Comfortably Chaotic Colombo

By Dave Fox
Colombo, Sri Lanka 

Greetings from my honeymoon in Sri Lanka! While I’ve been journaling diligently with pen and paper, blogging has temporarily fallen by the wayside due to overpriced hotel wifi connections and the fact that, hey, it’s my honeymoon. But I don’t want you to feel lonely without me, so for the next few days, I’ll be uploading short blurbs about what’s been going on. We begin with Comfortably Chaotic Columbo.

Kattina 225Sri Lanka’s capital is the good kind of urban crazy. Honking traffic, crowded sidewalks, and blaring South Asian pop music from random loudspeakers contribute to the clatter. Tuktuks — motorized, three-wheeled contraptions that serve as taxis — are everywhere. You don’t have to flag them down; the drivers will flag you down. But the hassles one faces in Colombo are mild. It’s a fantastic city to get lost in.

People are unnervingly friendly. If you look confused, they will approach you and offer help, as opposed to Seattle, where they will walk right past you, or Singapore, where they will stare and wait for you to move out of their way. In Colombo, more often than not, “Hello sir. Where are you from?” actually means, “Hello sir. Where are you from?” This gets confusing. My natural reaction when traveling is to interpret that question as, “Hello sir. How may I empty your wallet?” Once I managed to stifle my fight-or-flight response, I began having delightful conversations – usually short ones, but they’ve had a cumulative effect that have made us feel welcome and at home here.

Published on Friday, December 30, 2011

3 Responses to “Comfortably Chaotic Colombo”

  1. December 30, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Being a fellow Seattleite my reaction to “Hello, where are you from” would have been precisely the same as yours: Flee in terror, clutching my wallet in a death grip. Nice to know that there are genuinely well-meaning people left in the world.

  2. gloria
    January 3, 2015 at 7:04 AM

    lived in Sri Lanka in the late 60’s, see it hasn’t changed much; aside from the heat, completely enjoyed it; managed to see just about all of the country; there was a magnificent underused resort on the beach at KKS, I imagine it was destroyed in the tidal wave; thanks for taking me back in time…
    bytheway, Dave was our guide in Scandinavia many years ago–great job!

    • January 6, 2015 at 2:33 PM

      Thanks Gloria! Nice to hear from you!

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