My name is Mark Chappell, and I am visiting Sri Lanka from the UK for a couple of months, assisting ECO-V with a number of activities.
I will be writing a number of contributions to this blog during my time in Sri Lanka, offering a different perspective on ECO-V’s work and my impressions of the island.On Thursday morning I arrived shattered, but the friendliness, colour and bustle had me wide awake and desperate to take everything in. The assault on the senses has continued and I think it is fair to say that Sri Lanka has complete hold over me already.
The ride from the airport almost didn’t last long enough - I was desperate to absorb my surroundings. However, I was glad that I didn’t have my driving licence with me - I’ll happily leave that fun to those who know the “rules” of the Sri Lankan roads.
The setting here at the ECO-V headquarters is superb. Not far from the activity of Colombo, yet surrounded by greenery and wildlife. Shortly after my arrival here I was able to spend a few hours on the balcony, watching the wildlife that spills over from the nearby nature reserve, and soaking up the sounds of insects, birds and frogs.
Things started to happen from about 6pm - the sun was dropping quickly in the west, and birds started to head home to roost. This was great, but the best was yet to come. As it got darker, one, then a few, then hundreds of flying creatures appeared from the direction of Colombo city. Indian flying foxes (fruit bats) headed towards their feeding ground, and flew straight over my head. Thankfully, there were no falling guano incidents! It was a breathtaking sight.
The hospitality has been fantastic, the surroundings inspiring, the food delicious and I know that I will have a terrific and constructive stay in this amazing country.