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Capital City: A Night in Colombo

The sad reality of every trip is that it must come to an end. After telling the tortoise adieu, Chloe and I left Galle, hoping some day, maybe years and years from now, we’d return. We took a bus to Colombo — Sri Lanka’s capital and location of the airport. We only spent half a day in the capital and most of that time was spent eating, people watching and enjoying some swanky cocktails at the Galle Face Hotel right on the coast.

Because we didn’t have very much time in Colombo, we decided to stay in one area. The Galle Face Hotel overlooks the Galle Face Green, a large grassy area where people stroll and fly kites. Right along the coast next to the Green are loads of food carts and stalls with tables that pop up at night. Chloe had a Sri Lankan friend and Colombo native in college who recommended we come here for dinner and it was a great suggestion.

The Galle Face Hotel is lauded as one of those old-school places where anyone who is anyone has stayed at while they were in Colombo. We walked around the lobby and found a large plaque listing all of the celebrities who have stayed here (Carrie Fisher had to be labelled with Star Wars). It was a large plaque with quite a few Hollywood A-listers, which made me wonder what they were all doing in Colombo? There were also several busts in the lobby, an especially large one of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (who stayed at the hotel). It seems the Russian embassy has been busy making busts and plaques in Sri Lanka…very odd.

We chose to sit outside at the Veranda Bar and enjoy some classic Pimm’s cocktails. We had each budgeted around $700 USD for 10 days in Sri Lanka — this was for food, hotels, national parks fees, transport and any gifts. We were both surprised at how cheap travel around the country and guest houses were and we both spent around $550, so we had more than one cocktail.

For dinner we tried Rauff Nana Halal Fast Foods out on the strip next to the Green. They were busy, always a good sign when blindly choosing a place to eat. Over dinner, we had a chance to think about our trip. Chloe and I both really enjoyed traveling around Sri Lanka. Since we took a more central-southern route, we didn’t see much of the areas most affected by the civil war. People made comments about wanting to put it all behind them. One guesthouse owner told us that he was upset that Bill Clinton’s wife was probing human rights abuses.

A final serving of roti and shawarma, ended our culinary adventure in Sri Lanka. The food was delicious, and if you’re up to trying some street food, this is a great option. Granted, after living in Indonesia my stomach has definitely adapted itself, to put it gently.

For dessert, we bought a final bag of sliced mango and the vendor let me try the other fruits he was selling. The fruits were marinating in a chili sauce. They were quite spicy, so I don’t think I could handle a whole bag, but worth a taste.

Early the next morning, we boarded a flight back to Jakarta. Where within 24 hours we boarded another flight to the magical island of Sulawesi. More to come!

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