Colombo Stars vs Jaffna Kings

The pandemic has of course devastated the tourism industry and hit hardest the low income, soft currency countries that rely on it. I guess such fluctuations were also known back in the good old, bad old colonial days when the British, Dutch and Portuguese all took turns controlling the island’s natural resources and trade routes.

Some things change, some things don’t

Now tourism is starting to revive the occasional white person can be spotted on the beach besides the locals.

Of course us early adopters have the undivided attention of tuktuk drivers, restaurant staff and beach hawkers, which is how I met Sainas the other day. After I rebuffed the opening hawker gambit, his wry, resigned expression led me to buy him lunch which he and his family kindly reciprocated: Muslim hospitality being second to none.

Dhal (accompaniment to every meal so far), pineapple curry! and a cold semolina like pudding all rocked

As a consequence he’s now guiding me around. That proved really helpful with yesterday’s transport and cricket arrangements.

Not having doors on the carriages is cool, and the 1km every 3 minutes reminded me of the good old Northern Line which isn’t so cool. Interestingly, the seats near the doors, which we reserve for less ambulant folk are here designated for clergy.

We were disappointed to discover, after waiting half an hour in a very dense and slow moving queue, that only digital tickets were being accepted: good to know cyber-age frustrations are shared.

But undeterred, we embarked on a tuktuk ride to the Sri Lankan Cricket Board’s office on the other side of Colombo where we’d heard paper ones were on sale. On the way we passed the Victoria bakery and the Victoria park; weren’t the monarchy busy doing useful things back then? I wonder Harry and Megan couldn’t take a leaf out of great, great grandma’s book.

The match was fun, especially given the enthusiasm supporters brought to their interpretive dance.

Tomorrow’s packing, route planning and, with a bit of luck, a bike ride into the hinterland.

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