My flight arrived early to Colombo yesterday at about 3pm.
Stepping off the plane, a hit of humid, warm sea air made me smile. Oh the smell of the ocean! How I missed it.
Regretfully there was no champagne reception or upgrade to business class for me on this inaugural flight. All that hair straightening was for naught. I was overshadowed (how could that possibly happen?!) by the presence of recently appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador to Nepal, Ms. WS Perera, as well as the Secretary General, Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sri Lanka, Ajith D Perera on the flight. Check out the short article in The Himalayan newspaper.
There was a bit of fanfare when checking in and my photo was taken under a festoon of blue and white balloons with a keepsake tote bag in memory of the occasion. It clearly did not make the cut for the article. And the 25 or so passengers shared in the celebratory cake for our dessert (after a rather delicious fish curry for lunch I might add).
Chief of Party Michael Parr picked me up and the airport and, because he had discovered during our recent calls and emails, I was as much of a fiend for coffee as he was, we went for a ‘good’ coffee (none of that Nescafe out of a jar for me!) before landing at the hotel. A very good start.
The hotel is across from the ocean, a nice warm breeze with waves crashing in the salty air. Electricity 24/7, air conditioning everywhere, altogether very luxurious as compared to day to day life in Nepal. I’ll be staying at the hotel for the next 5 days, and we will figure it out from there.
Tharanga is a senior manager with Land O’Lakes and she and her husband kindly took me for dinner. What a feast! I let them order a traditional Sri Lankan meal and my goodness, it was just delicious! Grace – you just have to come visit if only for the food! I’ll have to learn these recipes while I am here. Apparently hoppers are a little finicky to make but they can bought easily and cheaply at food stalls.
We washed all this down with a G&T. What more could one ask for?
Apparently there was a shortage of local beer for a few months here in Sri Lanka late May as a result of flood damage at Colombo’s Lion Brewery. Beer had to be imported which of course increased the price. But it seems things are getting back to normal now ….. much to the relief of the locals. It was clearly a traumatic experience, I was told about it within hours of landing by three separate parties!
I am not 24 hours here as yet and things are off to a great start. My colleagues are down to earth, smart, worldly and have ‘can do’ attitudes about them – my kind of people.
Ayubowan / Poyvituvarukiren for now!