When Sri Lanka was called Ceylon

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Lately, it has been very difficult to write about the island of Sri Lanka. The delusions and greed of a family have brought the country to its knees. Tourists do not see the despair of the inhabitants. It’s better that way. We publish below a text by our friend, Jacques Baschieri, who worked at Carlson Wagons Lits when the network had more than 250 travel agencies in France. A whole era!

“I did not take many notes because I had to devote almost all my energy to solving problems which were raised neither by a lack of organization, comfort of the hotels or reception but by the behavior of the “travellers” senior executives of an insurance company who had been rewarded, thanks to the work of their canvassers, for the increase in sales of a new financial product. Everything was due to them, they had been contemptuous, ungrateful and sometimes even odious towards me and especially towards Karou, my guide friend, who had been very affected.

However, I have kept positive notes in memory of this trip.


Ceylon, which for a long time was only Colombo’s stopover on the Far Eastern line, contains treasures. Its successive civilizations with legendary origins have left dazzling vestiges and the island has not buried its history under layers of earth or sand. Its immense and glorious past sleeps under the stars.

Ceylon is the island of time abolished… Each road forcing the dense forest with the smell of cinnamon leads to a temple, to a frozen statue, to a Buddha with his gaze turned towards the invisible.

I remember, it was the full moon, the slow cortege of processions had started again, crowned elephants at the head, umbrellas and parasols oscillating towards mysterious sanctuaries. I thought, like the attraction of nirvana, this vertical time, you can’t escape Ceylon, the fascination of the past, it lies on the lookout at every bend in the river at the edge of every tea plantation and bamboo forests that filter the light, lakes covered with lotus whose flowers are picked to be placed at the feet of Buddha statues.

Ceylon is the serene calm of the beaches where fishing nets in acid flows dry in the sun very close to Bentota on the south-west coast where the descendants of the Muslim colony who settled there in the 11th century still live.

It is also the rhythm created by man for these centuries-old steps of Mihintale, flat stones climbing the hill, eroded by the footsteps of pilgrims.

The offering of flowers mixed with incense sticks has just taken place at the top of the mountain, where the enormous dome of the dagoba stands, marking the site where a relic of Buddha was deposited.


In Ceylon we experience the rhythm, that marked by nature in these alleys of coconut palms in the botanical garden of Kandy, and especially the slow rhythm of life where beings keep the simplicity of gestures, attitudes and seem complicit in the natural beauty of their island.

Man only moves to fight time. Ulysses, ancestor of all travel guides, is never as satisfied as when time stands still in Ithaca or Djerba for example…

If the “Odyssey” agency had been able to develop its tours to the East, what description would we have today of Sri Lanka, Ceylon, the island of the Cosmos which Buddha himself promoted; The island where the hours stretch to infinity, as Amanda, a disciple of the master, wrote. »

Marginal notes on my travel diary


Thanks to Serge Fabre and the editorial staff of Airlines and Destinations.com…
It is an honor to be in your columns..

I love this beautiful collection of notes which evokes the serenity and beauty that emanates from this wonderful island where it’s true time seems to have stopped. .. just a very small observation concerning the spelling of the disciple (and cousin) of Buddha, it is Ananda with a n…

The eye of the expert, Thank you Mireille, Of course ANANDA.
For my part, I corrected the typo in the original text of “marginal notes…”

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