Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My wife loves your city

If there was anything worth showing you in Colombo, you would have been spared that terrible joke. Unfortunately, there really isn't.

There are some quite attractive colonial buildings that seem symbolic in their decrepitude, and it's always nice to see colourful back-street temples demonstrating the diversity of religions, but it's nothing I haven't seen before in Malaysia. I didn't enjoy the compulsory sightseeing walk-about as much as usual, as I often had to make a choice between walking in the crazy road or walking through actual shit and around dead birds being eaten by their friends. Plus, this is Sri Lanka, so there were people pretending to give a shit about me because their brother owned a car rental company.

Staying in the Little India areas of Malaysian cities and Singapore gave me a taste (sometimes literally - yum, yum) of what South Central Asia might be like, but if it's this bad in Sri Lanka I'm now almost convinced I don't want to go to India. As remarkable as its jungles, crumbling ruins and wildlife would be (my idea of India is a little outdated and is largely based on The Jungle Book), I don't know why I'd choose to subject myself to more terrible cities like this when I could be relaxing on some pleasant island or something instead. I have the choice.

At least spending the morning in Colombo made me appreciate my little resort town more, relentless touts and all. And I did enjoy the train journey along the coast - even cheaper and more rickety than Thailand trains - which makes me optimistic that I might get away with never having to use the roads while I'm here. Yeah, right.

Sri Lanka

Colonel Henry Steele Olcott at Fort station.
Because why have a statue of a Sri Lankan when you can revere the white man?
Lieutenant Columbo's statue was nowhere to be seen

SATAN: It's for you-hoo.
GOD: Oh for My sake, tell them to call back.

Other fictional deities are available

I was happy to see an authentic Indian-style mosque. I mean, Sri Lankan.
Tomayto, tom-we fight wars over this-arto

All these 'hilarious' quips are to cover up the fact that I know nothing whatsoever about what most of these buildings are. There are no convenient tourist maps to work off this time, tourists don't really come here

Maybe that's why I'm such a target for these guys.
It's okay, the cobras like being kept in restrictive baskets and slapped around

National Museum: one building they haven't let slide into disrepair

Though I like the dilapidated ones too

And I always love a clock tower

Viharamahadevi Park

Colombo's streets aren't the easiest to navigate, but I was pleased (and a little surprised) that I made it to this park with only the crudest of hand-drawn maps to guide me. The park was pleasant enough, though it was a slight case of the tourism industry over-selling a few trees.

Did someone say trees?

That's more like it

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