Saturday, April 2, 2016

[COLOMBO] High as a Kite

If you thought I didn't do Dubai justice because I just chillaxed there, wait until you hear what I did in Colombo, or perhaps the more appropriate term is what I did NOT do here. It seems that for anyone who has been to Sri Lanka, there's this consensus that you have to get out of the capital to make the most out of it. Given that this was the last leg of my trip and I was exhausted AF, it served more as an extended transit leg to break what could've been an 8-hour plane ride from the Middle East to Manila.

But I’m not really worried. I have always seen Sri Lanka as a country that I can always visit given its strategic location between Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Along with India, this can obviously be a good and cost-effective transit point if you know how to play with the LCCs in the region. The visa is also very easy to obtain online and doesn't require much in terms of the necessary documents and the fee you have to pay. So whatever. What I missed, I will just try to see next time.

I think most of my time was spent between the Airbnb place I reserved and this nice café/art gallery called The Gallery Café. The food was fine and not that expensive despite the place being fancy-fancy. It is also a tourist attraction in itself, if you like art, that is. I don’t. So I just came for the food. And so back to sightseeing, what did I get to see in Colombo, then? Well, it wasn’t all that bad despite not seeing too much. I think the main attraction was Galle Face Beach, which was the nearest I could get to.

I don’t think there is anything special about the place itself. It just reminded me of Manila Bay, except that this is the Indian Ocean we are facing here instead of the Pacific. It was unbelievably hot and humid the day I was there. The sun did help in making the photos look good somehow, but I just felt like I was being roasted alive. An umbrella could've helped. But in spite of those hassles, witnessing the local activity there was fun, would've been better if I managed to get some shade.

They were flying kites that day, like, literal kites. Geez, not everything I talk about is related to drugs, okay? You assuming son of a bitch. The breeze was hot and strong, which made the kites fly higher. The colors made the otherwise monotonous blue and white of the sky more visually appealing, and when viewed from the other side you get the bonus of seeing the country’s flag soaring high with them. The only thing that ruined the image was the construction going on behind the main avenue.

I can imagine how this area could be the place to be in the near future. Construction of residential skyscrapers is in full swing and getting an address right next to Galle Face Beach does seem like an appealing idea, especially if you just love the view of the ocean outside your window. But the beach is not the only tourist attraction there, as you'll also find this huge colonial building which I think is the secretariat. There's this statue of a guy in front of it. I don’t know who but he must be important to get his own monument, right?

Going farther inland, you will find some hotels as well as a temple with a big Buddha guarding the gate. What followed was an hour or two of aimless strolling turning left and right here and there and finding some structures that deserve to be photographed from time to time, like that red and yellow brick building near the Independence Memorial. I also saw a small mosque and an equally small church in my quest to find Starbucks for a quick break, which I never did.

Overall, I was in Colombo for three days, which could have been enough to insert a daytrip to Kandi or somewhere a tourist would normally go. Somehow I feel like I wasted the opportunity to get to know the country better, but as I said, I am going back anyway. It’s not as if it’s a once in a lifetime deal. At least I got to know Colombo as a city and what it feels like to reside there somehow. It wasn’t bad, although I didn't really like it that much. I guess it just has too much of a Manila kind of vibe.
[COLOMBO] High as a Kite

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