#Colombo #SriLanka, part 2: In Search of a City in Search of a Beach

Beach at Mt. Lavinia, Sri Lanka

Beach at Mt. Lavinia, Sri Lanka

Sunday finally comes and I haven’t been to church since February 2012, in Majuro FSM, back when I figured I might be dying pick a cancer any cancer must’ve worked ’cause I certainly don’t feel like I’m dying now never felt more alive in fact, death now on back burner status indefinite hiatus waiting for a call-back and options on future rights plus a more prominent role in the sequel, agents negotiating furiously…

Christian Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka

Christian Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka

So I figure now’s a good time, put on my best Muslim shirt—white muslin—and go look for a Christian church, Baptist is too small don’t wanna’ be noticed, Methodist too hot there on the sunny side of the street, so today I’m Catholic with high arches and cool temps and the canonical language mostly in English, God knowing I’m glad to be Buddhist so that I can do whatever I want as long as it hurts nobody and even quaff a brew or mount racy steed if I have a thirst and a need and fertile soil begging seed, no matter what any guy with a book or a beard has to say about it…

Crowded Canal in Negombo, Sri lanka

Crowded Canal in Negombo, Sri lanka

The pubs in Kandy are for locals, sounds like a missed opportunity to me, or maybe zoning strictures, putting all the pubs on the warehouse side of town shorter walk for the stevedores I suppose, but hardly known to the tourists, buck a brew and men lining walls in various stages of consciousness or lack thereof, sometimes you just want a drink, but try to tell that to the hash dealers up by the lake getting the tourists ‘what they want’ as if anybody really knows what tourists want I certainly don’t…

Cherry blossoms are fine, but the big draw for most tourists is the Beach, and lakes won’t do for that, so you have to go southbound to Galle or thereabouts, Hikkaduwa or something such, purpose-built for foreign tastes and tours, I suppose, don’t really know haven’t been there, where beaches are for bikinis and cocktails not Muslim mocktails or Hindu coattails and the water is pure and pristine enough to swim in…

Fish Market in Negombo, Sri Lanka

Fish Market in Negombo, Sri Lanka

I wouldn’t recommend that in Colombo north or south, Negombo or Mt. Lavinia, the beaches too close to the city to trust the water, last time I did that had to get an expensive shot and take antibiotics for a week to keep my genitals from rotting and falling off, still a beach is a beach if you just want the sand and the scenery…

There’s Negombo with its cheap 50’s motels and the smell of rotting fruit and drying fish, or Mt. Lavinia with its murky B&B’s and the smell of musty old wealth, and strangest thing of all: a railroad runs through it, so every time you try to get romantic a train whistle blows, could be new grist for the Pavlovian mill, but no matter, I don’t need to get all romantic I always get lucky alone…

Olde Empire Hotel in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Olde Empire Hotel in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Colombo itself is a case in itself, monster with tentacles spreading, cut from the same Madras cloth as Kolkata, washed and left to dry under hot blazing relentless Indian sun, people breeding like mice going forth and multiplying, the ghosts of previous foreign masters left to ponder the results of their handiwork, the English and their business instincts the Dutch and their government the Portuguese and their bastard offspring, all gathered together under the flag of Christianity, the cross and the sword, the book and the word…

And then there’s Puttalam, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, and Matara, on the coast; Matale, Kegalla, Ratnapura, Badulla, and Kurunegalla in the interior; names on the map, people of the four corners all awaiting further exploration: Buddhists, Christians, Muslim, Hindus, and others all sharing the same space, 20 million in all, elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder…

Sure it’s congested, and the drivers are maniacs, but cool heads and cool hearts tend to prevail. A country inoculated with Buddhism will ultimately be vaccinated by Buddhism, regardless of who’s on the morning loudspeaker. It’s the people who make the place, mate, feels like home to me, so C U there.

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