Three Months In Sri Lanka – Week 1


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Fleeing Winter

Yorkshire was cold, wet and miserable and the approaching winter looked threatening. I wanted to be in a warmer, exotic place where the sun would warm my tired bones. So, one freezing December morning I took a taxi to Manchester airport and flew to Sri Lanka.

The Emirates Airbus 380 was a joy and there was Glenfiddich before lunch and decent Viré Clessé and a Grenache Blanc/Viognier with the grilled chicken. Dubai airport, as glamorous as ever, dazzled me.

Next morning, Colombo was pleasantly warm and the drive to the city on the new expressway took only 20 mts.

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House In Sri Lanka

The house in the outskirts of Colombo was clean but had a musty smell. I opened the windows, drank a bottle of Lion Lager and ate rice and vegetable curries with relish. After a blissful siesta, I walked through the village past rice fields and waterways full of waders to a roadside cafe run by off duty soldiers to eat hoppers – rice pancakes with fiery chilli sambal, and drink king coconut water before returning to the house, feeling pleased with myself, for an early night.

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Golden King Coconuts

Golden King Coconuts

Next day, the gardener came early. We pruned the overgrown mango tree in the front garden and arranged brightly coloured bougainvillaea on the verandah. We cleaned the house, burnt termite infested kitchen units and installed new ones, bought food and got ready for life in ‘paradise.’

Traditional can-weaver repairing my recliner

Traditional cane-weaver repairing my recliner

A few days later, we found an elderly woman who agreed to come in daily to cook for us. She ambled in at 7.30 in the morning, cooked breakfast and lunch, got things ready for dinner, washed up and cleaned the kitchen to amble out at 1.30 – all for the princely sum of two English Pounds!

Tallest Garden Tower In The World

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What was billed as the ‘tallest garden tower in the world’ was launched at a cocktail party held at the upmarket Water’s Edge hotel. Ageing architects, businessmen with more money than manners, rich potential buyers and politicians with inflated egos watched the 3D presentation sipping Scotch on rocks and munching prawn canapés. The Tower would have 47 floors of luxury apartments complete with drip-irrigated terraced gardens, plunge pools and solar power. You could reserve one if you had £200,000 to spare.

A Wedding At Blue Water

The taxi took one and a half hours to cover the 37 kms. to Blue Water Hotel on the beach at Wadduwa. The young couple first had a mid-afternoon church wedding followed by a traditional Sri Lankan ceremony at Blue Water in the evening.The groom made a speech, the bride sang, the band played, everybody danced, drank a lot of Scotch, ate dinner and went home with the first dawn chorus.

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