My visit to Sri Lanka – Colombo

It was my first International visit, I was scared and excited… I was even more horrified on how I’m going to travel with a baby who just discovered that she can walk. Vije was born in Sri Lanka so we were visiting home away from home, it was about time I saw his home land and the way he grew up. Many of Vije’s family haven’t seen Kitana before, so it was going to be lots of visiting and meeting many new faces. Our main reason for going was Vije’s brother Dharsan who was getting an arranged marriage. My biggest fear was that I will never be able to communicate with anyone in the country since Tamil and Senegalese is the main languages in Sri Lanka. To be honest my perception of the country was very different from what I experienced. I never thought Sri Lanka would have such amazing hotels and scenery’s.

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Our schedule was something like this: COLOMBO-KANDY- VAVUNIYA -DAMBULLA- NEGOMBO -COLOMBO.

Before I go into detail about the trip, let me share my experience of traveling with a breast-feeding baby. It was a nightmare for me! Kitana had just started walking so she could not sit still and whats worse is that I had to breastfeed during the flight. Thank God the airline provided a bassinet that she could sleep in because it helped me a lot. Carrying a sleeping baby during a long flight isn’t the easiest on your body. I was so envious of the people sitting next to me, that was relaxing and watching movies. I wished I could have that instead. She did sleep most of the time on the return the flight. I guess the entire trip got to her and she was beyond exhausted. Whats worse was her adjusting to the time during and after the holiday. It took a week after we arrived home for her to adjust back to SA time. It wasn’t the best traveling with her and now that we going to Ireland next month, I hope it will be better since she’s older…well I’m praying!

Back to our trip: We stopped in Dubai for couple hours. I did end up buying some mac makeup essentials which I needed for the wedding. I love Dubai’s airport, they have so much to offer and you don’t get bored sitting and waiting for your flight.

When we arrived in Sri Lanka, the first thing that got to me was the humidity! As soon as I went outside, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, its extremely humid and it takes time to adjust. Its worse than Durban. The country is so different, the streets are always busy and filled with tuk tuk’s which honk every 2 minutes. We booked to stay at Cinnamon Grand Hotel in the city called Colombo for the first 2 nights.

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Colombo is the trade and commercial capital. Its Sri Lanka’s largest city and is located on the west coast. It draws together all the cultures, religions and influences of foreign lands into a pot-pourri of sounds, smells and a kaleidoscope of colour.

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The original traders and settlers are the Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch and the British. They are left in their wake churches and monuments. Their names and religions, costumes and food and smatterings of their languages which has been absorbed into the speech of the Sri Lankan.

Today, Colombo is a fascinating city – a happy blend of east & west, past & present, with a charm of its own. A less known but amazingly true fact is that Colombo has a superb range of high quality restaurants serving food from all over the world and some of the best shopping opportunities in Asia.

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We visited most of the city including the beach. Their lifestyle is so different, I see buildings upon buildings. I wouldn’t be able to stay in this city, there’s too much happening. However people seem content in their lifestyle, there’s not much of a social life compare to South Africa. The restaurants are in hidden in the buildings which are everywhere, however the girls in this town seem more modern than other towns in Sri Lanka. I did see many of them wearing skirts and heels which I didn’t see in the other towns.

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On Day 1 we decided to relax and do little as possible so we can get Kitana into the new time zone. We arrived in Sri Lanka early in the morning, we went straight to the hotel which took us an hour to get to and then unpacked, slept a bit before we started to explore the hotel. It was great to see so many tourists at the hotel, that made me adjust in much quicker. It was even better to hear everyone speaking English! The high tea at the hotel costs around R75 per person and you get lots! It was worth it, I couldn’t believe it was that cheap. I was content and happy with their variety but what shocked me more was their amazing tea! I’m a five roses girl and that’s one of my biggest issues when I travel, trying to find something similar that I will enjoy. I cannot start my day without a cup of tea. Cinnamon Grand has a great selection of food for breakfast, lunch and supper. I enjoyed everything and would recommend this as a place to stay in the city.

Day 2: We visited the town, beach and important historian buildings. It’s great to see the town developing. Kitana enjoyed the beach however had difficulty with the weather. It gets extremely hot and can become uncomfortable.

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Colombo is the more hip and modern part of Sri Lanka. It has a busy lifestyle and its booming for companies. I guess its our Johannesburg for them.

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