Innocent's Search

Sri Lankan Time



THREE DAYS after the bombing raid, Captain Jhon Plummer picked up a military newspaper in the mess hall at Third Regional Assistance Command. Pulmmer, 24, a North Carolina native and a career Army officern was on his second tour in Vietnam. Beneath the nacho exterior was a sensitive, divorced father. An accomplished helicopter pilot, he was now coordinating air support for ground operations.
Plummer opened the paper and saw Ut's picture of Kim, That pour kid, he thought. When he read the caption, "Crying children run down Route One after bomb strike," his heart turned over.
He remembered that day's orders. Around 1 p.m. he got a radio call, a Tac-E (tactical emergency indicating friendly troops were in imminent danger) from a U.S. military adviser in Trang Bang. "NVA Forces have us pinned down," he told Plummer. He asked for air support and gave the coordinates of the North Vietnamese troops, Plummer plotted them and saw they were on the edge of the village,
"What about friendlies?" Plummer asked, concerned that a bombing strike would endanger civilians. The adviser replied, "They are all gone." Pulmmer called the South Vietnamese headquarters at nearby Bien Hoa airfield and ordered the air-strike.
To be sure that the villagers had left Trang Bang, he called the American adviser at Cu Chi district headquaters. The message came back, "Confirmed. It's clear".
Now Plummer stared at Kim Phuc, her agony caught for eternity. His own son Louis was about the same age. He could almost smell her burning flesh.
He showed the paper to an intelligence officer sitting across the table In shock, Plummer said, I did that."
Kim survived, After 14 months and 17 skin-graft operations in Saigon's Barsky Hospital, she was discharged to the care of her mother. Her left arm was virtually useless, her hand closed into a claw. The grafts on her shoulders were so tight she couldn't turn her head. The hotter the weather, the worse Kim's back and arm hurt. The grafted skin had no sweat glands and its blood circulation was poor. "It feels like hundreds of knives are cutting into me," Kim said.
Her mother helped her exercise every day until her hand unlocked. But Kim's back and arm were covered with rippled skin. No one will marry me because I'm so ugly, she thought.
JHON PLUMMER'S tour of duty in Vietanm ended in November 1972 and he was transferred to Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he worked as a helicopter flight instructor. He kept his role in the bombing of Trang Bang secret, locked deep within his soul. It surfaced in the form of a nightmare.
First Plummer would see Nick Ut's picture of Kim. Then the image would widen to include her brother and cousins running alongside her. Finally, he would hear their screams, louder and louder until he felt surrounded by the accusing children.
Plummer began drinking heavily. In July 1973 he married for the second time, but he still kept his secret. No one can understand, he thought.
to be continued.....................


Kim Phuc is shaking with nerves. She has left her family and their small apartment in Toronto's Chinatown to fly to Washington, D.C. It is Veterans Day, November 11, 1996, and she is about to speak to more than 2000 people at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
For one man in the audience, a former U.S.Army officer who served two tours in Vietnam, today is a day he has long looked forward to-as well as dreaded. he and Kim have never met, but their lives have been inextricably entwined for 24 years.
NINE-YEAR-OLD Phan Thi Kim Phuc cowered inside the temple pogoda in the South Vietnamese village of Trang Bang. She could hear the dull roar of planes approaching. "I'm scared, Mommy," she cried. Close by were her father, a rice farmer, and her six brothers and sisters. Surely soldiers would not bomb a holy place.
The Vietnam War had begun a decade earlier, and in the summer of 1972 it was raging around Trang Bang, 40 miles northwest of Saigon on Route One.
Fierce North Vietnamese troops dug into bunkers northeast of the village and were threatening South Vietnamese troops, the ARVN, to the south. Caught in the middle were the 100 or so residents remaining in Trang Bang. Many had fled the village, but on the morning of June 8.30 had sought shelter inside the temple.
Suddenly, Kim saw yellow smoke billow up outside. An ARVN soldier who had also sought shelter recognized the markers. "They're going to bomb us!" he shouted. "Everybody run!".
Kim and her brothers, sisters and cousins ran out first, follower by her parents, grandmother, aunts and uncles, slowed by the small children they were carrying.
The planes, four single-engine A-1E Skyraiders manned by South Vietnamese pilots; flew over the village at about 600 feet. As she ran, Kim looked back to see four bombs falling. Seconds later she was engulfed in a cloud of smoke, fire and horror.
The bombs, canister filled wiht napalm, had smashed into the ground behind Kim and instantly ignited. The jellified gasoline, designed to stick to and incinerate anything it touches, splashed into Kim's back. Her flowered cotton shirt and pants-even her sandals-combusted. Napalm peeled the skin fron her back and left arm.
Terrified, Kim kept running. At first she felt nothing. Then she felt as if she had been thrown onto an open fire. In horror she saw the skin drop off her arm like clothes off a doll. As she ran naked down the road that led out of the village, she began screaming.
As Kim emerged from the smoke with her arms outstretched, an Associated Press photgrapher, Nick Ut, took her picture. Horrified journalistes poured water from their canteens over Kim's raw flesh. She fainted and they rushed her to a nearby hospital.
Few who saw Kim believed she would survive.
tobe continued.........................

Hospital Life in Paris

Unfortunatly I've got to admitted in a hospital in Paris, I was really worried as I can not speak French very fluently and how I gonna manage all the question asked. Hospital Croix Saint Simon was the hospital and I was at the 4th floor on room no 413.

The lady doctor who came to me and asked few thing in french and I understool half of it and I excused her and told that I can understand french but I prefer if you could speak in english. I never though that doctors and most of the staff spoke good english. It made me more confortable of explaining my problem to them in a right mannar.

Somehow my medical continued for 15 days at hospital and rest at home for one year. I basically got an infection on my right shoulder bone. Doctor said that it will take two months or less to weak the bactiria but for the total course of medicine takes one year to strengthen the bone and protect the rest of the bone from infection.

Beautiful place, good view, nice and fully hospitality staff and doctors were up on their profession, made me fell like home.

End of a War

There was a internal war which shakes the Island of Sri Lanka for nearly 30 years came to an end on last 17th of May 2009, where the brave Sri Lankan army capture the entire area of LTTE control and killed their leader Velupillai Prabakaran and his high ranked officers.
Now Sri Lanka will united under one flag. All our credits should go the President of Sri Lanka and the military.
India was also played the major role to support the army by detecting the hideouts of the LTTE thru UAV's.
By the firsthand LTTE has denied that their leader Prabakaran was not killed but few days later they admit that he had been shot down by the army on the 17th may 2009.

About Sri Lanka

Discovering Serendipity – stepping into a world of magic

Sri Lanka is paradise. A kaleidoscopic experience of vivid intensity, where colourful sights and brash sounds intermingle with confusions of aromatic spices, friendly smiling faces, cultures that reflect peace and tolerance, and religions that promote total harmony. Lifting the veil on this magical island reveals a country where ancient customs and traditions blend perfectly with modern life. For many centuries past travellers to Sri Lanka have enjoyed its tranquil hospitality, its spellbinding history and its outright friendliness. Today nothing has changed and its traditional welcome, ‘Ayubowan’ - may you live long - is extended to each and every visitor.

Colombo, invariably the first port of call of travellers, is a city proud of its mixed heritage. Colonial Dutch, Portuguese and British architecture, in the presence of the old town hall, parliament house, churches, cathedrals, tree-lined avenues, parks, railway station and government buildings, stand cheek-by-jowl with ultra-modern office blocks and five star hotels. Reflecting a more traditional way of life an eclectic intermingling of Hindu and Buddhist temples, spice bazaars, bustling street markets, gemstone, ceramic and batik stalls all add taste and flavour to this most vibrant of cities.

Snapshots of its colonial history are to be found everywhere; still in use the red pillar-boxes erected during the days of the British Raj, but more unusual to the foreign eye is the ubiquitous, omnipresent tuk-tuk, a motorised three-wheel vehicle. A cheap and noisy way to travel it is an experience to be tried, but perhaps only once.

Top quality hotels, of which there are many, add to the creature comforts of Sri Lanka. In Colombo the Oberoi, Hilton and Taj Samudra offer clients a world of serene grandeur and pure luxury, but for many people the Mount Lavinia Hotel, where guests are greeted by white uniformed solar topee’d doormen, is the most romantic. Once the residence of Sir Thomas Maitland, a British governor in colonial days, the hotel is named after a local dancing girl with whom he fell in love and who later became known as Lady Lavinia. This is one reason why the hotel is reputed to be the most idyllic in Sri Lanka and, because of its association with Lavinia, is a favourite venue for weddings and honeymooners.

Marriage ceremonies are conducted at many of the first class beach hotels that front the Indian Ocean on the south-western corner of the island. Along the palm fringed ribbon of white coral sand between Colombo and the world heritage site walled city of Galle, the Neptune - Beruwela, the Taj Exotica - Bentota, and the Triton Hotel at Ahungalla each provide exclusive romantic wedding packages. Elephants, colourfully robed and strewn with flowers, accompanied by traditional dancers and drummers, provide local colour at the ceremony during which, if she so wishes, the bride can add to the occasion by dressing in a traditional Sri Lankan saree. Here everlasting memories are created on the beaches of Serendipity*.

Sri Lanka’s beaches extend for over a 1000 miles around its coastline. Warm shallow waters, deep natural harbours, and still lagoons with underwater coral gardens are ideal for wind-surfing, water-skiing, wave boarding, canoeing, sailing, snorkelling, deep sea diving, exploring offshore wrecks, water polo and sea fishing.

The beach holiday is just one sparkling facet of the many wonders that constitute Sri Lanka. Up-country, in cooler climes, exotic wildlife, fascinating flora, ancient temples, rock fortresses and the many sacred relics that dominate the culture and history of Sri Lanka awaits the visitor, but to many travellers discovering the intricacies of the famous Ceylon Tea industry is a fascinating challenge.

Orange Pekoe, Silver Tips, Earl Grey, English Afternoon, and Green Tea with Jasmine flowers are typical of the choice selections of Ceylon Tea that are grown and processed in the cool, hilly regions of Nuwara-Eliya, Kandy, Udapussellawa, Uva, and Dambulla. In a fragrantly aromatic atmosphere, visitors can absorb themselves in the practicalities of tea processing, a skill seemingly unchanged for 150 years. Here they can follow the arrival of the tender freshly picked tea leaves, and view the various stages of preparation to final grading, weighing and packaging prior to export worldwide.

Especially recommended is a stay at the Tea Factory, which stands some 6,800 feet above sea level, just six degrees from the equator, in the lush green misty mountains of Kandapola. Built in the days of British Raj as a factory for tea processing, it has been sympathetically converted into a five star hotel so that much of its original style and machinery remains. Its reception area is where the factory’s leaf drying process was carried out, the tea packing room is now the hotel bar and the grading and sifting area is the restaurant and as can be imagined the views from the Tea Factory are breathtaking.

Important to Sri Lanka is the protection of its natural environment. Although visitors are encouraged to explore its Sinharaja rain forests, which is the sanctuary for over 170 varieties of exotic orchid, and Horton Plains - the only habitat in the world for certain species of fauna and flora - the government rightly insists on maintaining a definitive line between tourism and its very fragile eco-system.

In national parks such as Yala, Wilpattu and Inginiyagala, where leopard, elephant, monkey, deer, boar and bear roam free, conservation and safety is a priority, and visitors are taken by covered vehicle on safari to observe the wildlife. Arguably that most impressive of all beasts, the elephant, can still be seen wandering around in sizeable herds.

A project that enables the visitor to get close to nature without compromise is the Kandalama Hotel, the first building of its type in Asia to be awarded Green Globe 21 certification. Located on the border of a vast primeval forest its design gives centre stage to nature. Rocks, caves and even cascades of rain water add charm to its corridors, and forest trees brush against galleries and room windows, while flowering woodland creepers curtain balconies and the roofs are terraces of wild grass.

Just two hours by coach from Colombo is the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage where over 60 elephants displaced from the wild are cared for in their natural habitat. Elephant watchers can observe these magnificent creatures at close quarters, see them bathing in the river, and enjoy the sight of baby orphans being fed by hand. Without doubt a visit to Pinnawela is the highlight of their visit to Sri Lanka for many people.

Kandy is thought by many to be Sri Lanka’s most beautiful city. Situated centrally in temperate hill country it is the last capital of the Sinhala kings and is dominated by the Dalada Maligawa – the temple of the Sacred Tooth relic, where, it is said, Lord Buddha’s tooth is kept. For horticulturists the Royal Botanic Gardens in Peradeniya (close to Kandy) is a must, its vast acreage of carefully tended tropical trees, shrubs and flowers are undeniable magnetic attractions. For ten days each year Kandy is the setting for the festival of the August Moon. “Flaming torches blaze a trail for the glittering procession. Trumpets, conches, oboes and drums beat out a ritual rhythm for the dancers and rank upon rank of elephants – bedecked with golden caparisons – precede the lofted Sacred Casket, as late into the night the holiest of festivals is transformed into an unforgettable spectacle,” comments a local tourist brochure.

Also not to be missed is the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Founded in the fifth century BC, it is venerated as Sri Lanka’s Buddhist capital. Fifteen minutes away is Mihintale the mountain monastery connected with Arahat Malinda who introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Whether you travel north, south, east or west historical Sri Lanka can always be relied on to surprise and excite.

One of Sri Lanka’s most ancient and revered historical sites is Sigiriya, a massive 200-metre high rock fortress constructed in the fifth century AD. On its flat summit the ruins of moats, gateways, pavilions, a palace and pleasure gardens, that took seven years to build, still remain. On the rock face, the celebrated Sigiriya Maiden frescoes attract thousands of admirers each year.

The island is a fascinatingly beautiful experience. With its colourful mixture of ancient religions and cultures, friendly smiling faces, and a range of activities that embrace almost every taste imaginable Sri Lanka, the emerald pearl set in the Indian Ocean, is the tropical meeting place of old and new. Mass tourism has still yet to make its mark on Sri Lanka, and perhaps it never will, but for those people who do make the effort to visit this most fascinating country they will be well rewarded.

*Sri Lanka is often referred to as the land of Serendipity, derived from the Persian fairytale of the three princes of Serendip who had a wonderful talent for making fortunate discoveries by accident.