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Some Colombo Sites

April 19, 2008

Helen – Upon waking, Tom suggested that I ask Ranjan if he would go with us to the Antique stores we visited before on the way to Matara.  Ranjan is also interested in perhaps sending some things to his daughter in Springfield so now we are thinking about sharing a small container. My hopes are up again but tomorrow will decide the outcome

 

I can hardly believe that our time here is really coming to an end.  Tom drove to the airport to pick up his brother Pat who is flying in from Denver.  He decided to drive since it is another Poya (full moon holiday) day and traffic should be minimal.  We are doing the “redo” trip with him and spent the first day in Colombo.

 

Shortly after Pat arrived, we took a Tuk-Tuk to the city center to see the Gangaramaya Temple

It was crowded because of the New Year holiday.

We took off our shoes, because you can not wear them on holy ground, and left them by the gate.  I decided to carry mine and someone “carried” Pat’s away.  Yes, within his first few hours in the country, his new New Balance shoes were taken.  They left his socks and Tom’s sandals. 

 

 

Satellite temple on Seema Malakaya island 

We had to return to Ruki’s to get another pair of shoes.  When we left the first time, I locked all the doors, inside and outside, because Ruki, Irene, and Ciani all went to a birthday party.   Now I could get into the hallway but had no access to Pat’s room to get his shoes.  I tried everything, e.g. different keys to access the living quarters downstairs, to no avail.  Thank heavens, they returned (with leftovers from the party for our lunch!) and we got his shoes and then returned to downtown to finish our planned trip. 

Pat was a good sport about his loss and wouldn’t let it dampen his spirits.  We finished our touring, took a Tuk-Tuk to the Fort area and had iced drinks at the Grand Oriental Hotel with a lovely view of the harbor (no pictures please – security zone).  The waiters and waitresses were dressed in sailor uniforms.

  

 

We then walked to the train station and took the local train (second class) to Mt. Lavinia Hotel for iced cafes on the terrace.  As we waited on the train platform, a man with an arm and neurological disability (e.g. had little use of his arms and hands and could not speak), sat on the concrete, opened his bag with his feet and demonstrated his skills using his legs and toes.  He could cut string, thread a needle, set the string on fire with matches, use a small wrench to unscrew and screw nuts on bolts, and put everything away into his bag.   After giving him a tip, he gave us the Big Toe up sign! 

 

The train ride was awesome; open windows with people hanging out, ceiling fans, and the occasional beggar.  

We were watching the stops closely but we weren’t sure the train was going to stop at Mt Lavina because we didn’t see a station…so when it slowed down, we jumped off because others were doing it too; stupid – the train stopped!  However we found ourselves in the middle of the tracks and had to make our way to the station – all’s well that ends well!

 

It was too early for the sunset and dinner at the hotel so we just had ice café.  Pat told the pool attendant that he was staying at the hotel and so got a bathing suit, towel, and a cool dip.   We took a cab back to the city and ate local food at the Green Cabin where Ruki had taken me for my birthday.

 Afterward we walked to the ocean crossing the railroad tracks.  We showed some teenagers how to put coins on the tracks to get them smashed by the train – something Tom used to do in Chicago!

They were delighted!

Pat and sunset across the Indian Ocean

 

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