The Beach

Yesterday we had a shorter drive. We stopped at a place called Pereliya where the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami had a major impact. It was here that a train was stopped by people running across the track to get to safety. Some of the people got on the train. About 1700 people on the train were killed within 10 minutes. The village was 99% destroyed and 2400 died. The disaster is commemorated by an 18.5 metre statue which is a copy of a Bahmian statue destroyed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The statue is the height of the wave. There are two people standing at the base of the statue so you can see how enormous the wave was. About 50,000 people were dead or missing in Sri Lanka but nobody knows the true total because the country was in the grip of a civil war with the Tamil Tigers and there was no accounting for the dead in the Tamil area which was quite extensive. A local woman showed us through a museum and told us the sad story. Canada sent the DART here and provided extensive aid. Our guide remembers Canada’s contribution. We saw an offshore Buddhist Temple which was undamaged by the tsunami and is considered to be particularly sacred. People go there to ask for retribution against other people who have done them harm. It is apparently quite effective! We then went to a restaurant on the beach for lunch and then came to our beach hotel where we have a free day today. I have a nice view of the beach. Tomorrow we go to Colombo where our tour ends.

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