Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sri Lankan Croquet

Lydia wrote this post and my hilarious yet informative quips will appear in [brackets].

We arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka early this morning and checked into our Airbnb.

[The last native holdout against the British was the Kingdom of Kandy, which just makes me think of Candy Crush.]

[Uber broke my heart at the airport. How there are no cars available at a nation's capital airport... don't get me started. Luckily we were able to use Ubers once we were in the city. I prefer it so much that I'll walk 30 minutes past 30 taxis to find wifi to call one, often to Lydia's annoyance. Uber removes the haggling, the language barriered torture of describing your destination, your need for correct change, and to top it all off you get a fun little map of your trip's route. I feel a bit bad about it because it's probably hurting the poorest drivers who can't afford a smart phone but... not bad enought to get into their cab. It's the worst.]

[The cab driver we got was funny. He was like "do you want to take the highway which is 2 hours faster with a toll of 2 dollars or..." let me stop you right there. Yes please.]

[My main gripe with the Airbnb is the owners were cheapskates and a key in the wall mechanism was needed to keep the power on. If you left the place you had to take the key out, which killed the AC, so that the apartment could warm up to disgusting temperatures and be waiting to destroy you when you returned.]

After settling in, we headed for lunch at the Ministry of Crab. According to Lonely Planet, “Crabs are a major income earner for Sri Lanka’s fishing industry but most are exported.” However, the Ministry of Crab is one Sri Lankan restaurant with a lot of crab on the menu.

Unfortunately, this story has a sad ending. After wandering around the block a few times, we finally found the restaurant hidden within the depths of the Old Dutch Hospital. I was happy to see the restaurant was nearly empty, and that they’d have plenty of room for us. Well guess what they didn’t have? Crab! The hostess informed us, they’d already sold out of crab for the day. Excuse me? No one is even at your stupid restaurant!

After some quick Googling, John saved the day by suggesting The Lagoon, Trip Advisor’s number one Colombo restaurant. When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to find a Sunday buffet complete with crab. Take that Ministry of Crab. Pretty much all the food at the buffet was spicy – even the deviled eggs were sprinkled with hot peppers.

[Wifi is constant issue for us. We may need to invest in an international phone plan or something, but the amount of time we spend wandering around trying to find internet is brutal. This is a screenshot of the "free wifi for citizens" webpage. Thanks for nothing.]

[Burger King had free internet though! USA! USA!]

[Clockwise we have rice, spicy tempered garlic kang kung, pumpkin kalupol, and tempered chili cashew nuts. Lydia is pretty scared of foods with character and so thought everything was too spicy. Womp womp.]

As usual, the best part of the buffet was dessert. I was introduced to Mud Pie which is basically a brownie fried in butter with butterscotch sauce and brandy. Wowzah.

[One of the odder desserts I could find was this avocado mousse. It pretty much tasted like sweet whipped avocado. Plus the sign said it was "avocado mouse" which pretty much wins the game.]

We were able to walk off our lunch (or at least part of it) on the way to the Gangaramaya Temple. This Buddhist temple is pretty much a big, crazy collection of Buddhas and other Buddha-y things. One of the more memorable pieces in the museum is a stuffed elephant. Unfortunately, it was very, very hot, so we didn’t spend too much time looking around.


[Street signs were in three languages plus they had corporate sponsors.]

[Cream soda produced by the Sri Lanka Housewives Association apparently.]

[They have a dead stuffed elephant because... Buddhism?]

[Never have I seen so many Buddhas assembled. Looks like someone was reincarnated as a hoarder.]

Leaving the museum, we walked around Beira Lake and gazed upon the Swan Paddleboats. The lake water was pretty gross looking, otherwise I would have insisted on taking a ride.

A little bit further along, we spotted a Komodo Dragon swimming in the river, but it was too fast to get a picture.

As we were walking, about 5 million tuk-tuk drivers stopped to chat. Even after politely declining offers for a ride, most of the drivers continued to follow us for several minutes talking in jumbled English. They weren’t my favorite people.

[Looks like the Ramadan buffets are a thing in Sri Lanka too.]

Our walk ended at the Galle Face Hotel on the coast of the Indian Ocean. The hotel was built in 1864 and has hosted many important people including Mark Twain, James Joyce, Ghandi, and Richard Nixon among others. We spent a while in the Traveler’s Bar cooling off in the air conditioning and sipping some yummy drinks.


[Emperor Hirohito, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Scarlett Johansson walk into a bar...]

Once we were sufficiently cooled off, we headed to the poolside bar, where John noticed a croquet court. We had one of the workers dig out the mallets and balls and played a few sloppy rounds. We looked up the rules online, but we still had to make up several of our own. I was the proud winner when all was said and done.

[We had to take a rain break.]

We rested our croquet-weary bones as we sipped another round of drinks oceanside. There were some funny chipmunk creatures bouncing around. Their tails flapped up and down as they moved which was pretty cute.

Of course our afternoon wouldn’t have been complete without a little tea time, so we ordered High Tea at the hotel’s restaurant. I’d say considering we weren’t actual guests, we did a pretty good job enjoying the Galle Face Hotel.

[Oddly enough they were kind of stingy with the tea itself. And they poured it in glass cups which were hot to hold. Very odd. I've high tead in London so...]

[It's all about the scones and the jam and clotted cream for me.]

[Galle Face Green north of the hotel was quite a happening place. There was an especially large amount of kite flying going on. It looked like a big storm was coming though, so we hit the road and returned to the apartment.]

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