Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Veilige reis!

Galle Fort, Sri Lanka
The title of the post is, I hope (!) the Dutch equivalent of bon voyage, and is directed at my nephew Jamie who is shortly to sail from the Sri Lankan port of Galle (pronounced 'Gaul' in English) as part of his training for the merchant navy. Galle, at the southern tip of the island, is one of the finest surviving examples in Asia of a European fortified city; the fort in the picture, across from the working port, was first built by the Portugese in 1588 and extended during the period of Dutch colonial rule, from 1649 onwards.

Which of the local dialects of Sinhala or Tamil would have been appropriate, is a minefield I'm disqualified by ignorance from crossing.

The Bird class ship on which Jamie will be working (below) is modest by supertanker standards, but her vital statistics are still pretty impressive: weight 115,000 tons, length 251 metres, beam 44 metres and a crew of twenty-five officers and ratings.

Subsequent edit: thanks to Cath (see comment below) for the definitive Dutch equivalent of bon voyage, with the added sentiment to 'come home soon': Goede reis en kom veilig thuis!
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