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Bentota - Colombo - Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Lunch at the Ministry of Crab and then return to Colombo

sunny 30 °C

Hotel - Paradise Road Tintagel Colombo, 65 Rosmead Place, Colombo - Room No South East Royal Suite

I had the earliest night on tour last night and yet I had trouble getting out of bed this morning. We were down at breakfast early and there weren't many people there. The orange juice was awful - it tasted like watered down cordial. The papaya and black currant weren't much better. The porridge was semilina which was a bit runny, the scrambled eggs were runny so I opted for French toast which was very hard to cut. I couldn't resist a photo of the Doughnut Board.

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We did some shopping in the hotel shop and as a few of us were in reception early, we were taken across the other side to the waiting bus.

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Didier had to make sure we were on time on the road to Colombo today because we have a lunch booking at very famous Ministry of Crab and if you are 10 minutes late, they give away your table. But we had time to do some sight seeing along the way. Then The Ministry of Crab phoned Didier to put our booking back half an hour, so we had even longer to site see along the way.

Colombo was once the capital of Sri Lanka and it is now the Administrative Capital. The new capital is Kotte. Colombo has a population of approximately 2 million - 700,000 live in the city and the rest are in the suburbs. Colombo is now the commercial capital. This is the new Parliament House.

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This is a monument to all the people killed in this area by the tsunami. All their names are written on these walls. But driving through this area, you would hardly think that such a devastating tsunami had come through here only a few years ago.

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This is the Bandanaranke International Conference Centre. The guard was very happy for us to walk inside the gate and take a photo.

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The Independence Memorial Hall was quite spectacular with murals around the inside of Buddha's life and other important things that have happened in Sri Lanka. It was very cool in there, with a lovely breeze blowing, so we were all happy to stay in there for a while. It is really hot and humid and some of the group are feeling it. One instruction -DON'T SIT ON THE LIONS!

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We drove down a few streets which contained embassies and high commissions. We were thrilled to glimpse the Australian High Commission which is painted a lovely shade of battleship grey.

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Buddhas everywhere and the traffic is getting really bad so we don't have time to wander through the fruit and vege market, instead we start to head back to The Ministry of Crab for lunch. We don't want to lose our booking and this is a MUST EAT place.

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We hop off the bus and walk into a courtyard of an old Dutch hospital from 1681. It is just beautiful and as we learned later from Mark Forbes, it has been restored and a bill has been passed in Parliament that all these old buildings have to be restored - no more pulling down. The lunch was so much fun - messy but fun. We had prawn curry, teriyaki chicken, chilli crab, rice, mixed vegetables and chocolate crumble pudding. All just yum, yum, yum and a lovely iced tea soda. Very refreshing on a hot, humid Colombo day. Even the butter had a crab imprinted on it!

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After lunch, Phil, Greg and Elizabeth went back to the hotel while the rest of us went on a walking tour of the old colonial buildings in Colombo with Mark Forbes. There was a lovely breeze and we all enjoyed hearing about the history of some of these old buildings. And what was even better, we finished with a G&T at the Grand Oriental Hotel. We had a lovely view of the city from the fourth floor where we had our drink. This was the hotel where all the "beautiful people" of another era stayed.

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We arrived at Tintagel, the former home of the old Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. He was shot on the front steps here. A few years later, his wife became the first female PM of Sri Lanka and then even later, their daughter became the first female President of Sri Lanka. We are in one Royal Suite and Elizabeth is in the other - because we are Emerald people. We have several rooms and a huge combined balcony at the front of the building. It is really nice.

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Viv and Bruce, Elizabeth, Sharon and John and Didier went to the Shangri la hotel for a Sri Lankan meal while the rest of us went to the Colombo Cricket Club CAFE for dinner. Big mistake. I thought we would be going to the REAL Colombo Cricket Club for a night of cricket nostalgia but no, it was just a cafe with good cricket memoriblia on the walls but nothing like the dining room of the Colombo Cricket Club! We were in the Australian section upstairs and there was a "Shane Warne" corner.

The meal was just awful. A Ceasar salad with limp lettuce; then Phyl had curried prawns that were too spicy to eat and the rest of us had a mixed grill that consisted of dry steak, dry chicken, bacon, sausage, liver, mashed potato and potato chips. It was awful. Then dessert was ice cream with fruit salad. All in all, a terrible evening. There was a huge storm in the middle of it all and when we came downstairs to leave, it was flooded because part of the roof is open. What a night!

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I was glad to get into bed.

Posted by gaddingabout 04:24 Archived in Sri Lanka

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