Greetings from Colombo!

Finally, after 36 hours of traveling I arrived in Colombo, on Wednesday at 2 o’clock. The flight on Sri Lankan air was delightful, and included two delicious meals, and flight attendants wearing saris printed with a peacock feather pattern.

 

Breakfast on Sri Lankan Air

Breakfast on Sri Lankan Air

Right after the plane landed a British girl one aisle over said that Obama had won the election. This was repeated by the customs officer as he checked my passport, “Obama win.” Everyone here is very excited about it, and Obama’s election has been a main topic of conversation among all the people I’ve met so far.

After clearing customs I made my way to my guest house with the help of Robert, the driver hired by the Fulbright office. He was very nice, and excellent at negotiating Colombo’s insane traffic.  The guest house is on Buller’s Lane in Colombo 7, a neighborhood also known as Cinnamon Gardens. Sadly, it doesn’t smell like cinnamon, but there are trees and birds, and it is very pretty, even with all the cars and the twisty, sidewalk-less streets. The house belongs to Ruki Wickramasinghe, a nice older lady, and she is helped out by Irene, her tiny cook/housekeeper. Last night Irene made me stringhoppers, which is not like funnel-cake as I’d hoped, but more like noodle pancakes. 

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The stringhoppers were made with red rice flour and were delicious. The rest of the dinner included coconut sambol, fish curry, and dal. 

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Yesterday I also visited the other Fulbrighters, Lea, Leah, and John,who I had initially met at the DC orientation. They are living in a house together a little ways away from my guest house, and last night we had a conversation about nicknames for the Lea(h)s, but we couldn’t come up with anything. They are very friendly and helpful, and I’m glad to know some people in the country. 

Today I adventured on foot into Colombo, despite Ruki’s fear that I would melt on the way there. The heat here is stifling, but not quite as bad as I’d feared. On Wednesday I’ll be heading to Kandy to find an apartment and set up my living situation there. The weather in Kandy is said to be cooler and less humid, and the city is much smaller than Colombo. Also, there is an elephant orphanage there with tiny baby elephants and a temple that holds the Buddha’s tooth. Should be wonderful.

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7 responses to “Greetings from Colombo!

  1. This is great! Maybe the Sri Lankan market is ready for a funnel cake stand since all they have now is stringhoppers. Is the food as searing-hot as the weather?

  2. Great start. So glad you made it safely. Go Obama!
    Love, Stacy

  3. Molly Hussein O'Bryan

    Yeah! A blog! Good idea. I look forward to updates and remain jealous of your adventures.

  4. Hi Alison!
    What on earth are you doing in Sri Lanka? I thought you pushed back your trip?! It looks lovely and I’m glad that you made it there safely. However, I’m bummed that I didn’t get a chance to send you off with well wishes. So, please know, that Jeff and I are sending you many good vibes. I can’t wait to hear more about your experiences! Sri Lanka looks incredible so far. Love, Em

  5. I am glad to see your pictures focus on the food you are eating. The Alison we know and love. Any Sri Lankan version of the bellber combo?

  6. Everything is a version of the Belber combo.

  7. Sounds like you are having a great time. Your mother and I won’t be quiting our day jobs to be enamel artists- not yet anyways. Although once we sell all our pieces we will head to Kandy to visit the elephants. HAve a great week. Love, M

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