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Christmas in Kandy

Sri Lanka 516

By Dave Fox
Kandy, Sri Lanka

On December 23, we headed off to Kandy, a city with a delightful man-made lake, Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist temple (The “Temple of the Tooth” is a massive structure that was built to house a piece of one of Buddha’s teeth), and the Hotel Devon. I recommend staying at the Hotel Devon if you enjoy hotels that were elegant in the 1970s and have not been upgraded since. It was an okay place, I suppose. Our room was roughly the size of Singapore, and from our balcony, we could hear Buddhist monks chanting their evening prayers.

On our first night in Kandy, we headed out in search of food and beer, and eventually landed at a pub called “The Pub.” The Pub was very nice, with outdoor seating on a second-story balcony. Unfortunately, the pub was also playing medleys of Casio keyboard Christmas carols, each of which lasted about 20 minutes and made you want to vomit candy canes.

Sri Lanka 477The next day, we went sightseeing. We visited the aforementioned tooth relic, and also took a swing through the Kandy Botanic Gardens where we met a monkey with an affinity for sucking on electrical wires. (Video coming soon.)

In the evening, we had a Christmas Eve dinner at the Hotel Devon. We did not want to have a Christmas Eve dinner at the Hotel Devon; however, because we were late in booking a room on a major holiday (Sri Lanka has a significant Christian minority, and the whole country takes the day off regardless), we had few other choices. And on Christmas Eve, we were forced to pay a surcharge of roughly 60 US dollars, which included a Christmas Eve dinner.

I must confess, I was a little excited about this. I was feeling nostalgic for Tunisia, where I spent Christmas in 1976, which I think is the same year the curtains were made for our room at the Hotel Devon. The one thing I dreaded was more Christmas carols. It’s not that I don’t like Christmas carols. It’s just that we are bombarded with them every year whenever we go out in public, and every year, I grow tired of hearing them, on approximately December 3.

But in spite of the Christmas trees and cardboard Santa cut-outs around the Hotel Devon, I did not need to worry about hearing Christmas carols at their Christmas Eve dinner. Instead of Christmas carols, they had the good taste to bring in a DJ, who played deafeningly loud rap and pseudo-rap music, with lyrics such as this song by a band called Crazy Town:

Come my lady,
Come, come, my lady,
You’re my butterfly, sugar, baby,
Come my lady,
Come, come, my lady,
I’ll make your legs shake,
I’ll make you go crazy.

I do not know if the group of Sri Lankan elementary school children who were in the room understood the lyrics, but to make things a little more festive, I chimed in with a rousing “Ho ho ho!” every time I heard the word, “lady.”

Published on Thursday, January 5, 2012

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