Sunday, 31 October 2010

Day 204-A 150 Year Old House In Galle

30th October 2010 
Galle, Ceylon

Dear Love, 
An extra-ordinary chance encounter occurred when we were travelling along Peddlar Street today. This is one of the little alleyways of Galle in Sri Lanka.

Perhaps I should begin by telling you how completely overwhelmed I am with Galle, a city which historical scholars had linked to the Old Testament Tharsish to which King Solomon sent his merchant ships to "procure gold, silver, ivory , apes and peacocks". As is well known, Galle today is inextricably linked to the great maritime powers of the 16th and 17th centuries, Portugal, Holland and England. A walk around the narrow alleys of the fort at once revealed how the myriad of old streets and houses with their original names and facades remained strongly anchored in their colonial past. 

So taken in by the quaint and quiet charm of the houses on  this little street that Pam and I must have taken about 100 pictures before I saw this friendly lady standing by her door  beckoning me into her home.  I was quick to say yes of course , shouting to a surprised Pam who was slightly ahead of me to join us in the house. Sweet Pam was at first a little wary, not being used to such unexpected kindness.  

Living Room with antique Dutch plantation chairs

We walked in and was immediately charmed. Simple, unpretentious and yet cosy, obviously decorated and taken care with love, we could tell straightaway that the mistress of the house is proud of her home. 2 seconds into the house and I let out a squeal of delight. "Dollhouse!" I said as I went immediately to the left corner to take a closer look.

Beautiful dollhouse which at first glance looked like it was made with wood. It was in fact made of plastic.

This woman must be psychic, Pam insisted. What is the probability of a complete stranger owning a dollhouse inviting us into her home and allowing us to take pictures?  Not remote, I said with a knowing smile. It's just the magic of my  mini world.

Basin in the hallway

Come, come. See the rest of the house. My 150 year old house, the lady said. My name is Mrs Latifah, what is yours? That was the last question I remembered her asking as my enthusiasm and fascination with her home took over.

2 antique Dutch plantation chairs

Every little corner was filled with so much history and stories, colours and character. I must take this, oooh so gorgeous, WOW! And on and on and on, click click click.

Here is the bathroom, with a solitary plastic tub but what colours despite the age or perhaps it is because of the age. 

Homemade mosquito nets in brilliant colours hanging in different rooms to protect her love ones.

A cupboard that reminds me of home as I have something almost the same as this one, in my kitchen. I too use it to display my glasses and plates except Mrs Latifah has way more than I do.

Courtyard where Mrs Latifah plants her own vegetables, dry her clothes and watch the rain. The courtyard sits right in the centre of the house with 5 rooms surrounding it.

Mrs Latifah's pride and joy which she showed off proudly to us. Brinjals? Pam asked, do you really cook them ? Mrs Latifah nodded yes at the silly question.

Traditional mortar for pounding grain and sitting on the slab of stone is a different one for crushing chillies. 

Cooking area

Many meals must have been cooked in these pots and pans which were stored in another room.

Pictures of the dining room. 

Things which make Mrs Latifah happy and her home pretty.

Details of a window

It was almost 20 minutes later before we finished taking all the pictures. We then asked Mrs Latifah to write down her address for us in Pam's little book. When we came back to the hotel, we realised that she had written No.XXX, Peddlar's Street, Galle, Ceylon, the old name of Sri Lanka, a name the country has not used since 1972.

Remember to write as soon as possible, Mrs Latifah said as we left her house. Bye! 
Bye, Mrs Latifah!

I know Mrs Latifah will not be reading this anytime soon but at least I fulfilled my promise to write as soon as possible. Thank you Mrs Latifah! And for you, my love, I hope you have enjoyed the house as much as me, Pam and Mrs Latifah. See you in Kandy, or maybe Colombo or more likely Singapore. 


Susanne said...

It´s a fantatic story in so many ways, Sans, I wish I could be there to see it all for myself :-)
Say hello to Mrs. Latifah from me, she has a beautiful home. I adore those shade of colours and the patina...can´t stop studying that..
Very poetic..
Love, Susanne

Marie Antionette said...

Hello Dearest Sans,
What a lovely story,What a Sweetheart Mrs Latiah is. Love her home.You can tell how proud she is. I'm so glad that you are staying in touch.I appricate the story and pictures.
You take care Hon, and May God bless,
XXOO Marie Antionette

The Old Maid said...

That's an amazing story! And this house...on one hand I feel sorry she has to live this way, on the other - hey, maybe that's me who lives not a happy life...;) Great colours, that's for sure. Peace. Simplicity. Her pride of her home and friendship given to you. An unexpected doll's house makes me thinking - is she dreaming of living in this house? Fascinating! Have many more of good adventures there, Sans! Thank you for sharing this amazing story with us!:)

Asuka Sakumo said...

Wow, Sans! You are lucky to meet such a kind lady! It is so amusing (what seems to be a coincidence) that Mrs. Latifah also have a dollhouse. :)

rosanna said...

Hi dearie, a dollshouse in Ceylon? (BTW I still call him like that , it's more charming than Sry Lanka)
The Lady has een very kind and I'm sure you both have enjoied the home tour. Sure it's a well loved home. Give a good hug to Pam, we shall always remember our babysitter.
I'm glad you managed to write ,I suffer from Sans sickness, I miss you.
But there is Linda here and her lovely husband David. They are the nicest persons and you'd love them as much as we all do!
A big warm hug to you and have a lot of fun.Rosanna

GB said...

That proves it, you DO live a charmed life...... :)

Loved the story. Looks like you're having FUN on your trip. Can't wait to see the pictures when you get back...

Daydreamer said...

Sans! You really ARE Magical! That dollhouse was the first thing I spotted in that picture... and I was trying to figure out whether it really was a dollhouse? There must be a story behind that! And to have Mrs. Latifah ask you in off the street! WOW! Magic! Her house is steeped in the local mix of cultures too... so rich and so simple... so much to add to your next house perhaps? I really liked seeing her kitchen and the mortars for grinding grain... I can't wait to see what else you find on your journey!
I'm so glad you shared this with us distant followers!

Glenda said...

Such kind old-fashioned hospitality!! What a sweet lady to invite you into her home - and the beautiful colours!! Inspiration!
What a lovely insight into old 'Ceylonese' life :)

Flora said...

Sans dear, your photos are so magical, that I can hardly believe it's all true, but I like to think so ... It seems to be in a dream, you walk along a deserted road and enter into a house and inside that there is another smaller one, and both are strange, colorful, full of antiques and Lost for a long time ...
Everything is so different from the reality in which I live ... I'm really interested!
As usual, your sensitivity is manifested in this stunning reportage :-)
Your package has not arrived yet but it seems to me to have every day a gift from you, when I read you :-)
Mini lovely hugs, Flora

Debbie said...

Sans the Dolls house in Mrs Latifah's home was made by Playmobile. We also have the same one. I don't think they make that one any more. Here's the link:-

Sans! said...

Susanne, I have the same feeling when I walked into her home. I think it's working on minis and having built the tribal home. I really love every bit of the age, mold and faded colours. With every picture, I kept thinking how I could miniaturise the scenes.

I am sure my mum will be quite appalled though if she sees this house:). She is the type who will spend our vacation cleaning up a holiday chalet :):). I am not sure if I will live in a house like this. Probably but maybe a lot neater.

Sans! said...

Hey Marie :):). It's really good to see you here, my dear!

I like using the blog to update everyone including family on how far I am in my trip and that I am safe and sound. I am glad I am able to post something by Day 3 of my trip on something related to this blog :):).

By the way, I am positive you will get along famously with Mrs Latiff. Boy, I just realise I got her name wrong in the post. Will have to change it .

You take care, dear Marie and have a great week ahead :).

Sans! said...

Dear Ewa, I know exactly what you are saying. After we went back to the car , (in Sri Lanka, it is better that you travel with a driver to get from 1 city to another if you are not familiar with the place, unlike India where the train and bus system is more organised), I asked the driver for the demographics of the people staying in these historic houses. He told me the people here are mainly muslims and wealthy. These houses cannot be sold , you will have to inherit them .

It was Saturday when I met her. I did wonder about the fact that she was home alone. The thing is people didn't mingle very much in that area. Although doors were open, there were hardly anyone outside. Maybe it was noon and everyone was still sleeping. Maybe they just wanted to avoid the tourists snooping around the house. I don't know.

Mrs Latiff told me that she had a daughter who loves pen pals :):). I remembered thinking, My goodness, that was such an old word. :) These days, we just friend each other on facebook , right?

I was so taken in by the house that I didn't even ask her about the dollhouse. Now that Debbie told me the make of this house, I am sure it was her daughter's.

Ewa, Mrs Latiff's house is really quite big, easily more than 2000 sqft with the courtyard. If I stay there, OMG! I will have no problems with rooms for my dollhouses :):):)!

Sans! said...

Hey, little Asuka Sakumo, are you exxxxxxxxxxxxxxcited????? Tomorrow's a big big day so you must sleep early tonight? You bought your make up and new skirts yet?

Pam who is travelling with me is BIG into crafts . One of our meetings we will have her as a VIP, ok? O dear, does it mean now that we can't do Friday meetings anymore?

Ascension said...

Que maravillosas fotografias.
Un relato entrañable, ademas de como haber podido visitar contigo esa casa y notar la hospitalidad de esa señora.
Aunque a veces pensemos que no, hay gente buena por todo el mundo.
Me ha encantado volver a visitarte.
besitos ascension

Snowfern said...

omg *covers mouth* AMAZING!! AMAZING!!! i am really in a bit of shock, i read your post twice to digest it all!! and you know when i came to that pic of the glass cupboard, i really was like "eh? isn't that your cupboard?" XD



Sans! said...

Rosanna darling, this Pam is not your babysitter, but I wish you had met her. You will like her, she swears like an Italian sailor :):). Ooops, just realise about your dad, hehehe!

I really wanted to do this reply before I lose my internet connection again. Wanted to tell you where I am now and what happened today. It's another pretty amazing day.

We were supposed to be in the mountains today but decided to detour to the jungle. Went on this safari because a safari is on Pam's "do before you die list". I was falling asleep on the jeep. I had gone on one before in Zimbabwe. Anyway, everyone wanted to see the leopards. And you know,at one point I was thinking, why all this trouble , could have seen one at the Night safari in Singapore. Anyhoo, after seeing hundred of peacocks, wild boars, 3 elephants and some buffalos, Pam and our driver , Vinood spotted a leopard and claimed that he was walking here there everywhere. I was the only one who couldn't see what , who , where. And then, the leopard apparently climbed up a tree and Vinood kept saying look at the tree , look look look. I took my camera and started clicking and of course, now realise I was looking at the wrong tree!

Then it appeared and OMG!!!!!! Such a god's gift to mankind. These cats are so beautiful , you feel like dropping on your knees when you see them saunter and when they are high up on a tree branch, it was almost surreal!

I now know why safaris are worth it. It's the wait and then the prize for the wait. The joy of seeing an animal in his natural habitat behaving as he should and being given the privilege to watch him. I took a picture and will show you what I mean :). Noone can look as elegant as this leopard strutting on a tree branch.

So many things more to tell you but we are staying in this hotel right in the middle of the jungle. The kind of place where you have to be escorted back to your room because there may be a stray elephant. Last night, one apparently came to drink from the swimming pool.

Good night, dear. And if we are lucky, maybe an elephant will come and bade us good morning :)

rosanna said...

Sans wow wow wow! an elephant drinking from the swimming pool !!! and a jungle hotel !!! I wish I were there! and I wish I might see the leopard, I have never seen one.
Big hugs and sweet dreams.

Pubdoll said...

Wow, so fantastic to be invited in by the kind Mrs Latifah! Her home is so picturesque, I love all your photos from it and will study them over and over to get all the details and shades of colour!
And so funny (or maybe it really is magic) she also had a doll's house! I also recognized the house as Playmobile. Have you seen the work of Sweetington Flickr? He does amazing rooms for his Playmobile furniture!

Happy Halloween as well, this day have been busy from I woke up preparing a Halloween party for Mari :-)

cockerina said...

the images that you show in your blogs are always very interesting, that magical place! thanks!

Dear Sans, I finally found my little Matryoshka! Come and see!
Kisses, Caterina

Sans! said...

H Gagan :):). Today it is a relaxing day up in the mountains. We are staying in a plantation bungalow belonging to the owner of a tea plantation . The 70 acres estate also has a private waterfall. That was the high point for the day, swimming in the waterfall. Since I got back from the swim, I have not left the verandah :):). Just enjoying the day, reading emails and trying to read blogs. But it is hard with the connection :). So am stitching quite a bit too :).

Tomorrow we are heading to Sigiriya or Polonaruwa, both are world heritage sites :).

I have just uploaded some photos taken at the Bevi Bawa's House he named "Brief" (Father's a lawyer but I think it's his fascination of another kind) haha. That alone is 73 pictures! But the landscape and architecture and the art pieces are interesting!

Piikko said...

Sans, thank you for showing these awesome pictures. I enjoyed very much for the visit at Mrs Latifa's home with you.
:D piikko

Flor said...

¡Que experiencia Sans... única y enriquecedora !!! Y creo que no te imaginarias encontrar una casa de muñecas jeje ( = ¡que sorpresas da la vida...!!!!
Un beso

Sans! said...

Good afternoon, Betsy , *sniff, sniff. I am BACK in Singapore and have been since the 6th which was Saturday. I have however caught a really bad cold when I was in Colombo on Friday. It was so bad that I could not do much except lie in bed the whole of Sunday and Monday , until I swear I have bed sores. I always suffer when I catch a cold! I have so much to share from my trip (1000 pictures which I will pick the best 10) and a special post on the mud house I have visited. I also hope to post more pictures of village cooking utensils. I think you will find it interesting.

I am afraid with the flu, I am really not in the right frame of mind for minis although my little tribal house is in great need for little repairs already. Can you imagine my shoe shelf has already come off? Sighhhhhh......

I should really also do a post on how things are already breaking apart :)

Sans! said...

Hey Glenda :):) this is Groggy Sans!

You know I had likened Sri Lanka to New Zealand before I left. It's not exactly like that. There are similarities but Sri Lanka is like a black and white picture whilst NZ is high res digital photo :). Both are beautiful though.

I have met many Sri Lankans and one of them, makes cards. Her name is Monika :) and she really makes me think of some of you. I have taken pictures of her craft room which is also where she sells her cards. Will see if they turn out well...

O dear, I don't know when I will post again. With this flu, I just feel so out of it. :):)

Sans! said...

Oh Flora, my package is taking too long ! :( but I shan't pester you any more about it. I just hope it is not going to take 3 months before it reaches you . Like you say, let fate decide :).

And talking about fate. my travel to Sri Lanka was nothing short of serendipitous.

Do you know the word "Serendipity", Flora? According to wiki, this word has been voted one of the top 10 most difficult word to be translated :). Essentially, it means a lucky turn, finding something good while looking for something else. And do you know this word actually has its roots in Sri Lanka? You see Serendip was the old name of Sri Lanka. And the person who invented the word "serendipity" was inspired by this old story called "The 3 Princes of Serendip". The word inventor, Horace Walpole had referred to the characters in the story and how “They were always making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”.

You can read more about it here:

Sans! said...

Debbie, this is such a belated thank you! But I really really appreciate the info and the link! :):) THANK YOU!

Sans! said...

Ascensión, he estado ausente por mucho tiempo:) y estoy perdiendo el entusiasmo:) y el interés en mi humilde blog:). Tengo que visitar su blog pronto:)

besos y abrazos

Sans! said...

Yes. Cindy. kismet, serendipity, destiny, fate :):). I may be making too big a deal out of this chance meeting but seriously, this is just the tip of the iceberg where our experiences of the lucky turn of events are concerned. We keep scores every day , me and my friend and we have at least 1 up every single day. Can you imagine our luck? :)

In Colombo,we found a very good driver aka "body kong" (hehe, do you know this one?) then in Galle, Mrs Latiff, Yala, we saw the Sri Lanka leopards (out of 35 in the whole country, we met 2!highly endangered ), then the tea plantation with its own waterfall, the mud house...I think with your background in bird parks, you will really love bird watching here. I suspect however you won't be happy eating rice and curry everyday :)

Sans! said...

Rosanna, I love the whole Yala (safari) hotel experience but I am beginning to suspect some of the stories may be exaggerated. I mean there were already 3 versions of the story by the time I walked from the reception to the hotel (I was typing the earlier reply comment at the reception which was the only place with internet connection).

1st guy told us the elephant came at 9.30pm the previous night for a drink at the pool. 2nd guy said it was 7.30pm in front of room 106 (of course our room had to be 116) and then another said it cam eat 11.30pm at the reception!!!

Truth is about 50 Lankans are trampled to death by elephants every year and about 150 elephants are shot dead by the farmers. They really are quite dangerous. But when I asked the guide what we should do if we should see an elephant, he said tell him "Shoo!" *roll eyes

Sans! said...

Helene! :):) Ello :)

A little something is coming your way :)Very tiny :).

I googled "Old playmobil dollhouses" and found out that this one is a retired model that was introduced in 1991. It's a "Large Victorian dollhouse (5300)" and is being sold for a hundred bucks and up in the iclassifieds.

Thanks for the link to Sweetington. My goodness, that guy is pure amazing!!!! Can't believe those are plastic playmobil furniture. I will look at them in a different light now :):):)

Sans! said...

Caterina, I am rushing over to your blog to look at the dolls right after this!!! Another few more replies :):) your blog then to bed ! :)

Sans! said...

Piiko, Sri Lanka is really your cup of tea (no pun intended) I think. Everyone there loves sports :):). Except maybe the women .lol!

Sans! said...

Flor:):) ¿No soy yo el afortunado?

Usted también debe ver a Sri Lanka un día :):). Es un lugar maravilloso:)

besos y abrazos

Snowfern said...

Sans, i think it's great you make a big deal of it, even tho i think it's not a big deal (?!?) cos that's what it's all about isn't it? savouring your experiences and creating lifelong memories???

i love it :) and am even happier that you share it with us!

<3 and get well soon!!!!

Daydreamer said...

Sans! I hope you are feeling better soon! I hate getting sick when I travel... so I often save it for when I get home! Lol! I look forward to seeing the pictures and hearing the stories! As for that playmobil (I thought I recognized it!)dollhouse.... we had playmobil sets for my boys when they were little - I bought them the castle set, (of course) but I think I was more interested in it than they were! We sold it when I moved.... except for a few of the tiny dishes which were hanging out in the Rustic house.... I still have them!It's good to have you back in blogland! But please rest and get better!

Daydreamer said...

Oh, Sans! The falling apart house .... that is exactly how "patina" happens! But if you want to securely attach the shelf you will need to use tiny wood screws AND glue! The screws are engineered to hold pieces flush together! I don't know how small a size you can find over there.... I get tiny ones with the hinges I buy and cut them shorter if necessary! I could send you some if you need them! :) So you can see why I am RE-building my Lovely Old Dollhouse - and it is only 50 years old!

Sans! said...

Hehe Cindy, just saw your comments on Kiva's . Too damn funny about the spot the difference. But on the whole, I am beyond words overwhelmed by her post. Wayyyyyy too much credit where credit's not due and a big deal when there's its not a big deal :). I am getting a headache reading my own reply....

Sans! said...

Betsy, THANK YOU for that tip. I guess this is the next phase of my building process ..working out the best method for longevity. Glue alone is not a good solution. So this wood screws means you will have to drill some holes? I will go in search of some tutorials for this. In the meantime, the room is looking a little ramshackled. hehe

Blog Widget by LinkWithin