the hinata diaries

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Day 2 part 1 - Colombo

Instead of a dishy lifeguard, machine guns overlook the pool. Great. Fortunately no-one ever appeared at the top of the tower, so I’ll assume the guns are just there for their aesthetic value.

After the chaos of yesterday, our only venture back into the city was for lunch at the Elephant Walk’s Mahout Café. Elephant Walk is a haven for home accessories of assorted jewel colours and sparkly embellishments, while the courtyard Mahout Café was a perfectly tranquil spot to catch up on the news (cover page of the local daily: “Sex-themed arts festival in Sydney showcases man who paints with penis!”)

Lunch was roasted tomato soup and a Greek salad. Spot the hidden elephant in the last photo!

We met our driver, guide and otherwise companion for the next 6 days, and set off on the 4 hour ride to Kandy, the old Sinhalese hillside capital. The ride was fairly uneventful, the scenery reminiscent of Bali most of the time, and the drivers generally less suicidal than expected.

Arrived just after sunset at the homey Villa Rosa, and in time for our first local meal. From left to right: cashew nuts in a milky gravy, eggplant with green peppers, chicken curry, vegetable salsa, freshly fried pappadums and mango jam. Yum. Dessert was jaggery pudding, something I’d seen on a couple of menus in Colombo already and was keen to try. After inquiring from our German host, it turns out that jaggery, for its strange name, is actually something familiar to all us Southeast Asians – gula melaka or palm sugar. While the pudding was exactly the same taste and consistency as agar-agar. So jaggery pudding = gula melaka agar-agar. Not so exotic after all but good nonetheless.


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