-white-paper-fan-like-rays taking up more than half the sky's territory.

Too bad I missed it but.. nature was kind enough to present me another chance to snap from just outside my home.

Only one or two pics here have been cropped and none of them have been fine tuned, just to bring you the magic as it is. They're also posted in the same order I took.

And here they are.. the magical moments of 7 minutes!

* CTRL + Click to expand

Let the Magic begin...


as you go through these pics...

how each passing moment...

makes a wonderful difference...

in the plain blue sky you see everyday...


turning into something spectacular...

if only you care to look...


and enjoy...

the endless enchanting moments.. of nature.

04 April 2010

Slideshows for your blog

I wonder if anyone noticed that lil slideshow I used to have on this blog *on top of my right panel* sometime back. I took it out wanting to change the images but then lost track of the hosting site.. and soon forgot the whole matter. -__-

Anyway seeing slideshows again while visiting other blogs kind of reminded me of my own missing widget and as K too was looking for a blog slideshow with a higher resolution, I started Googling for them today.

So while googling I found not one but a whole bunch of them. I won't exactly say if they're good or bad *cause they aren't paying me to promote them* so why don't you try each and every widget out and see what's best for you! =D

They are all free widgets coming with various types of slide transitions, animations, special effects along with customizable sizes. So you'll have more than enough choices.

PS: while Googling I stumbled upon the site that hosted my old faithful teeny weeny slideshow.. and it was a site called goodwidgets.com

So.. here goes the links:

* GoodWidgets (8 different widgets, displays up to 40 photos)
* imageloop (16 transitions, 20 skins, 11 effects; whether they're cool or not you may decide)
* Picasa Web Album Slideshow (high resolution in large scale slideshow)
* Smilebox (100s of themes, but have to download a file to use it)
* Flickr (looks cool, have to download a file to use it, click here to see an example)

Hope this helps for those who want to add a slideshow to their blog and for those who don't actually need one but still too curious to try out a one. ^__^

03 April 2010

Seasonal Transformation

Remember I used to talk about a paddy field near our place in my old blog (Slice of life in the paradise isle)? I think I used to call it something like 'Lil patch of paradise..' *or was it something else?* -__-

Anyway here's a bunch of pics of the same paddy field during different seasons.. taken from late October 2009 to mid March 2010.

* CTRL+ Click on the images to expand them

October 2009

See a lot of white specks towards the top of the pic? These were the Black headed Ibis and Cattle Egrets who used to frequent and forage in the paddy field in big throngs. The largest flock of big Ibis I counted once was around 20 - 30. Haven't seen them in ages.

October 2009

December 2009

Filled to the brim with chocolaty mud.

December 2009

See the bare boughs of this tree? Would you believe this is the very 'Tree of Life' that was full of foliage that I used to talk so frequently about. Well it was the CEB folks who came and chopped off its branches cause we were having frequent power cuts those days. I miss the green of greenery but now I get to see a lot more blue of sky blue thanks to that.

*In case you wondered why this pic and the above one are resized, it wasn't me but my phone who did it, when I tried to move it from one folder to another.* o__O

January 2010

Emerald green carpet and a bunch of Cattle egrets.

February 2010

I really like this unusual cloud pattern. Will add a more clear capture of these clouds later along with my exclusive cloud gallery.

March 2010

Not sure if the paddy turned into these tones due to a good harvest or due to dehydration as there were no rains for months.

This is probably one of the hottest summer seasons we're experiencing here. Sometime back the temperature here went up to 33C reminiscing the Anuradhapura and Trincomalee climates. -__- Now the average temp. is always around 30C, when it's supposed to be hanging around 25C. *I need to double check if I'm living in the mild hill country or somewhere in the northern dry zone* o__O

We did have some heavy thunder showers, but only for a handful of days. It rained at the wrong time too, just when the farmers were getting ready to collect their harvest. Some were lucky enough to beat the rain, but the others ended up with sacks full of drenched paddy. Luckily it doesn't rain anymore so they can at least dry them up with the blessings of the scorching sun.
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