Sunday, September 11, 2005
One of the grand dining halls at the hotel. Above the din, the Three (Sinhalese) Caballeros are trying to croon. You should hear their rendition of 'Hotel California'!
Posted by Naim Y at 13:17
At the hotel driveway, the imposing Colombo World Trade Centre's twin towers (East Tower to the right) look impressive across the Galle Face Green (constructed by the British 1859 as a parade cum execution ground - two-in-one).
Posted by Naim Y at 13:16
Having had enough of the Buddha for the day, I head to the sea for a refreshing walk along the Galle Face Esplanade, built by the Brits 1859. At the southern end, stands the venerable Galle Face Hotel, founded in 1864, and frequented by many famous people over the years (incl. James Bond and Yuri Gagarin?).
Posted by Naim Y at 13:15
Tail end of the monsoon season now, but the strong Indian Ocean breeze still whips the sea water. Head to the horizon, and your next stop would be the east coast of Africa, 3,500km away.
Posted by Naim Y at 13:05
One of the numerous food stalls lining the Galle Face Esplanade, almost 1km in length. Buffeted by strong winds from the Indian Ocean round-the-clock.
Posted by Naim Y at 13:04
Looking north, those are the 33-storey twin towers of Colombo World Trade Centre, surrounded by 5-star hotels and major financial institutions. That area swarms with armed police and military men, and also with conmen masquerading as fund-raisers or tourist guides, or off-duty hotel cooks!
Posted by Naim Y at 12:58
A stupa is always an integral part of a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, where it's called the dagoba. It is shaped after the leaf of the sacred bodhi tree, and is supposed to represent the Buddha's body, his speech and his mind, on the way to Enlightenment.
Posted by Naim Y at 12:42
A closet full of precious religious items. In the cone-shaped glass container (bottom-left), I spot sand-like bone fragments of Buddha (or so the priest tells me).
Posted by Naim Y at 12:32
Posted by Naim Y at 12:23
Posted by Naim Y at 12:17
One of the most famous and beautiful Buddhist temples in Colombo, next to Lake Beira. This temple raised enough money to build more than 1,400 homes for people displaced in the 2004 tsunami in southern Sri Lanka. It has an excellent collection of ancient Buddhist paraphernalia, and bone fragments of Lord Buddha.
Posted by Naim Y at 00:56
Posted by Naim Y at 00:49
I find the tuk-tuks here better looking than the ones in India. But foreigners pay twice what locals pay for a ride! A very popular mode of transport in Colombo, a city of 2.3 mil people.
Posted by Naim Y at 00:20
Posted by Naim Y at 00:19
Wa-hey... in Colombo, ppl can more or less trust the zebra crossing. Can't say the same for KL. Policemen (and armed soldiers) are all over the place - in just 2 days, I saw 3 cases of summons being issued on the spot.
Posted by Naim Y at 00:18
A new day and two military choppers landed on the cricket ground across the road from the hotel. And suddenly the area is swarming with armed men. I hear some top airforce brass is having a big do downstairs. Btw, that's the Indian Ocean in the background, very choppy and rough.
Posted by Naim Y at 00:15
Posted by Naim Y at 00:14
A soldier armed with a machine-gun in a streetside bunker. Common sight in Colombo, no thanks to the internal conflicts this wonderful country is undergoing now. What a pity.
Posted by Naim Y at 00:13
After passing through friendly immigration guys in a new terminal, we hop onto a hotel car and make our way to downtown Colombo in the dusk. Ninety minutes later (and 35km, no thanks to bad traffic) we are at the TransAsia Hotel, and first things first - cool iced Ceylon tea and fresh coconut water.
Posted by Naim Y at 00:09