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colombo day II & mt. lavinia

Currently sitting here & waiting for Sandra to get off the damn plane and make her way over to the airbnb house. It’s been two hours since she touched down, so I think she may have lost her way in the shitty maze of Colombo. Everyone told me not to come here, that it wasn’t worth it; but I’ve heard some people say that same about Taipei (gasp! obviously they are non-food lovers), so I was willing to give it a chance.

It was an ugly, smoky, boring mess of a city. We ended up escaping, like everyone else, to the beachside hotels and pools and hidden cafes to while the hours away. Today we went to Mt. Lavinia Hotel and spent the morning at the pool. Just a 200 Rs tuktuk ride from the city, Mt. Lavinia has long been an escape for Colomb-ans from the crowds and fog, so the beaches were full of locals enjoying their Sundays. We then went back to Barefoot (Cafe) again–and the fact that we would go twice to the same cafe in a two day city trip probably says something about the city. Actually, also about the cafe: which has gorgeous, cheap textiles and a nice selection of beautiful handicrafts and books in addition to one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had.

I was pretty excited to hear that we would be in the capital city for Sri Lankan independence day, but I just looked online to find out that the main celebrations are going to be on the Eastern coast this year, to celebrate a unified country and continued development in formerly war-torn areas. Fine by me, so we’re getting out of Colombo town early tomorrow morning, taking the 9:50am train to Anudharapura, the site of many famous Sri Lankan relics & ruins. But first, if Sandra & Jordan make it alive into Colombo, we’ll be having a long, leisurely dinner at Gallery Cafe and going over plans for the next 11 days of exploration.

Mt. Lavinia Hotel (where we conned our way into another pool)

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papaya juice & notebook shopping at Barefoot

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beautiful tote with the Sinhalese alphabet printed on it from Paradise Road (Gallery Cafe)

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elegant nook in our Colombo homestay

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carved elephants at Barefoot

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Verdict: Skip Mt. Lavinia & Mt. Lavinia Hotel, unless you have random space in your plans pre-post trip. Not far enough away from the city for the smog to completely go away; and the old hotel is a study in fading colonial splendor, which is guidebook speak for: “not that nice”. It is, however, a place to get a decent coffee with a view of the sea and a “hit & run” tanning session.

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