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Published: November 29th 2013
Mount Lavinia first night
A good way to start a holiday
November: we’re on the road again; or more accurately in the air, Sri Lankan Airlines flight 504 Heathrow to Colombo to be exact.
A convenient departure time of 9pm allowed for a leisurely day’s preparation and drive to Heathrow. So leisurely in fact that I unintentionally left my mobile phone in the car instead of bringing it with me as planned. The flight departed slightly late because, we were informed by the Captain, the crew transport had got stuck in a traffic jam in Kensington on their way to the airport. Obviously Sri Lanka Airlines spoil their staff rotten putting them in fancy hotels in Kensington instead of a B&B in Hounslow or Slough – like Cardiganshire International Airways would.
The 10 hour flight was quite tiring because our seats didn’t have sufficient legroom to allow us to stretch out and get some restful sleep time, so it was two bleary eyed holidaymakers that disembarked at Colombo’s smart new airport at 1.30pm local time. The tiredness then manifested itself when I withdrew some cash from an ATM and forgot to remove my debit card. By the time I noticed the card’s absence about five minutes later it
With at least one suitably impressed guest
was too late. When I returned to the ATM the card was nowhere in sight. The hotel driver who had met us at Arrivals took us to a nearby Commercial Bank branch to see what could be done about the situation. After protracted discussions with the manager we got the name and number of the officer responsible for the offending ATM at the airport who agreed to let Diya (the driver) know the next day if the card had been found in the ATM.
We then headed off to our hotel, the Mount Lavinia, on the opposite (south) side of Colombo to the Airport. The drive took over an hour and a half as the second half of the journey was through traffic jammed streets - just like Kensington – and we arrived at the hotel at around 4.30pm. The hotel is very grand and impressive; as it should be being the former residence of the British governors of Ceylon in Victorian times. After checking in we were shown to our room: large comfortable and right above the sea, and congratulated ourselves on our choice of hotels. It is even better than Jane had remembered it from her stay
View from the beach
Seafood Cove, our new gastronomic home from home, on the right
here in 2004. After unpacking, showering and settling in we went for an early dinner at the Hotel’s beach café, the Seafood Cove. It was magnificent. Jane had king prawns in garlic and butter, which she had been looking forward to (for 9 years) and I had a prawn curry: probably the best ever. Then in bed by 9pm and 11 hours sleep.
November: starting off with a very enjoyable buffet breakfast on the Governor’s Terrace at 9.30am looking out over the beach stretching north to central Colombo. Then we met up with Daya the driver at 11am who gave me the bad news that my debit card had not been recovered by the bank so it was quickly back to the room to call my card protection insurance company who arranged to cancel the card and order a replacement; also to check my account to make sure that no further withdrawals had been made. Afterwards we decided to go and take a look at a nearby department store called Odel. We took a tuk tuk, a three wheeled three seat scooter that are used here as low cost taxis for the 5 minute journey,
as it was too hot and humid to walk. The store turned out to be quite small for a department store but the clothes there seemed to be good quality and very low priced compared with back home: I bought a nice polo shirt for just over £6. Then it was back in the same tuk tuk to the hotel, the driver having waited for the hour that we spent in the store: £1.40 each way and we probably overpaid. Then a late lunch at the Seafood Cove on the beach, calamari for Jane this time, and a mixed salad for me. Afterwards Jane went for a swim in the hotel pool while I relaxed in the room. Off to the Seafood Cove later for dinner: we know when we’re on to a good thing. We start exploring tomorrow, firstly to the north central part of the island known as the Cultural Triangle; not to be confused with the Bermuda Triangle otherwise no more blogs.
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