• Building a New Life in Rural Sri Lanka

    The Planter’s Bungalow, the first of three homes that are planned for Wild Buffalo Hill, a working tea and cinnamon estate in Sri Lanka. – Credit: Shehan Obeysekara

    The Planter’s Bungalow, the first of three homes that are planned for Wild Buffalo Hill, a working tea and cinnamon estate in Sri Lanka. – Credit: Shehan Obeysekara


    WELIGAMA, Sri Lanka (The New York Times) — It was a vacation for his 40th birthday that sold Paddy Dalton and his partner, Rob Ioannou, on Sri Lanka. Their stay at the Aman resort in the southern town of Galle was intoxicating enough that the couple returned three weeks later in search of a permanent home.

    They found it on the first day, acquiring a working tea and cinnamon estate a half-hour drive into the hills behind the surf town of Weligama on the island nation’s south coast. Five years later, they have completed their first home on the estate, which comes in at 50 acres and employs about 30 people. Continue reading

  • Exploring the Surf in Sri Lanka

     Surfing at Arugam Bay, on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. Credit: Alex Frew McMillan

    Surfing at Arugam Bay, on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. Credit: Alex Frew McMillan


    ARUGAM BAY, Sri Lanka (The New York Times) — I blame Bethany Hamilton. Repeat viewings of “Soul Surfer,” the 2011 movie about the young surfer in Hawaii who lost an arm to a tiger shark only to return to competition, have left my two young children fearless in the ocean and enthralled with the sport.

    So, with air miles to spare and vacation time to burn, my wife, two offspring and I made for Sri Lanka.

    Continue reading

  • Little Room for Embellishment in Densely Packed Hong Kong

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    Even Hong Kong’s luxury apartment complexes are relentlessly uniform, though often more colorful than public housing. – Credit: Michael Wolf/Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York


    HONG KONG (The New York Times) — Hong Kong is a famously efficient city. Residents pride themselves on the flawless operation of the subway system and the airport. For 21 years in a row, the Heritage Foundation has ranked Hong Kong as the world’s freest economy.

    But free markets come at a cost. Easy access to capital, years of record-low interest rates and an acute shortage of supply have made Hong Kong the most expensive place in the world to buy a home. Continue reading

  • A Pair of Developers Break With Tradition in Hong Kong

     The Tung Fat Building in Kennedy Town was converted to eight apartments, one per floor. The exterior was refurbished, but its corners retain the curves characteristic of Modernism. – Credit: Denice Hough

    The Tung Fat Building in Kennedy Town was converted to eight apartments, one per floor. The exterior was refurbished, but its corners retain the curves characteristic of Modernism. – Credit: Denice Hough


    HONG KONG (The New York Times) — The Tung Fat Building has a prized waterfront position in Kennedy Town, the westernmost neighborhood on the crowded north shore of Hong Kong Island.

    Its Cantonese name translates as the “Get Rich Together” building, one of many such aspirational titles for Hong Kong apartments and offices, old and new.

    But for its owners, the “tong lau,” or walkup tenement, has been a decade-long cash sinkhole, although the expense should be ending now that the concrete building’s unusual renovation is all but completed. Continue reading