a plan for a flight and fly to area for MCS-canaries



This too rosy blog needed some revision.
They are seen in blue.
The owner of the watta with the nickname ratta which means red in Singalese, did not keep his promises.
herefore the writer of this blog stopped cooperation hoping that a similar plan will be implemented once somewhere.

AKKA ALLIA WATTA was the pioneer name of an initiative started in may 2007:
a to flight and fly to area for people with MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) on Sri Lanka.
It was situated on 2.5 acres large land bordering the oldest wild park in the world:
that of Mihintale, with among others: elephants, leopards, wild swines, crocodiles, stags and a lot of types of birds. There is a little brick house (containing tree rooms with each its own terrace) and there will be built, according to shown interest, more little houses and huts; possibly from own design and/or totally made from natural materials. The "watta" is a splendid area with mowed meadows and on parts of it over man-high grass, palms, high shadow giving fruit- and other trees, many birds, lizards, squirrels and beautiful far views. It lies in a flat landscape with here and there steep rocks and mountains and lakes in which can be swum and there are many beautiful and interesting spots to visit such as the temple mount with many antique remains. Mihintale is a quiet borough and called: "the cradle of Buddhism". Each full moons- eve and -night there is a Buddhist festival with many visiting pilgrims. Sri Lanka is a beautiful island with several climates and with probably the cleanest air in the world! It is far from polluted areas; there are favourable wind directions and there are as well as no (especially important: no petrochemical) industry and also no wood fires!

"akka allia" Mirjam mirjamcs@gmail.com

*allia (elephant) because regularly when seen with the trunck/hose of a mobile air cleaner under my nose... for example when I was underway in tuktuk, much used in Asia for transport.
On Sri Lanka it is a covered three-wheeled motor bike in which, on a bench in the back, maximum three people can be transported.
After wondering glimpses at me and my guide/care taker,
he said: "Allia pettia": "Baby elephant"...

From NL to SL and WATTA!
a travel report

From Amsterdam CS you may go by train to Duisburg, switch on another train and afterwards get transported by the "Schwebebahn", the “hover train", to go to the airport of Düsseldorf. More skilfully was what I did on 1 May: in Düsseldorf "only" 1 switch.. (against the recommendation of an employee of the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Dutch railway) from whom I heard also there would be no carrier but instead, that proved to be quite possible: by means of Apcoa who charges 5 euros for every piece of luggage: tel.: 021114216637 and from Nederland: 00492114216637.
to hear then that the flight was postponed by an attack attempt by a Tamil tiger plane on Colombo’s airport... My phone number appeared not to be introduced at the charge office... as a result I got to know this information too late.
From July 2007: the night flights to Sri Lanka have been resumed and there are normally also direct flights to Sri Lanka but because of the riots these have been stopped temporarily up to November 2007, then again
MartinAir flies directly from Schiphol (Nederland) to Colombo.
A bit naive that I thought that the medical certificate I had sent to the charge organisation would be sufficient to effortlessly pass the borders with Jupiter (my portable breath protection device with hose and helmet). Several customs officers asked me many things: for example if I could
for example if I could disconnect the engine and put it on the luggage-check... "Then I must lie beside it..."
Fortunately I had my reserve engine near and could change it with which the one I used till then.
Hand luggage was also well examined but they thought my petroleum jelly to rub away fragrances and my droplets and food supplements not to be suspicious; I had only to throw away bottle half full water.
Of course I showed a self-portrait photograph, to be seen on http://mirjamcs.blogspot.com/ which I took during my previous flight/escape (in Dutch “vlucht” has this two meanings!; in Dutch “toevluchtsoord” is: to flight to area)
which was to Thailand and also my booklet about my affairs with bananas helped somewhat: http://mirjam-gone-bananas-english.blogspot.com/
In the plane to Dubai, for the first time since long, without breathing of course, I lifted the helmet flap between people to be able to drink and eat.
That caused a "burned" mouth and somewhat later, while I slept, for a shut throat for a moment and difficulties when swallowing.
Furthermore my travel turned out better than expected because I had, in contrast to daily in Nederland no heath attacks, “spring trembliness” or burning skin.
In the Dubai Airport custom authorities research followed - and question ritual for the departure direction Sri Lanka; this time my things where was palpated by female hands decorated with henna and my body got not touched.
During taking off from Dubai’s airport I noted much desert sand in the air till a rather high altitude, visible as a fawn-coloured vaguely transparent covering cloud and..

that the Arab frequently almost total body covert had made a switch to the Sri Lankan quart nudity; in this case of only the female stewards with their naked brown udder - abdomen - and back parties.
There were also nice male stewards but unfortunately entirely wrapped up in Western style..
Later I heard that these were Arab men.
During this flight helmet lifting went well: entirely without complaints!! there were thus none (or very little?) tourists in the half-full plane and it became clear that Sri Lankan generally don’t use synthetic fragrances.
Arrived on Sri Lanka and waiting in the file for immigration, I read "possession of forbidden drugs leads to death penalty".
Later Ashanka, my companion and care provider, told me that also smoking in public can lead to severe punishments since the new government was installed:
It is forbidden to smoke in every public place, also on the streets.
Who gets caught, goes to prison. Alcoholic spirits also only at home can be taken and in restaurants a.s.o. when the drinkers, in the last case, afterwards let transport themselves to their homes.
After leaving the airport and a short drive, we arrived in Catamaran Beach hotel and for the first time in almost nine months I stopped my mobile air cleaner and inhaled sea air

and later somewhat incense smell in the hotel room. Sheets were perfume free! And the soap I only smelled after a approach up to a distance of 6 inches.
The fragrance was pleasant: of flowers.
And I had no "tightened up sense of smell" or fright responses; also later on none when I smelled somewhat exhaust gas, perfume or smoke.
Thus it went entirely well!
For certainty I thought to sleep on the covered terrace in front of my room, what the hotel owner did promise that he would care about my security.., but I did not succeed to sleep long because of the tickling mosquito paws on my face.
So I slept in the hotel room and that turned out to be nice.
During the period in the hotel and at the beach I saw nor smelled any tourist…
The sea had a pleasant temperature but was too wild for swimming and even generally to be fished in by fishermen with their small sailing ships.
Yet I saw a few of them at my last day on this spot, far away, at the horizon.
The next destination was the 3-million city Kandy

to buy a mosquito net, stainless steel kitchen ware and an electric water heater to be able to prepare ayurvedic herbal teas.
While travelling during the hours lasting ride I saw only a few little fires or some smoke; however, several earth ware bakeries where aside the road in a region which is known for that and a lime-burning oven which will give regularly some smoke nuisance.
The landscape looks untouched and is completely green with everywhere many and also very high trees with their broad and frequently blossoming vertexes giving shadow, including parts of the roads.
A law prohibits cutting trees and to transport wood in every form, like of wooden furniture too.
That is only permitted with an expensive license.
Our second hotel, http://stbridgetskandy.com/ also very nice and by bargaining just as cheap as the previous (1200 SL rupees. 8 euros / night, converted) situated in a mount gap where among other, wild avocado-, mango -, grapefruit - and jack fruit trees grow and also twelve meters high bamboo with bleu-green stems, to name the most fascinating, beside splendidly symmetrically growing pine tree look-alikes and palms and a lot of types of climbing plants with most particular flowers and of course papaya and.. banana plants..!

Here too, sheets are free of fragrances and the towels are lightly smelly in a so bearable way that I could use them.
Nevertheless, after a while I decided to use my protecting device again: there has been painted outside and I can hear traffic; we are in the suburb of the city although you cannot see this from the hotel because everywhere greenness with rose, red and orange flowers.
During a short walk in the neighbourhood a grapefruit rolls towards me and higher on my path I see the tree where it has burst out and also in shacks locked up dogs, very small monkeys, primitively asphalt melting with an open fire to repair the road and large cashew nuts with a nice rose projection lying on the ground of which a nice older lord said not to eat them nor put them in my pocket because they are dangerous...
Indeed I once read that these nuts are toxic when raw.
Later, in the neighbourhood I bought some, wrapped in a small bag made of hand written paper
(there is a regulation/law which says to avoid using plastic bags as much as possible) they where delicious;
I, in the meantime, had heard that people, to remove the shells more easily they roast them, so I hope that heat worked enough to make get rid of toxicity because normally, in Europe, these nuts are only sold boiled and often extra baked in oil or roasted.
In any case I got no complaints by eating them and also not by eating many seeds of a large burst open jellylike jackfruit monster I found and which I got boiled by the hotel cook and against Ashanka’s recommendation, saying that they where (too) old.
The larger ones where not so good. The younger, nevertheless still almost 1 inch long, tasted deliciously.
This fruit looked for me like a monster, because it was so big, with pyramid like shaped projections as skin and with an open “abdomen” and full large red, not stinging ants and fruit flies.
Hotel number three we reached after following a river...
higher and higher in the mountains with everywhere tea plantations on their slopes

and than we reached a suburb of Nuwara Elya (city Elya), on the altitude of around 1 mile (1600 meter) in a broad valley containing a meadow with cows and horses and a horse running road there around.
In this hotel I smelled strong and rather sharp incense.
Because of the cool climate Nuwara Elya is a holiday place for native tourists too and therefore it would be difficult to find, being already evening (from six o’clock it’s dark in this tropical area), other payable rooms, so we decided to stay in this hotel nevertheless.
And than I had to be constantly connected to Jupiter... one time temporarily switching with my (Moldex, kraton -) half face covering mask because of the earlier heat Jupiter's batteries worked less long…
In contrast to in Thailand on Sri Lanka are no hotels/guesthouses outside the cities and no resorts at all; that disappoints me;
I need a hotel/house/hut far from roads with its here very black or bluish exhaust gasses expelling traffic, to be insured of the cleanest possible air.
To find a not to remote little house and thus still on easily practicable distance of the inhabited world, in mountainous regions appear to be difficult to find.
The valley of the city frequently is full of exhaust gases and at night beside the open window I feel cold (10° to 15°) being in a tropical country!
Therefore: back to the Kandy region "because that is such a good place for if you have to visit a hospital and there are such beautiful spots in the suburbs" said A which has lived and studied there and it would please him to stay for a period.
Our fourth hotel is "Ivy banks" and lies really splendidly hidden in a mount bunch.

The kind hotel owner teached me about the properties of a climbing plant (the name of it I forgot. .) of which I keep a photo: "chewing on it’s leaves is good for your health" and also: "that is a mangosteen tree with baby fruits which will be ripe in two months"
At night he smokes cigarettes and burns diagrids against mosquitoes and in daytime he let an old man sweep fallen leafs and branches which then he collects and let burn along the way thus causing a lot of smoke...
Because of these, I frequently need Jupiter's hose under my nose although the smoky fire was rapidly extinguished after telling somewhat about it.
Ashanka, these days, examined fourteen available houses in the neighbourhood.
One of these is nice: it borders with the backside to an old paddy (rice field) which is not in use and is far from larger roads.
But it has only a fairly steep slope as "garden".
A pity because the house looks suitable and air around is ok and the neighbourhood nicely rural.
Therefore: remember this spot and on to the north on a straight and narrow main road to look at what A’s brother found for me.

It is a little house on a large piece of land at the border of a nature reserve where among others, leopards, elephants, monkeys, wild swines, buffalos, cows, crocodiles in and near the lake and a lot of types of birds and lizards live.
The original banana plantation (!) lies favourable because far enough from roads and neighbouring houses, near a lake that’s more than two thousand years old where yet older trees pop out.
People from the neighbourhood go there to wash themselves and their cloths; (many people here have no water at home) women in “sari” and men swim, dressed in t-shirt and shorts.
Around the house are splendid large mango - and other cold shading trees where easily hammocks can be hung.
Everywhere are parts with fascinating up to two metres high grass, palms, and shrubs and in the far views: steep mountains.
The lower plants around the house have to be cut to keep away wild animals and the cut-offs will not be burned, they assure me;
Singhalese often use natural "waste" to preparee compost, fortunately.
Although. .. (Update September) and that for me is a setback:
from mid- august till the end of September farmers burn trees- and vegetation- "detritus" to prepare their lands for new cultivations. . See BLUE ELEPHANT in the right column.
They, in generally, are very environmentally aware and a government programme is tarted to become gradually independent from chemical fertilizers of which they are sure to have destroyed the good quality of the soil where it is applied.
The large room in the only hotel in Mihintale (beside that for train travellers in a teak and therefore mosquito rich bunch), is beautiful, but the cleaning products which I smelled every afternoon for a while, annoyed me more and more.
Therefore since 21 May I lived with two young men in a nice little house with a kitchen and three sleeping rooms.
I needed the men for my security and they do the household and keep the garden seeming and planting more and more vegetables.
They where, by the bad economic situation, unemployed till than.
Only a few tourists go to Sri Lanka because of the Tamil tiger attacks and therefore they lost their jobs: one as a restaurant cook and the other as a tourist guide.
I had to buy an almost complete outfit for the house because there was hardly anything.
In proportion everything is very cheap for westerners and I payed only 6000 SL rupees (about 40 euros) rent a month.
To get build a new little house costs about 1000 euros (converted) and a “kakkusya” ( “kakhuisje” is an old Dutch word for toilet) with a water tank on the roof in witch electrically pumped up water from the +/- 16 feet broad well) cost much more: 1700 euros.
They still use here, as well as in Thailand for example, also asbestos cement roof plates which are prohibited in most western countries.
My house fortunately is topped by Dutch looking red tiles on very thin and strong palm wooden beams.
On the land is a 50 inches deep levelling: red soil blocks have been taken away: they still lie but now baked, in the original formation for the transformation proces, with stair profile formed spaces beneath.

It gets entirely covered with soil and in those triangular spaces wood is burned and on site the bricks arise..
and smoke of course.. At :: a possible solution.
Near is an artificial lake with water of a delicious temperature; the Southern part of the lake is shallower. There are crocodiles. I saw only buffalos and cows of all ages; also with of those beautiful shoulder lumps and often accompanied by white herons and other large birds; I think: marabous and in July already a herd of elephants (clicking on the photograph makes its easier to see them:)

which after two weeks went further away.
Normally in august, when it gets hotter and dryer, these and other animals such as leopards go to the tank to drink.
It is also a spot where birds from Africa migrate to.
Here and there are rocks and big stones and some seem to be perpendicular cleaved because with a very tight slit between the two parts of about 12 inches; it seems as a slice is being taken out and they look somewhat like sculptures or signs, detached an open field.
There is nothing from which you may see this area gets visited by people.
Everywhere it’s clean and no stone has marks like graffiti or writings on it.
From this spot the temple mount can be seen with the striking "stupa", a white cupola with the remains of an important monk.
In the mountains around are many caves where around 2000 monks lived and the area is known as "the cradle of Buddhism". There are remains of the many different spaces which were used by them, like an enormous rain water collecting pond, Kaludie Pokune.

The latter is one of the many beautiful swimmable lakes in this area.
The temple mount is a very fascinating place too; I saw the most beautiful views ever seen:
a flat landscape with everywhere trees hiding below them the little houses and huts and with here and there lakes and steep mountains.
Here too everything looks unspoiled: there are no construction works or industries.
Each full moon- eve and night many pilgrims of all kinds of religions go to the temple mount.
The full moon celebration of around the end of June is the most important.
During this festival many pilgrims (before the economic recession as much as two millions) are there for a couple of days.
Many of them sleep on mats in the open air.
Then there are processions in Mihintale, with a lot of energic dancers,


and decorated elephants.
From the south side of the temple mount the mountain “allia nidia” "sleeping elephant" can be seen and... behind it was planned

a still bigger reserve for MCS-canaries!
than the “watta” which was in use already and also at the border of the wild park and where, fortunately, by the circumstance of the flanking mount and two adjacent lakes no elephants can come because those often destroy somewhat.
The area would be 4 acres (in this case 640 at 1280 meters) large.
I did not visited the place because seeing a foreigner would force up the prices of the construction of a road and of other things that have to be done and, that was unexpected, up to approximately July 2008 archaeological excavations will take place...

The nearest neighbours live on at least 1640 feet distance from it's borders and that is important because the population in this area is poor and generally cooks on wood of which smoke, on the “watta” where we live now, sometimes and in generally only for a short time, may bother.
There can be done something by giving neighbours bottled gas (a gas device they mostly have).
It is the intention that there will be built little houses and huts (possibly towards own design) with much distance mutually. They are possible totally or partially built with natural materials which here is still quite common.
:: I heard that in Bangalore, south India a device is developed by which and handled by three men, from clay, somewhat sand and 6% cement good bricks can be made which thus have not to be baked. http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?prog=normal&id=JMCEE7000018000003000472000001&idtype=cvips&gifs=yes
Perhaps a good idea for people here because they frequently produce their own stones with burning wood... like shown before.
In Thailand I discovered that walls made of bamboo strips with large, each other overlapping leaves (probably teak leaves which are very acid) in between not got mouldy in contrast to walls entirely made of bamboo.
On Sri Lanka I hardly ever saw or smelled moulds.

Soon the initiator, Ashanka, a man native from Sri Lanka and a building construction engineer and co-owner of the “watta’s”, will start to build on the “watta” (large 2,5 acres) where I stayed, meant to welcome the first (after me) flying over MCS-canaries.
When he meets enough interest and to prevent smoke from neighbours, he will buy adjacent parts of land with the houses on it.
I was looking where and which kind of houses and huts can be built. Taking care to preserve the beautiful far views. I was thinking about how I would like to live.
Because , just like in Thailand, I slept outside, on a table in the open air; after some time under a particular tree with soft fruits after I thought the high mango tree what too risky because the big and hard immature fruits sometimes fall down spontaneously... For myself I would like a houslet with a big door; so my bed can be rapidly put in and out when rain start to fall and when it stops.
I hided for rain and wind on a veranda I did get built to the maisonette and wich has a beautiful view on "allia nidia” and in the houslet naturally.
I hardly ever slept inside the houslet or on my balcony within my favorite period: mid- March up to mid- September, the most difficult period for me in Nederland and until maximum November because this is, in this area, the dry period. Exactly the opposite from in Thailand and also favourably because in the dry period there are hardly any mosquitoes and especially outside where wind blows almost constantly.

Greetings from akka (allia) ex habitant of the watta.

Looking forward to find another good place and good people to start a similar project.

Mirjam Ruijter


akka = elder sister, as I was called by my young attendants/bodyguards
allia = elephant. .. because of the trunck/hose under my nose. ..
watta = garden


Sri Lanka
SL: 3.5 hour later than in NL
during the summer time


was the pioneer-name for a reserve for MCS-canaries.

Canaries got taken into mines to detect gasses...
when they fainted it was time to leave the spot...