India restarts ferry to Sri Lanka after 30 years of civil war

Sri Lanka is still recovering after a long and brutal civil war that started in 1983 and only ended two years ago. The fight between Tamil separatists and the government left 100,000 people dead, many of them civilians, and there were accusations of war crimes on both sides. The government won and the island nation is now beginning to rebuild.

A sign of that rebuilding is the relaunching of passenger ferry service with India, which had been suspended for 30 years due to security concerns. The first boat left from Tuticorin in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu last night and arrived in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo this morning. The boat is called the Scotia Prince, can carry 1,000 passengers, and is fitted with a restaurant and casino. The Scotia Prince last hit the news when it rescued thousands of Indians and Sri Lankans from the war in Libya.

Flemingo International, the company running the India-Sri Lanka route, says their service will do two round-trip journeys a week and provides a cheaper alternative to flying. Travel to Sri Lanka has been increasing since the end of the civil war.

A second ferry will start soon, operated by the Ceylon Shipping Corporation.

[Image of Scotia Prince courtesy Rama]

Skip the cybercafe – International travel tip

If you chose to use a cybercafe in India, be prepared to hand over your passport and give your home address — some cybercafes will even fingerprint you!

Criminals in India have abused cybercafe computers, prompting strict regulations for India’s cybercafes. The extra layer of red tape is just not worth the trouble — besides, many cybercafe computers are infected with viruses, and that’s NOT the kind of souvenir you want to send home to friends and family.

Instead, consider bringing your own computer and using your hotel’s Internet access. Alternatively, just unplug!