I land in Colombo a little bit weary but thankful for the cool Sri Lankan guy who lives in DC and is in town for the big cricket game (St Thomas against Royal matching up for the 130th “Battle of the Blues”). I know nothing about cricket but he said it’s a must see as cricket is a religion in this country.
One of the first signs I see in the airport is ‘Drug offenses punishable by Death Penalty” -ack!! I seriously question how smart it was to be carrying my hemp purse!?
I arrive at the Colombo Swimming club-a member’s only club Jen organized through members of our running group http://www.colombohash.com/. Rooms are 6000RS/night ($60 US) but include a large English breakfast and has an amazing pool and large, clean rooms with a water filter and mosquito netting. I do some laps then sit poolside for a local Lion beer (175 RS or $1.50) Another Hasher-Gustie-joins us and tells us about her recent Balinese wedding (one of the traditions is the couple spanks one another with palm leaves!!)
We shower and dine at the Galle Face hotel which is a posh hotel built in the 1860’s in Dutch Colonial style. They offer a dinner buffet for 1500RS but we opt for small plates and I make the mistake of ordering CA wine at $9US. From now on, I’ll stick to local beer and rums. There is an Indian wedding at the hotel and we observe the amazing saris amidst tacky Western-style outfits.