Beer, Lunch and Odel
What a hectic day! It was nice to be inside the cool confines of our room and two chilled Carlsberg beers to help us relax. The Colombo experience thus far had been a mixed bag of sorts. But I didn't want to think about it. For now, my focus was on the seafood lunch we'd soon dig into at the restaurant.
The fish curry rice was delicious, though it wasn't as spicy as I thought it would be. The deep-fried prawns were excellent; again, not very spicy. Some 30 years ago, my dad who was in the movie business had many friends from erstwhile Ceylon visiting us in Madras (now known as Chennai). I vividly remember one of them had brought a bottle of green chilly chutney. It was nothing short of fire. Obviously they didn't make that kind of stuff any more.
Eating this not-so-spicy food made me wonder if I was in the wrong country or wrong restaurant. I decided I'd have a word with the Chef on how to spice up the dinner.
A quick nap is what we needed to put the spring back in our step. 250 rupees by the tuk-tuk brought us to Odel, Sri Lanka's foremost lifestyle store. It was open; with lots people in it too. The story goes that the store's founder and CEO, Ms. Otara Gunewardene once sold clothes from the boot of her car and encouraged by the fashion-conscious Sri Lankan people, she graduated into big time fashion retailing with the best of brands.
But bloody expensive too! We killed time for about an hour and the only thing we purchased was a soft toy for KC, that lovable German Shepherd of ours. It didn't come cheap, mind you; but then, when it comes to KC you don't question, you just buy it.
It was 6.30 pm and just about getting dark. Surprisingly, the roadside vendors were packing up too. I wondered if it was for security reasons. It's the festival, we were told by this Muslim trader who had this 'Communication' shop across the road from Odel. Any shop in Sri Lanka with the name 'Communication' means it deals in mobile phones and accessories. We thought we'd get pre-paid SIM cards for our mobile phones. For 500 rupees the talk time is for only 150 rupees. ISD would be cheaper.
I hadn't seen a newspaper the whole day. They said the 'Daily Mirror' was Sri Lanka's widely read newspaper. So I purchased one for 25 rupees. That's 12.50 Indian rupees. That was the last I'd buy a newspaper in Sri Lanka.
There's something about shooting pictures of roads in the night; that glow in the dark, those speeding streaks of lights from moving cars. I love the effect. Should I risk it after my morning experience?
What the hell, why not!
Next: When the Tsunami struck Galle