Saturday, 19 October 2013

Sri Lanka Week

Some flowers. A symbol of Sri Lankan hospitality or some such...

Rather in the same mould as a hotel special night - and having had one too many themed buffet meals than we needed over the past week, thank you - this week's going to be Sri Lanka Week, so if you're not interested in Travels In Serendib, I'd give it all a miss if I were you.

We did a hare-brained, breakneck tour of Sri Lanka over Eid, as usual ill-informed and wilfully determined not to be told what to do. We had help at hand - an 'inside job' had been arranged by Sri Lankan pal Deepika, who had a driver at hand. The scheme was simple - clock into Colombo at the dreadful hour of 2.50 am thanks to Air 'we like the cheap slots' Arabia and stay briefly at the Ramada Katunayake at the airport before whizzing up to Kandy for two nights staying at the Earl's Regency, Nuwara Eliya for a night at uber-funky boutique plantation house The Jetwing Warwick Gardens and then back down to Colombo for an evening at the Mount Lavinia before flying out again in the early hours.

There was method behind the four-night madness. We had travelled to Sri Lanka before, a week's stay at the lovely-looking Sun House in Galle. That week was to turn out to be nothing short of disastrous, featuring a gurgling twit English hotelier, a randy old monk, sham tea plantations, rats piss blankets and The Worst Meal Of My Life. We eventually escaped to Colombo and got drunk before fleeing Sri Lanka vowing never to return.

I reviewed the Sun House Hotel for now defunct food blog The Fat Expat back in the day. The review's linked here and worth a read for a laugh. As a taster, it starts...
"What more could you want to make your boutique hotel experience unforgettable than the facilities offered by the Sun House in Galle, a former colonial bungalow converted into a small, exclusive and luxurious hotel?

The Sun House offers a gurgling twit British owner who appears to have escaped from a comedy show, limited and inflexible dining, a set of threadbare towels and sheets, broken plumbing and a nice, steady stream of rat's piss onto your pillows as you sleep. It really is the perfect way to come to a state of fear and loathing in Galle."
As for The Worst Meal Of My Life, that was at the gloriously beautiful Lighthouse Hotel in Galle, in probably the most handsome restaurant I have ever dined in. That one's linked here for your listening pleasure. As a piece of review writing, it's one of my personal favourites, by the way and still makes me, despite everything, laugh. Here's a snippet:
"In fact, the entire meal had come out and then simply gone back. And the waiter didn’t bat an eyelid. He had obviously seen this happening before: seen the breathless anticipation of romantic couples turned into wide-eyed horror and revulsion and then plunge into despair."
Sarah 'The Hedonista' Walton went to Sri Lanka and loved it, writing it up as an ethereal and magical experience. I could never reconcile that with our own snarling, resentful journey of furious disappointment.

So this time around Deepika talked us into it - but we decided to move so fast that if we encountered disaster, at least it would be fleeting. And I'm glad we did it now, because we had a fantastic time - a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs that was never less than fascinating, frequently endearing, sometimes frustrating but never in danger of going anywhere near the painful lessons of Galle.

So welcome, armchair traveller, to Sri Lanka Week...
Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

Oh, I thought this was going to be a live-blog experience, not massaged to perfection from your Sharjah work-space!

From The Dungeons

Book Marketing And McNabb's Theory Of Multitouch

(Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I clearly want to tell the world about A Decent Bomber . This is perfectly natural, it's my latest...