Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Road to Galle

Fahim's daughter, Iman
party on the roof
I'm home now, trying desperately to catch up on my sleep but the last two days in Sri Lanka were really nice. The plan was to meet up with Riyaz and his two boys and head to the Lighthouse Hotel in Galle on Saturday morning at about 10. We were on the road at 2. First we stopped by Fahim's new house which is in progress, a veritable mansion in the works. Very open and airy, big rooms, lots of air-flow, with an indoor rock-garden-water-feature, and a party palace on the roof. 
The drive to Galle has changed dramatically since the last time I went there as there is now a "Southern Expressway" going to the south part of the island. It's incredible - a real highway, two lanes in each direction which people actually stay in, no dogs, cows, ox carts, or tuk-tuks, very little traffic, and speeds the same as any American highway. When I told my mom about it on the phone when I got home she said she couldn't even imagine such a thing in Sri Lanka. It cuts down the journey south by an hour.

lobby staircase
We got to Lighthouse in time for the rain, but that just meant it was a good time to take a nap. It's a nice hotel, not as shiny and new as the Beach or the Lagoon, but nice. It's kind of a landmark since it was designed by Goeffrey Bawa (1919-2003) who is Sri Lanka's most famous and acclaimed architect -- similar sensibilities to Frank Lloyd Wright: clean lines, open air, right angles, a minimum of clutter, and a lot of focus on bringing the natural surroundings in instead of keeping them out.

We went to dinner (yes, it was a buffet and I was getting nervous that my Sri Lankan buffets were coming to an end, so I made the most of it) and then Riyaz went to put the kids to bed and we were supposed to meet in the bar a little later. I just couldn't do it though, I got into bed to just relax for a minute and by the time he and Nilan were ready to go, I was ready to sleep.

The next day we hit breakfast late (my last buffet, I could have cried), went to the pool, played with the kids (Riyaz's kids, Rishard and Adam wanted to play "Middle Pig" which I realized was their version of Keep Away or Piggy in the Middle - at least that's what we used to call it. "Middle Pig" - that cracked me up!), and then had lunch (oh, that was my last buffet; I did cry), and packed up to go home. Unlike in Western hotels, getting a late check out (4pm) is the norm, so we had a pretty full last day. Then back on the expressway, back to Colombo, I dropped in next door to say good-bye to the relatives, and waited for my car to the airport to catch my very late (1:40am) flight to Bangkok, then Tokyo, then home. I think by the time I landed in Seattle I'd been awake for the better part of 40 hours.

And one last photo... this one is kind of cheating because it's a picture of a picture, but none of my food photos turned out particularly well on this trip, and with all my yammering about buffets...

So home now, laundry is mostly done, and I'm packing up for the next adventure which starts on Saturday - back to New York, this time for a month... no more buffets for a while, but the pepperoni slices will do me just fine.