National Geographic : 1948 Jul
Ceylon, Island of the "Lion People" streets lined with rows of small shops operated by suave Indians and ID astute Moors. Because some of these Moham medan merchants, usu ally called Moormen Palk locally, are the first to Bay open and last to close their establishments, :. a the islanders jokingly allude to them as kak- AdasB~g kas, or crows. Gulf The bustle and traf- of fic move past the orna- Mannar mental facade of a Kai Hindu temple, Moham medan mosque, or Kalp Government Kachcheri Pui (administrative of fices), while ricksha CEJ men rest around the ( old belfry, relic of for mer days. Bicycle bells ring, Ne tramcars clang, ricksha men shout, and motor Colo horns toot, impatient to xz make progress through Mount this melee down lain Mol and Cross Streets, which is further im peded by the slow moving bullock carts. Driving a car through this maze of traffic taught me patience. Invariably a pedestrian decided to squeeze through just as I had Slightly larg a chance to move for- a population o recently became ward. of government Here the frail, deli- into possession cately featured Sinha lese mingle with duskier Tamils, Cochins, all in search of bargains ii shirts, shoes. Many go first to Sea S borrow from the chettivars, who sit cal on an abacus the interest that will from their loans. A chetty is alway to make loans at flagrantly high intere Street of the Moneylenders Other moneylenders are the w Afghans, whose presence in the Pettah where denotes that they are in search debtor. Arab horse dealers from th stand transacting business with pro turbaned, bearded Borah grain me Tea and Rubber Bring Wealth to Ceylon :er than West Virginia, this island off the coast of India supports f more than 6,500,000, most of whom are native Sinhalese. Ceylon ie a British Dominion, the first Crown Colony to attain that form . Ruled first by the Portuguese, then the Dutch, the island came Sof Great Britain more than 150 years ago. Malays, from India. Betel sellers with loaded trays n cloth, parade their beats. treet to Similar colorful gatherings occur on a culating smaller scale in Slave Island and around the accrue Fort and Maradana railway stations. Among s ready the mechanic class of Portuguese extraction st rates, there I occasionally heard spoken a dialect of their ancestral tongue. More vociferous is the babel in the Pettah ell-built markets, to which the rich produce of the or else- maritime belt finds its way. Arecas, cashews, of some and coconuts arrive by the thousands. I never e Hejaz imagined there were so many different varie 'sperous ties and sizes of bananas and mangoes-doz erchants ens, in fact, and all of different flavor.