Sri Lanka

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    • Day 5

      Two idiots on a mission...

      October 3, 2019 in Sri Lanka ⋅ 🌧 27 °C

      Heute war ein lustiger Tag 🤣🤣
      Lucy schickte mich und Nahzu zum einkaufen, da wir abends einen Kochabend mit Sabine (Freundin von Lucy) machen wollten und auch noch Dinge für die restliche Woche brauchten. 😃

      Wir starteten unsere Einkaufsrunde mit Lucy’s Geburtstagsgeschenk. 🤗 Sie hatte sich am Montag in eine Kuh-Cappuccino-Bialetti verliebt 🙌 leider war die im Kaufhaus beschädigt 🙈
      So besuchten Nahzu und ich jeden Laden der Kaffeemaschinen im Sortiment haben könnte bis wir fündig wurden. 😎🙌 Natürlich immer unterwegs mit einem lebensmüden Tuktuk.. 🤣

      Danach haben wir über eine Stunde im Supermarkt gebraucht um Lucy’s Liste abzuarbeiten , hier zeigte sich absolute Planlosigkeit, Verballertheit und Verwirrung 🤣
      Bei mir schiebe ich es auf den unterschiedlichen Supermarktaufbau und bei Nahzu vll dass er ein Mann ist und unsere minimalen sprachlichen Missverständnisse 🤔🤣🤣 - aber es hat sehr viel Spaß gemacht 🙌

      Zur Belohnung gab es dann einen Falooda - total süßer Drink mit Rosensyrup und Eis und komischen Früchten süß süß süß.. Nahzu und Kaush schwören darauf... aber naja... 😅

      Abends lernte ich Sabine kennen, junger Vater ist das eine Koryphäe 😂😂🙈 Sabine ist Mitte 50, knallharte Powerfrau (don’t mess with Sabine 🙇‍♀️) und verweilt meist in gehobenen Kreisen. 😎 War super lustig ihre Geschichten zu hören, da sie ohne Punkt und Komma redet. 🤣

      Fazit: Kürbis Gnocchis mit Kürbissauce und Kürbis Chai Latte 🎃 ist bei weitem nicht so einfach zu kochen, wie es sich anhört 🤣🙌 Die Küche glich einem Schlachtfeld.. 🤣🤦‍♀️
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    • Day 71

      D71 Sri Lanka - Colombo Wedding!!

      September 13, 2019 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      Please note - We did not stay up until the wee hours of the morning writing this particular blog. Sleep seemed like the better option. I hope you enjoy our recollection of the wedding as much as we enjoyed attending.

      All we had been instructed to do was to arrive at the family compound around 5pm to get changed for the ceremony. Yesterday and today’s celebrations we were told were the responsibility of the bride’s family, whereas the next 2 days are being organised by the groom’s family. So while we previously thought we were attending the ritzy formal celebration, we were actually attending the marriage ceremony held at the family home. We didn’t mind at all - in fact, it felt right that way, since we had been invited by the bride’s family in the first place!

      Yesterday, I had tried on the dress that Kareema had organised for me - it was way too long so overnight she had it shortened to accomodate my short stature! It was also quite gapey for my size in the torso but I didn’t dare comment as she had way too much on her plate already! The dress was dark blue in colour and in keeping with the wedding theme, had gold detailing. It was very heavy as it had two layers and came with a shawl, but Kareema did such a great job considering she had never met me before and I was beyond grateful. She also let me borrow a pair of sparkly heeled slippers, and some very ritzy looking gold jewellery. She jokingly told me not to leave without finding her at the end of the night!
      Suwadi had picked out a shirt for Anthony - a nice cotton “gold coloured” material that was to match my dress (Anthony said it was more beige than gold). Paired with a traditional sarong and white cap with a simple trim (symbolising that he was from this village). Ant looked the part and all the other men were huge fans! He was #2 on the VIP list that night, coming in close to the bridal couple!

      What can we say about the night....
      - Right up until after 7pm (when the bride was due to arrive), people were getting changed and arriving to the house in droves, food was being prepared in HUGE quantities outside under cover, fairy lights were being switched on and kids were still running riot (in slightly smarter wear this time!).
      - For 90% of the evening, men and women were seperate into two different areas. The women were positioned in the main common area where the bridal party would be for the night, on chairs and crammed on the floor wherever they found room (and boy did that make for a steamy hot environment)! The men were outside and then in various rooms to eat a communal meal together in groups of 6, either sitting on the floor or at a table. As Ant and myself were visitors, Suwadi had arranged for us to eat with him at a table, as it was a bit complicated for me to eat alongside all the other ladies.
      - Dinner was delicious, again! Tonight we enjoyed a beef biryani with several accompanying dishes, plus Wattalapan for dessert! I have been trying to find this so Ant could try it and it did not disappoint. We were introduced to the kitchen crew earlier, including the head chef who is one of the most popular in the area and has been doing this for over 40 years! We were in absolute awe at the setup - a dozen or more vats holding various curries and pickles, plus others cooking the biryanis that were sealed with a dough to help trap the steam. The cow that had been slaughtered at 1am that morning certainly made its way into everyone’s bellies with ease!
      - The bride’s family colour was pink so when we saw a lady or a man wearing a pink dress or shirt we knew it was a relative of Suwadi and Kareema.
      - This was an arranged marriage by two Tamil Muslim families; the bride was around 18 and the groom was 5 or 6 years older. So the marriage ceremony was the first time that they had laid eyes on one another. For the record, they both looked equally as nervous beforehand, and equally as relieved and happy (albeit tired) afterwards!
      - The bride arrived at the house first and a couple of hours later, the groom and some of his relations joined the festivities. As they walked into the compound all the men were singing various chants and songs which we found incredibly moving.
      - The bride’s family prepare a room for the happy couple to stay in for the remainder of the wedding period; this was upstairs at her parents house (part of an informal dowry) and was complete with two HUGE cupboards (contributed by Suwadi and Kareema) full to the brim with presents. Their contents were donated by various family members and included clothing and shoes, gold jewellery, makeup, bags, towels, toiletries, everything one could desire at that point in time! It was slightly intimidating...
      - They don’t stop eating. The entire time. The dinner was served in waves due to the sheer amount of people eating, but even after the main dinner was eaten, sweets alongside hot tea and coffee was pushed gently into our hands/mouths. A few people laughed at “how little” we eat.
      - This group of people have been some of the nicest, most generous, hospitable and welcoming people that we have had the pleasure of spending time with. They immediately opened their home to us, despite how busy they all were, and continued to go out of their way to talk to us and to introduce us to more people.

      Suwadi’s driver, Dean, drove us back to the Villa just after midnight, where we had to wake up our poor housekeeper to let us in! We did pre warn him, but we did feel slightly guilty...
      What a night - we are still exhausted due to being so switched on the whole time but it was an honour to be part of such an exciting occasion!
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      Amazing kindness. A memory you will hold onto forever. JC

    • Day 73

      D72/73 Sri Lanka - Colombo

      September 15, 2019 in Sri Lanka ⋅ 🌧 27 °C

      We set off after a late breakfast of mini chippolata style “chicken” snags, extremely salty bacon and a delicious omelette, heading into Cinammon Gardens using our first Uber ride. What a bargain!

      Our first stop was The Good Market, a sustainability focused market attracting local expats. Prices were at a premium, with many attractive nik naks on offer. Children’s clothes, handmade toys, carved coconut wares, and heaps of delicious smelling food. One lady was offering devilled, sugared and natural cashews, as well as some freshly squeezed cashew milk sweetened with a local honey. It was yum, and so refreshing in the heat and extreme humidity of the morning.

      The fort area has some impressive old colonial buildings, a clock tower and a lighthouse. Oddly though, the lighthouse now sits inland. In front of it lies the huge Marina Square development (part of Port City), currently a large vacant piece of land (269ha of reclaimed sea) ready for its luxury high rise condos, marinas and more. Check it out on google maps - it’s similar in nature to the development in places like Dubai.

      Wandering through the fort area, we saw this huge tall brass chandelier inside the historic Central Point building, dropping five levels through its central staircase shaft. It was super impressive, and said to be the largest in south east asia. A strong coffee at Java Lounge (advertised as using Starbucks coffee beans), a visit to the local tourist hot spot trinket souvenir stores, and a viewing of the candy cane looking Red Mosque, we jumped into another tuk tuk to Galle Face Green.

      Arriving to what is more like Galle Face Dusty-Brown-with-patches-of-Green, the sight that welcomed us took us back to the balloons in Cappadocia. Although instead of balloons, kites of all shapes, sizes and colours bobbed around in the sea strewn winds. Below the kites, hundreds of locals wandered amongst vendors selling snacks, inflatable toys, kites and other associated paraphernalia. The sun was hiding behind the clouds after the tropical downpour earlier in the day, and the heavy ocean waves rolled up to the stone retaining wall. The clouds slowly turning shades of pastel orange, and the buzz of everything happening around us made us feel further from home than we’d felt this whole trip.

      And then, after a magical day of emergence into the city like locals, we were rapidly reminded of our tourist status...

      We selected Nana Chef’s Halal snack food stall for dinner as there were quite a few other patrons, and were ushered to our seats overlooking the sun as it set into the Laccadive Sea. The waiter showed us one by one what was on offer, all neatly displayed behind glass. We were instantly swooped up in the excitement of our seaside barbecue.

      The food arrived and albeit minimalist, and the beef skewers needing further evolution of my jaw and inscisors, it was tasty. We washed our hands and cleansed the prawn smell with a squeeze of lime, then asked for the bill. On presentation, I nearly fell over. It was the equivalent of about $30aud, which is 5 star accomodation prices. I was so shocked and still riding the wave of our meal by sunset, that we paid quickly and began to leave. A minute up the promenade and I was fuming and a local passer by knew it - ‘I think he just ripped you off no? I heard the bill was more than 3000 rupees.’ He said.
      I replied, ‘you think so? What would it normally cost?’ To which he responded with half the amount at most. I was reeling. Not at the cost, but at being taken advantage of. After a few expletives I decided to confront the business. I turned around, and made a beeline for the waiter.

      ‘Could I see the bill again? It was very expensive..’ I said trying to be diplomatic. He said he’d thrown the bill out already and with that, begun scribbling on his notepad, stopping half way through to say ‘you want a discount?’
      ‘Yeh I want a discount, it was too expensive and not right, we have never paid this much’, to which he responded as he fumbled over small rupee notes, ‘ah tourist prices you know, it’s must.’ And I said ‘nah it’s not, more of a discount’ as he slid me an additional yet tokenistic 100 rupee note. We were able to reduce the bill by a fifth, but hardly enough considering my sudden dissatisfaction with the meagre meal.

      We walked away, with some reprise knowing that we’d done our best to keep the system as honest as it can be. My next move will be a scathing google review. As we approached the line of tuk tuks, we debated whether or not we should just grab another Uber home, something we’d only discovered existed here this morning. Instead we opted for a tuk tuk with meter as it’s usually about the same price.

      Approaching the first tuk tuk in line, and telling him we wanted to go to Malabe (it’s about 30 mins from town), he appeared uninterested, to which another guy appeared and said ‘no problem sir, follow me’. We turned around, started to follow towards his tuk tuk when all of a sudden the first guy ran after us - they just erupted at each other and we found ourselves in the middle of a heated tuk tuk driver argument. The originally disinterested driver agreed to our destination, so we walked towards his tuk tuk as they continued berating one another. It was rather intense and we very nearly began to walk away altogether.

      Once in the tuk tuk, we started off. Two minutes in and the driver started saying something about ‘petrol’ and ‘5 minutes’. We said ok, and he swung the tuk tuk around the wrong corner (we always track everything with our own phones - thanks google). Two minutes up the road and at the moment me saying ‘wrong way!’ we pulled into what looked like a pawn shop with mountains of jewellery inside, and a line of tuk tuks out front. ‘Ah’ I thought, he’d taken us to a place where he would gain commission from any purchases we make, offsetting the cost of his return from our distant accomodation. A stern ‘no thanks’ and we were back on track, arriving tired and emotionally worn out from our few hours of emergence in Colombo’s tourist money wangling environment.

      The following day, we stuck to Uber’s, travelling only to the department store Odel and the new shopping mall so very creatively named Colombo City Centre. We were on a hunt for a carry on piece of luggage to haul our increasing pile of goodies that we’ve collected along our travels. After some googling, we decided to continue with the haul of plastic bags given the excessive price that they were asking for old stock, that can be purchased in Aus for up to 75% off. Arriving back to our friend Rennie (who has looked after us so well with our British style breakfasts at Villa Jasmine Breeze), we waited for Suwadi’s driver to arrive (Dean), who then drove us some 4 hours to Habanara. Expecting them to turn back around and head into the darkness with wild elephants risking traffic on the toad, they decided to stay the night at the hotel and join us for breakfast before returning home. We are eternally grateful for Suwadi and his community’s generosity over the past few days.
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    • Day 15

      Day with family

      March 16, 2020 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

      A quiet night in our lovely room. Excellent breakfast. Chris picked us up and showed us where he used to work and lunch when he lived in Colombo. We arrived and were greeted by old friends from Savi’s family. So nice to see them after two and a half years.
      A really tasty lunch was served and later we walked up to the local temple for a spot of sketching.
      Then back for a dip in the pool and intension to visit the temple together. Just as we were leaving the heavens opened with an almighty thunder storm and power cuts. All that would pacify Hugo was a performance of the Gruffalo and Gruffalo child with Nanny narrating and Chris and Myumi doing the actions. We left in darkness and there was a large tortoise in the drive! but thankfully the hotel has full power and cooling.
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    • Day 6


      May 15, 2015 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

      eine Stunde Autofahrt nach Colombo zum MTU Office, dort wird das Auto gewechselt und es geht ab ins Hilton Hotel, ich darf zu einem Meeting mit der Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. mit.
      Am Ende bekomme ich diese Mütze geschenkt.
      Nach dem Meeting darf ich den Workshop der Bahn besichtigen und
      Anschließend zu einem Treffen mit dem Obersten Chef von Dimo.
      Danach direkt weiter ins Flag & Whistle, dort gibt es sogar Westliches essen.
      kaum gegessen muss ich auch schon weiter zur Bahnstation um den Zug nach Hikkaduwa zu erwischen
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    • Day 3


      May 12, 2015 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

      Der erste Arbeitstag fällt heute leider aus da mir das Flugzeugessen nicht allzu gut bekommen ist.
      Mittags gehts mir wieder etwas besser und ich bestelle mir einen Tee und ein Sandwich

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