Sri Lanka is an island off the south-west coast of India. Originally a Dutch colony and then a British colony, the name of this country was changed from Ceylon in the mid 1970’s. Since that time the government has attempted to eliminate the name “Ceylon” and has been relatively successful with the exception of its number one export—Ceylon Tea. They have decided from a marketing standpoint it would be a mistake to change the brand name.
The capital of Sri Lanka is Colombo and that is where we docked for our one day stay. The population of Colombo is greater than 5 million so you can imagine how busy it was. The Chinese, interestingly enough are investing billions of dollars here, especially along the waterfront and in the industrial port. As an aside the Captain of the Amsterdam noted that the Australian navy had two large naval vessels in port. Their purpose is seems is to “fly the flag” and make the point that there are countries other than China that can be relied upon to support Sri Lanka.
A highlight of our stop was a trip to the market and the classic shot of the local butcher. The dry fish merchants have an unbelievable collection of products as do the vegetable merchants. The colonial buildings are stunning. Our mode of transportation was the “tuk tuk” which is a two person cab fitted over a standard motorcycle. For less than $5. American they scoot you back and forth around the city. You can literally reach out the side of the vehicle and touch whatever is passing you—cars, buses, trucks, other tuk tuks and motorcycles. It is quite an experience and everyone was talking about it at dinner.
Next up are the two stops in India. (The temperature today in Colombo is 95 degrees)