segunda-feira, 30 de abril de 2012


The funder of the Ondaatje prize, awarded to the book that best evokes a spirit of place, picks the highlights of his well-travelled world ... 
After growing up in Ceylon and England, Christopher Ondaatje moved to Toronto and flourished as a stockbroker. He branched out into publishing, exploring and writing, and represented Canada in the Winter Olympics in the bobsleigh. He now funds the Ondaatje prize, awarded by the Royal Society of Literature to the book that best evokes the spirit of a place. 
London.jpgVIEW Uluru, Australia
Nothing is as wonderful as the first sighting of the magnificent red mass of Uluru, or Ayers Rock, in the middle of the outback. It’s higher than the Eiffel Tower or the Chrysler Building, measures over five miles around, and extends a mile and a half down into the ground—only a third of it is visible. You can walk to the top, which takes about two hours, but I didn’t do it because I was with some Aboriginal guides and they didn’t want me to because of the songlines. They believe it’s a sacred rock, and made a deal that it wouldn’t be climbed by tourists—but people do climb it. I spent several hours walking around it and exploring the caves and the rock art. It is a massive, rugged structure—the Alps are feminine by comparison.
BEACH Weligama Bay, Sri Lanka
The tiny fishing village of Weligama is south of Galle on the south-east coast of Sri Lanka. A broad, semi-circular, sandy beach curves around Weligama Bay, dotted with rocky outcrops and bending coconut palms. Taprobane Island, once owned by the Count de Mauny, lies just off the beach, and you can walk across to it. When we were children we used to stay there often with our parents. At low tide we could wade across to the beach, but when the tide was high the water was above our necks and we’d have to be carried across by the servants. It was a wonderful life before we left for England in 1947. Weligama was badly hit by the tsunami, but it has recovered now and it’s beautiful and much the same as it was.........

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