Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Oh, the places you go!"*

You have 2 choices when you arrive at a post, you can sit around until someone calls you or you can get off your ass, get out and see the things you want to see.  Guess which one I chose?

Little bit of background.  I read about this famous Sri Lankan architect called Geoffery Bawa.  There's even a city walk about him.  However, I'm too cheap and too stubborn to pay for that so I decided I'd set out on my own.  I don't think any of the buildings that follow are his but they are cool nonetheless and when my internet gets back up to speed I will track his stuff down.

First thing out this morning, along the promenade I saw a very wizened old guy trying to extract a kite from a lamp post with a long stick and a metal hook.  I could not bear to stand there and watch Mother Nature take her course.  I half expected upon my return to come across a smoldering old sarong and a few tuffs of hair!

The old Cargill's...the Costco of Colombo!
So into the Fort area I went. I found myself at Cargill's.  It's an old grocery store chain.  There are still many around but this was the flagship store and still might be the HQ, if I'm not mistaken.  I heard rumours that it is going to be renovated into a luxury hotel like a lot of the old P and O hotels  around Asia but for now it remains open with a KFC and a few meager groceries for sale.  The inside is fantastic in it neglect.
 The floors are wooden and there are these beautiful empty art deco style display cabinets around.
 There are stairwells leading nowhere but you can hear the ghosts of sandaled feet beating their way up and down the treads.  In the center of the building are the elevators to the corporate office.  It is hard to tell but I think that might be old Queen Vicky between the two panels.
The fire alarm is a hoot!

Outside the signage is brilliant but unfortunately my photography isn't!  The one sign I couldn't quite get was for their optical department and it advertised that they could make motor goggles!
 So after all this exhausting, investigative work, I decided to go to the Grand Oriental Hotel for tea.  They had a sign for a tiffan bakery but the doorman assured me the view was better from the 4th floor restaurant.  Wow! he wasn't kidding.
I love a man in uniform!
Total cost: $1.75.
The restaurant overlooks the port of Colombo and while waiting for my tea and toast (veddy proper...don't you know?)   The toast was cold and the butter British!  I could watch container ships be docked in preparation for unloading.  It was fascinating and surprisingly quick.  I guess "time is money."
Took 15 minutes and 3 tugs to dock and unload.
Snapped a few more building photos on my way back.  I was determined to find Manning Market.  Don't really know why or than why the heck not?  It was starting to open up when I arrived but really it is nothing more than a bunch of board shorts and Bob Marley t-shirt kiosks.  It was also kind of weird because I was the only woman around.  I didn't feel threatened but I didn't want to stay and chat either.  I am always dressed conservatively in these places but the hassles never stop.  Fortunately though if I do get hassled people piss off after a while.  You just smile and wag your head and say "no".

On a side note, I have kind of felt like Judas betraying Christ these last couple of days.  You see it is one of the few places in the world where Canadians aren't that popular.  They are nice to us individually but they do not like our stance vis a vis the LTTE etc..  So quite often when I am out, I say I came from the US, (which technically is not a lie) but now I tell them I am from whichever place pops into my head.  Already this morning I have been American, Dutch and German.  Gawd, no wonder I'm so tired!

*apologies to Dr.Suess!

No comments:

Post a Comment