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Published: June 18th 2012
Last day in Sri Lanka ... not even a day come to think of it ... we caught an early flight out to Doha ... we stayed in Negambo at an interesting guest house ... can't remember the name, but the owner is Swiss and has some interesting ideas on decor.
Staying in Negambo was a better option than staying in Colombo and fighting the morning traffic to get to the airport which is close to Negambo.
So how has Sri Lanka changed? Many things for the better. The military check points in and around Colombo are gone, except for the area around Beira Lake at the start of duplication road. Since that is now the Army HQ, the check points there are understandable. Didn't head out to the East or North to check out the land mine clearing situation. But, reports are generally good. There are many new cars on the road, and very few of the Morris Minor era antiqus/relics. The roads are mostly in good repair and there's even a brand new freeway to the south from just outside Colombo.
I've always believed that a good freeway system, in the form of a ring road
around the country and a couple criss crossing the middle (Hey! that'll look like a peace symbol) would go a long ways towards changing people's attitudes ... if one can get from the southern tip near Matara to the North in Jaffna in about 4 hours or from Colombo to Trinco in under 3 hours, and not take all day or more as is currently the case, then the small intimate nature of the country would become obvious. Can you imagine? Jaffna being a day trip from Galle? Leave early, get there in time for lunch with friends and head back before nightfall. This should do miracles to spread economic activity to the regions away from Colombo too.
On the negative side, inflation is very high and local wages generally haven't kept up. Back in 2000 the exchange rate to the US$ was around Rs.70 or so ... now it's around Rs.130. As a foreigner, the price in dollars is about the same as 10 years ago, but it's a lot more for the local paying in Rupees.
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