As promised am back to blog my fantastic weekend away at Colombo.
I left on Friday taking the 5pm Shatabdi Express to Chennai. I think others would agree this is the best way to get to Chennai (if you have 4-5 hours to spare). Got in around 10pm and proceeded to the guest house where i crashed as soon as my uncle turned up (he was flying in from Delhi). We were up and about early the next morning, reaching the airport around 8ish. The Cox and Kings agent met us and handed over the tickets. So we got our money changed and got into the A340 that was gonna fly us to Colombo. The funniest part is that Sri Lankan Airlines has the worst in-flight cooling system...maybe they were preparing us for the heat that awaited us in Colombo. And their personal TV didn't show any programs which the in-flight magazine suggested it should (for the trip from Chennai to Colombo). Anyways, we reached Colombo and had a Lancer waiting for us which took us to the Beach hotel (distance from airport was 40km!).
We had made up our minds to feast on some prawns so we pleaded with the hotel guys to arrange the curry (they initially said that they were well past closing time for lunch as we got there around 3-3:30pm. The waiter chit-chatted with us for sometime...the discussion was about cricket and he said 'I don't support any particular Sri Lankan cricketer...we support the team as a whole'. Maybe he was a misnomer, but that would be totally opposite of what we do in India...we love to support a Yuvi, a Kaif, a Dravid...bring out the fangs for a Ganguly, a Laxman.
But what i noticed is that Sri Lankans enjoy their cricket a lot but there is less of the fanaticism which you see in India and Pakistan.
The lunch and beer ensured that the afternoon siesta continued late in the evening...when we finally decided to hit Colombo town. Took the AC bus which has an interesting sitting arrangement. There are folding seats next to the aisle. They can be turned into regular seats...the problem is that everytime someone behind wanted to get out, everyone sitting on these would have to get up! Quite interesting nonetheless. Fare was pretty cheap too. It dropped us off in front of the Hilton and we went in. We had got there to check out the Blue Elephant
. We then found out that they have a members only plus house-guests entry policy. So we met the Manager (Mr. Neelanta) who was kind enough to let us in. Not only did he waive off the entry charges (SL Rs.500 per head) he joined us for a drink and bought us 2 rounds of beer. We tried Lion beer...which is quite light and nice. I have had a chance to taste quite a few beers around the world and other than a few Belgian beers, Guiness and our fave Kingfisher...very few measure up. I hate scoring but here's something you might wanna check out
. Anyways we had a good time at the club and got back pretty late but not before stopping for some parathas and meat! nothing like an early morning snack eh?
The morning i just got stuck into my sausages, baked beans, scrambled eggs with hot croissants...and soon John came calling from Indian Oil. He handles branding and came across as a very nice and articulate man. We got into the car and pushed off to the stadium where we were taken to lunch...we happened to bump into Ian Bishop and Ian Chappell...we said our hi and hellos and then I made my way to the Grand Stand while my uncle went to the pitch for the toss with the 2 captains. And he rubbed his luck onto Dravid who won the toss!!!
Was quite a good match
(if you take out the fact that Sehwag and Laxman disappointed again and Saurav had to go off)...Kaif and Yuvi played great knocks with a lil' help from Dhoni at the end to take us to 262. I kept telling my uncle we would win...but he was quite unsure and frankly we made a meal to win the match...but a win was a win and we got to the final. The best part was to sit out there...drink away the beers...and finally see India win. My last 2 experiences at Bangalore ended up with India losing to Australia (one-day and test match).
Funnily enough we had almost run out of SL Rupees so we really had to check out all our pockets to come out with enough money for KFC biriyani (hahaha...am sure you also didn't know they served that eh?)!!!
Next morning we were off shopping...we went to House of Fashion
- which is a good place to pick up clothes on the cheap...shorts (very good quality) come for as less as SL Rs. 195...Provogue shirts come for SL Rs. 650...all brands like Diesel, Lacoste, Hilfiger, Boss etc etc...I guess tey could be seconds but is quite a deal when you convert back to INR. Few stops later we ended up at Odel
which again houses all brands. You might also find some made in india tags! While shopping we bumped into Kaif, Srinath and Saurav...we were carrying the Indian Team t-shirt and they obliged with autographs and also a few pics...unfortunately could not get a pic with dada as he was almost mobbed and had to get away...got a pic of him with my uncle though. Next stop was Majestic City where i just splurged on DVDs...picked up all seasons of CSI, 24, The Shield...came to around INR 90 per disc...so thats even cheaper than National Market in Bangalore. So you know where to head out next time you are in Colombo!!!
So after all the shopping we got dropped off at the airport where my uncle had to buy an extra bag to put his stuff thanks to the shopping! We had quite a whirlwind trip....but i did tell myself that i would get back there...its quite a nice country and we didn't even see Kandy and Galle...so one more trip coming up soon in the future i hope!!!