Building a New Life in Rural Sri Lanka

The Planter’s Bungalow, the first of three homes that are planned for Wild Buffalo Hill, a working tea and cinnamon estate in Sri Lanka. – Credit: Shehan Obeysekara

The Planter’s Bungalow, the first of three homes that are planned for Wild Buffalo Hill, a working tea and cinnamon estate in Sri Lanka. – Credit: Shehan Obeysekara


WELIGAMA, Sri Lanka (The New York Times) — It was a vacation for his 40th birthday that sold Paddy Dalton and his partner, Rob Ioannou, on Sri Lanka. Their stay at the Aman resort in the southern town of Galle was intoxicating enough that the couple returned three weeks later in search of a permanent home.

They found it on the first day, acquiring a working tea and cinnamon estate a half-hour drive into the hills behind the surf town of Weligama on the island nation’s south coast. Five years later, they have completed their first home on the estate, which comes in at 50 acres and employs about 30 people. Continue reading

Exploring the Surf in Sri Lanka

 Surfing at Arugam Bay, on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. Credit: Alex Frew McMillan

Surfing at Arugam Bay, on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. Credit: Alex Frew McMillan


ARUGAM BAY, Sri Lanka (The New York Times) — I blame Bethany Hamilton. Repeat viewings of “Soul Surfer,” the 2011 movie about the young surfer in Hawaii who lost an arm to a tiger shark only to return to competition, have left my two young children fearless in the ocean and enthralled with the sport.

So, with air miles to spare and vacation time to burn, my wife, two offspring and I made for Sri Lanka.

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Roaming the African, Er, Philippine Plains

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Some of the 35 Grévy’s zebras at Calauit Safari Park in the Philippines. – Credit: Alex Frew McMillan


CALAUIT, PHILIPPINES (The International New York Times) — The scene is familiar to anyone who has been on safari in eastern or southern Africa. Giraffes amble from tall tree to tall tree, nibbling away at tiny leaves. Zebras graze the short grass, their heads bent low. There are deer in the distance, and a hawk whirls overhead.

Only this is Southeast Asia, not Africa.

Calauit Safari Park is one of the oddest and least-known attractions of the Philippines, a haven for African wildlife that has operated for close to 40 years. Continue reading