Published: June 10th 2009June 10th 2009
After a hectic few weeks, and a couple of major changes of climate, wet zone to dry zone and back again there was something reassuring about returning to Colombo. The boys were both suffering a little with sore ears and blocked noses and Elliot in particular had a high temperature. We were not up to much - simple book shopping and lunch (with free wi-fi) at the stylish but ex pat dominated Barefoot (shop/café/gallery), followed by the museum before heading back for some RnR at Kannan and Sweta’s.
The museum was interesting - Jake was particularly diverted by the coin collections including some Roman ones which showed they traded with SL all that time ago and Elliot by the puppets. There were religious artefacts and the throne and paraphernalia of the Kandyan Kings - stolen by the English but returned by George V but by far the most interesting things were an ancient water filter carved out of porous sandstone which took 24 hours to empty but left drinking quality water (and shown half full with water dripping out), and some 4th century BC urinals carved in stone (thankfully not in use) looking very much like what we would know
as French toilets - but intricately carved, one of which had a carved lotus flower for which to aim - I wonder if that helped them hit the target better?
In the afternoon alone in K&S’s we flopped the boys to watch Kung Fu Panda (again - now a ritual they associate with the apartment) followed by Cartoon Network. We caught up on various internet related activities and Nicky organised washing, repacked bags and bustled. I took advantage of the perfectly appointed bathrooms to shave. Shaving has been one of the peculiar challenges of the trips. I gave up even trying at the Kurunegala house. No plug, no hot water, very little light, no mirror and a sink that was so wobbly you could not put water in it for fear of it falling off the wall. I tried to shave when we were away - but the places we stayed were not always much better. I spent much of the time with several days growth. Too late I discovered that for only 60 rupees (about 30p) I could go to the barbers and have a Sweeney Todd style cut throat shave, complete with facial massage.
As a treat
for the boys feeling unwell I broke a golden rule and popped and bought them McFish Finger Sandwiches. A measure of how Elliot felt was that he could not eat it, and burning up collapsed asleep. Jake on the other hand sat up reading as into the evening we ate delicious curries with naan and chatted with our hosts. He slept happily once he knew we were all going to sleep and he was not missing out on anything.
It was a huge relief that the boys felt better when the morning broke. The recuperative powers of the stylish apartment we were treating as home (perhaps with help from Ganesh?) had performed their magic. We breakfasted on last night’s left overs and corn flakes and yoghurt before heading for the train down to Galle and beyond to Matara. The train journey down the Indian Ocean coast, which will forever be linked with the tragedies of the Tsunami, is one of the most beautiful and interesting that I have taken, and again all the way down the track the warm and soothing waters beckoned us. You cannot help feeling that in Britain something has gone majorly wrong with the train.
Surely they should be a cheap and simple way of transporting lots of people around? Our trains are so expensive that a family like ours which is pro train ends up driving to the Lakes because we cannot afford the fares. There are too many frills which must drive up the cost. We don’t need electric doors, air con and wi-fi except maybe on a few higher price carriages. Is it maybe time for an Easytrain? With overcrowded roads and environmental concerns the train for mass transportation of people has to be part of the answer.
With surprisingly little hassle we arrived at an almost too perfect to describe hotel. It was like a cross between the posh one we stayed at in Dambulla, and the beach one we stayed at in Unawatuna. We wandered through the resort like hotel to be shown a lovely 2 storey cabana. We were offered one straight away, but held out for a second with a perfect beach view. Trying to manage the boys’ potential disappointment (and our own) if we could not afford it we agreed a price we would be willing to pay and prepared to barter. When their opening offer
for half board came in nearly 2000 rupees below what we had decided we forgot to barter and nearly bit their hand off. We had lunch in the restaurant separated by sandy beach and Indian Ocean only by a line of coconut palms while the cabana we had chosen was prepared. The glorious sun changed to monsoon downpour as we ate, but the sun reappeared as we finished eating. Such seems to be our luck!
There are more photos below