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KONINKLIJK INSTITUUT
voor de
MARINE


ROYAL NETHERLANDS
NAVAL ACADEMY


K I M


[Ben Oostdam's
Autobiography
Years 1950-1952]



1952 Training Cruise on the "van Kinsbergen", to New Guinea, part 6

March 7, 1952: I served as Officer of the Watch while we approached Sri Lanka - first view was that of Adam's Peak, behind a graceful clipper. At 09:30 the pilot moored us on a buoy in Colombo harbor. We received our weekly pay of Nf 16 in rupiahs, 20 to be sure. We dressed in short whites (which did not last long as such) and took an overloaded sloop to shore at 12:30.
Colombo was a lovely town smelling of a circus, with many palmtrees - we bought 3 coconuts for one rupiah. I bargained for semi-precious stones and ebony elephants which I later sold at a good profit in New Guinea.

We also took a free bus to Mount Lavinia Hotel where we swam with British beauties.
Years later, I recognized it in a scene of "Bridge on the River Kwai", and probably decades later, the photograph with the high rise (above) was taken in Colombo.
I found out that the Dutch had colonized Ceylon before and that there were still at least 3 Dutch churches here.
Before dinner, we returned to the ship, changed to "jas tutup" and went back ashore to the Seaman Mission, where I answered Lony's lovely letter and mailed seven postcards.
That was about it, next day we departed.

I returned to heavenly Sri Lanka in 1978.
By that time, I had also learned its earlier names of Taprobane, Serendip, and Ceylon.


BLO fecit 27 II 1999 corr.20060204
to continue to next page:
1952 Training Cruise on the "van Kinsbergen"
to New Guinea, part 7: Indian Ocean
Sri Lanka to Singapore