The sun’s come out and as always after a storm, the light this morning was glorious – gold and mellow and glowing.
It reminded me of the morning after my first Sri Lankan storm. R and I had been staying in the village of Ella, atop the Gap at the Southern edge of the mountains. Overnight, we’d had front row seats to a mighty thunder and lightening display played out on the plains below, and in the morning, on our way to catch the early train to Nuwara Eliya, were dazzled by a tree etched into the limpid air.
Serendipitously, our first sightings of Sri Lanka’s fabled tea country, just a little later, were lit by a similar etherial light (apologies for the lack of definition in these scans of old prints).
At Angkor Wat one morning, decades later, the sun shone like a spotlight onto the resplendent statue of King King Suryavarman II as Vishnu, fittingly godlike as supplicants came to pay homage, or seek succour from a 12th century statue of the great god/king of the Khmer Empire – once again resplendent after years of darkness and neglect.
Speaking of dark days, not since the war had England had such a dark Christmas as that of 1972. It was the year of the coal miner’s strike, and the first oil embargo – power was rationed three days on, three days off (Imagine working by lamplight in the offices of today!). Harrods, with its huge generator, was a beacon in an otherwise almost blacked out Knightsbridge.
And, because I must have been a Bower Bird or Lyre Bird in a past life (I’m so into bright things), three bright flowers:
A cluster of Tabaebuia flowers against the deep blue of a springtime sky
The burnt orange flowers of a Canna Tropicana ablaze in the sunlight
and a single hot pink cactus flower – all from my garden in Australia.
All thanks to Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack? for suggesting Bright things for her Travel Theme this week.
Once again a lovely trip with you, on a journey I’m unlikely to make myself….
It’s reciprocal! I did make it to South Africa, in 1972 but doubt I’ll be back in this lifetime. Used to be sorry I didn’t have a camera back then, but with posts like yours, who needs faded old prints to remember your stunning country? 🙂
Wow thank you so much for that… I think you might just find the country very different today from 1972… but if my blog helps you remember things I’m honoured to blog for you…
Well, I hope it’s different to 1972 – though nothing could change it’s stunning topography – it’s an amazing place and i’m lucky to have bloggers like you to show me what life – and nature – looks like there now. 🙂
Thank you Scrappy … 🙂
Gorgeous photos and post
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device
Bless you crazy craft granny on the move! 🙂
I’m sure that tree print is magnificent in its original form. Fascinating post as always.
it was about 20 years ago! Faded over the years and of course the negatives all turned to purple in the heat!
I am sighing in envious admiration of the quality and beauty of your photographs. Why does Vishnu have an orange T-shirt hanging from one of his arms?
I’m so glad you’re enjoying them Viv! Vishnu’s orange garment is a ‘dilly’ bag! Monks wear them as shoulder bags to carry their bowls, etc. 🙂
Thanks. It doesn’t seem a very reverent place to hang it!
I’m often surprises how things seem a bit irreverent, especially given the etiquette for obeisance, even of living monks – let alone god/kinds 🙂
The tree picture is super!
So glad you got it Stephen, despite it’s poor condition 🙂
Breathtaking sight of Sri Lanka after the storm. The green tea field is beyond words.
Isn’t it just! I think – obviously it was the light, and yes, the tea is incredibly green, but I took it from the train with a little instamatic camera and I must have been at just the right distance from the scene to hide anything that wasn’t part of the overall green!
The first image is really nice 🙂
Thanks Bashar – glad you liked it!
I always enjoy traveling with you through your posts!
Good! I’m over the moon to know I’m taking you with me on a trip … 🙂
Particularly like the first two – and such beautiful and exotic flowers.
Funny, isn’t it – in 20 years and all my subsequent visits, I’ve never captured shots which more perfectly describe my memories of the beauty that mesmerised me about this place.
Absolutely beautiful. Although these were copies of photos you can see the quality of the light after a storm. Marvelous. You always transport me to another world in your blog posts!
It makes me so happy to know I’ve succeeded in painting a picture of what I’ve seen – thank you Petchary 🙂
It would be rare post from you that couldn’t be described as bright… your images slake my thirst for all things colourful, and floral 🙂
I (almost) always feel like the luckiest woman alive – and spreading it round is part of the joy, EllaDee. Thank you dear for such kind and encouraging words 🙂
The tree is incredible. I would enlarge that and frame it!
I’m overhjoyed so many of you can see beyond the faded tones of the print to the gloriousness of that liquid morning! Many thanks for your kind comment Angeline 🙂
The cactus flower! It takes my breath away!
It was bigger than a tea cup Anne!
Gorgeous bright images. That last one reminds me of South Africa. 🙂
I don’t know whether it’s a South African cactus, ad, or a South American variety – but you’re sure to have seen them around Durban and other sub-tropical areas!
as always, wonderful photos. i especially like the first one. i am no stranger to storms, and what i like about them are the glorious “mornings after.” you captured one right here.
Ah … you know then 🙂
Love the light on the flowers… 😉
It was like a spotlight on those three 🙂
Although Harrods, the flowers and Vishnu are pleasing to the eye, it is the light in that first striking image that grabs me! Lovely shot of the tea plantation as well. Took me back to the days when we lived in the middle of an identical landscape 🙂
In the Western Ghats, Madhu, or up North?
I can’t remember what precipitated the headlong rush for the coast instead of taking the southern route through Ooty when I was in Mysore that time – I should have seen more of those great mountains, and the southern tea country.
In Coonoor, near Ooty. We were there for a decade before moving west to coffee country! Ooty has changed now, it isn’t the idyllic landscape that we knew anymore.
Wow – tea and coffee? Coffee likes it a bit drier than tea, is that right? A couple of intrepid growers have taken up coffee again but the blight in the 19th century turned coffee into tea almost overnight here and that’s when the deforestation of the island began in earnest. There’s little in modern times that has come close to changing the idyll as that, except along corridors like major roads – there, it can be difficult to see what people (me included) went on about. But along the B roads it’s untouched by time in any substantive way.
Tea plantations are amazing – similar in Kerala. Stunning – huge amount of work.
Every part of the estates manicured, like gardens – no wonder the Brits imported thousands of Tamil estate workers to do the hard work – there’s no way they’d have been able to produce tea without them.
Oh I didn’t know that. I worked with some guys who were Tamil Tigers when I lived in Saudi Arabia. I hated their leader.
Prabakaran, or the guy in Saudi?
Sorry, wasn’t clear – yes, the one with the moustache – it really annoyed me very much – despicable guy. They all had his photo in their wallets or at home of course. I really dislike the manner in which he conducted his ‘freedom’ fight.
Now this is very interesting – I’d never thought of those guys – the ones who got away, to work in places like Saudi – as carrying his picture in their wallets. We’ve heard tales of the ‘fundraising’ techniques the ‘financial arm’ of the Tigers – blackmail really – and the drugs and arms smuggling …
You know that there are two distinct groups of Tamils here in Sri Lanka? There’re the Tamils who arrived at or around the same time as the Sinhalese invaders from northern India a couple of thousand years ago, and the ‘EstateTamils’, indentured labourers imported by the Brits to run the estates? Shouldn’t elaborate further at this time, but it’s fascinating history.
I love Sri Lanka and Nuwara Elya, thanks for sharing the pics
So glad to hear from a Sri Lanka fan PBK – hope to see you over here some more before I leave 🙂