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They Said – “Don’t Go to Pettah”

February 20, 2008

Helen – This morning Irene made hot oatmeal for us (someone had given it to Ruki because it is difficult to find here) because she thought we would enjoy it…we did, even though it was hot!!

Then we were off to tour parts of the city that we had not seen before.  Since the car was being repaired, we took a Tuk-Tuk and asked the driver to take us to the Grand Mosque. 

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The driver said he knew where it was but he took us to the Red Mosque.  It is 100 years old and under quite a bit of reconstruction.  We were not allowed to go inside and there wasn’t much to see outside.  But the caretaker there could speak English and told us about the Mosque.

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Then Tom asked him about the Grand Mosque and he said this wasn’t it and we had to walk to it.  It was really, really hot and we were in the busiest trade center (Pettah) part of town (not the safest we were told) but we decided to walk so we could get the real flavor and smell of this part of the city.  This is the most diverse part of town with Muslims, Catholics, Dutch Reformists, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. living and working side by side.  Tom took pictures of each house of worship. 

Dutch Reformists

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Catholic

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Hindu

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The streets were divided by wares such as: clothes, accessories, fabrics, gold, pans, etc.  I bought some sea shells for 500 rupees.

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That evening we dressed up and took a taxi to the Mt Lavinia Hotel to have drinks on the terrace and watch the sunset.  There are always complications but we made it with a few minutes to spare and had our drinks in our hands as the sun went down.  This is one of the grandest hotels right on the beach.  The terrace was set around the pool and because it was a Poya Day (Holy Day), no alcohol could be served.  The iced cafes were delicious but would prove to keep us awake that night!!  After the sun set we toured the hotel.  The grand ballroom was breath taking with its extra-huge cut glass chandelier from a very high ceiling.  The tables were all in white double long cloths and the chairs in white covers with large bows in the back.  Doors on one side opened to a terrace overlooking the ocean and could bring in cool breezes.  We went to the shopping gallery and looked inside a jewelry shop.  Gold is at a high even here and I don’t particularly like the 22 karat gold color.  Rings are made in 18 karat because it is stronger.  We looked at the blue sapphires and their color is truly dark and rich.  One ring was priced at about $1000 but he said since we were Americans we could have it for $350!!!  Something is amiss here!!

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We had dinner reservations there under the pavilion overlooking the ocean.  They have a different buffet theme each day of the week but we were not interested in that night’s choice of East Asia (Chinese, Mongolian, and Sri Lankan) foods so ordered Australian Beef Tenderloin, French fries, and salad from the menu.  This is the first beef we have had since we arrived here in January and we enjoyed every bite!!!  We weren’t tired (coffee!) when we returned home, so I knitted and watched some TV (don’t have TV in Matara) while Tom worked on the computer.

It was a sleepless night, hot and sticky even with the fan.  I finally had to take a simply sleep around 3am only to be awaken at 6:30.  In the bathroom I noticed that the right side of my chest was especially sticky and thought “OH NO!! but the answer was “OH YES!!” my prosthesis had sprung a leak.  Well, a long story short, called Ann to see if she could send my spare from home and it wasn’t possible.  After some investigation, she said I needed a special medical permit and it would cost about $250 to send by DHL.  So I guess I will try to find one here and if not, keep wrapping it in saran wrap as long as possible!

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