Galle, an expat favorite
Trip Start Nov 08, 2012
16Trip End Dec 10, 2012
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Galle is in the southwest coast that was hard hit by the tsunami. I cannot look at the ocean here and not be reminded of the horrible scenes on the nightly news in 2006. There was one report about 1000 people dying on a train as it ran along the ocean - that supposedly was near here. Obviously, I don't know what Galle looked like before, but I don't see very much damage remaining and they say that new construction is of better planning and quality in New Galle (not the old Galle Fort which sits much higher on a promontory) and the surrounding beach areas
Galle has a natural harbor and has been a trading center for centuries. The Dutch built a fort here in 1663. It looks like a medieval town with narrow passageways and streets, slowly decaying buildings, ramparts, and all the stuff a fort would have in-the-day are included in a cool dusty museum. There's a Dutch Reform Church, a mosque, a Hindu temple and a dagoba, a Buddhist place of worship and probably others we did not notice. The fort is prospering with lots of small hotels, and a couple of lovely colonial hotels. Thankfully, Galle is a UNESCO site so it should retain it's charm and the crumbling parts will be appropriately restored. I love the little boutiques, cafes, and artsy charm of the place. Guess there are many ex-pats who have decided to be a part of this mini community. Carmen and I have combed every street and taken a hundred photos, we love it!
ASIDE - China is a huge influence here. Carmen and I rode down here to Galle on a new superhighway that the Chinese built (part or all, I do not know). They also built a hospital in Kandy and assisted with restoration projects in the Cultural Triangle. I'm not sure many Americans realize the power of China in the world today.