Tripin 2017 - 2018 - page 57

DAY 1-2
We began our adventure in Colombo, a great
place to decompress from jet-lag (after my 20
hour flight from Los Angeles), enjoy some
modern luxuries, and get one’s bearings. Zak
was a wonderful guide to this busy, rapidly
developing city: so much changed from the
1980s! After sleeping in, we zoomed around
town on tuk-tuks, first to Cinnamon Red ( a
hotel in the heart of the city) for some amazing
rooftop views, next to the Gangaramaja
Temple and its island audience hall (Seema
Malaka), then to the shopping complex
at Cinnamon Grand for some AC relief,
followed by a ride to Barefoot Gallery for
shopping and lunch, a visit to a friend’s house
for tea and vadai (savoury fried dumplings,
fritters, doughnuts or cutlets served with dips,
chutneys or sambals – hot and spicy relish/
hot sauces), and finally a trip to the Galle Face
Green to watch kite-flying and have cocktails
at the classic and classy Galle Face Hotel,
where we watched the sun go down at their
ocean-front bar (their English Cucumber
Cocktail is delightful).
After breakfast the next morning, we toured
the National Museum, visited Laksala,
a state-owned gift and souvenir shop
featuring specifically Sri Lankan products
and craftwork, and then went “downtown”
to the Fort and Pettah districts. I was sad to
see the decline of Cargill’s flagship store but
delighted to see that the Pettah market area
was as vibrant and colorful as ever. It is my
favorite area of the city for sights, sounds,
and photographic opportunities, best seen on
foot. Since it was Sunday and less crowded
than usual, we watched several street cricket
matches. Another tuk-tuk ride took us to the
interesting Geoffery Bawa-designed Paradise
Road Restaurant and gallery, where we shared
a slice of passion fruit merengue pie (yum!)
and a pot of tea. Then it was on to the timeless
Mt. Lavinia Hotel, where we enjoyed another
sunset. Our evening ended with dinner at the
Hotel Renuka’s Palmyrah Restaurant, where
I was delighted to find that their traditional
Sri Lankan cuisine was as delicious as I had
recalled from thirty years ago.
Pro tip: In Colombo, we relied almost exclusively
on tuk-tuks, which are affordable, quick, and fun.
Insist on metered tuk-tuks to avoid any hassling
or confusion over prices. To get to and from Mt.
Lavinia, we used the new Pick-Me app (similar
to Über), which proved to be cost-effective and
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