Posted by: Thomas | July 12, 2008

Colombo, Sri Lanka Sightseeing

Today I woke up at the 5-star Hilton Hotel in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka. After the breakfast we went out to explore the city. It was very hot and humid. On every corner of the city there were military stations and they were stopping almost every vehicle. It is very tight security and lots of controls in the city. I guess it is still unsafe in Sri Lanka, although everyone says it is safe in south parts, where Colombo is, but not that safe in the North part of Sri Lanka. Colombo looks safe. We walked quite a bit today and we also took public transportation. Yes, actually I took real public transportation today, bus number 138, and I am very proud of myself. And we didn’t get lost at all.

We walked a few miles and the people we met were very friendly. They were not pushy as in India. There were more relaxed and more westernized. In shops they let you look around and take your time without pushing you and forcing you to buy. We saw a few monuments, bazaars, went to the beach and had a wonderful day in Colombo.

Sri Lanka, or previously known as Ceylon or some traders called it Serendib, which means Island of Jewels – and the word Serandib became a root to word “serendipity” – the art of making happy and unexpected discoveries, where under many different rules and periods such as period of Anuradhapura, The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa, Tamil Kingdom, Early Muslim Links, The Portuguese Period, The Dutch Period, The British Period, and of course Independence. Due to many different kingdoms and periods the city of Colombo has plenty of cultural and historical attractions. However, I think that the Portuguese influence is mostly visible.

We took tok-tuk to MGM Casino; however, we could not get in since we were wearing shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops. Then we took tuk-tuk to a restaurant, which was closed – bad luck. We went to a hair salon and there I got a great haircut – I was impressed how good it was. Well, it is not that much one can do with my hair, but this guys did an excellent job. Later in the evening around 6pm we went back to the hotel and went straight to the executive lounge. It is free access to us since we got upgraded to an executive room on the 16th floor. We had a few free drinks, snacks, chit chatted with people and we found out that former US President Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, former US President George Bush, and many other politicians and celebrities stayed at the hotel and eat and drunk in this very lounge where we were sitting in. Yeah, this hotel is the best hotel in Colombo apparently. Of course, it has to be since I am staying there and the only way to live your life fully is to enjoy it fully and treat yourself great since nobody else will.

The food was great and finally I could eat something that I like. Oh yes, I had a steak at Hilton Hotel and it was great. After the dinner we went to Belly’s Casino. It is actually good to go to the Casino here since they provide you with free transportation from the hotel to the Casino and back, also they provide you with free alcohol and food while at the Casino and you don’t need to spend much money on gambling either. My friend won US$100 and I didn’t win or loose. Then off we went to a club called Zanzibar. It was recommended by one of the stewardesses at SriLankan air. The club was OK, and the atmosphere was great. The music was excellent the entire night and the club was open until 6am. So, now I know where to come if I want to party. J


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