Out in the open, a place to
By Sandamalee de
As promoters of the Sri Lankan culinary scene, we think that
Galle Face Green must, surely, be the world’s greatest hawker
joint! Every evening, and more on a holiday, the ground is
filled with a variety of hawkers, selling anything from pulses
to pickles to barbeques, with lovers hiding behind colorful
umbrellas and children flying equally colorful kites, and
families out for a stroll and a picnic. With pony rides, and
other treats, Galle Face Green takes a definite carnival
Then, of course, there is the sun setting to add to this pretty
picture. It is such an awesome sight, as the sun seems to melt
and its vibrant hues seep into the clouds and the seas, before
disappearing for the night. Nearly everyone stops to watch this
magnificent descent. In fact, many time their visit to Galle
Face Green, just so to view this most beautiful sunset.
Now that Galle Face Green is closed for restorations, there is a
gaping hole in the Colombo evening life. Though Colombo is the
commercial hub of Sri Lanka, there are not nearly enough places
to go in the evenings. Colombo would indeed be a bit of a bore,
until Galle Face Green opens up again.
However, we Sri Lankans are a very versatile people. Very little
actually gets us down and even if things do, not for long, for
we quickly think of an alternative. It may not be as good as the
original, but it is enough to keep us happy. Our alternative to
Galle Face Green is the Parliament Grounds. The seemingly
floating Parliament buildings are a beautiful enough vista. Like
a wet blanket, there’s some monstrous construction taking place
right in the middle of the grounds. Due to security reasons,
most vendors, especially those selling from vans and huts are
discouraged, so, except for the vendor on his modified bicycle,
there are no hawkers of the magnitude of Galle Face Green.
Still, people crowd the Parliament Grounds in the evenings –
more so during weekends, and seem to be having a good enough
time. Of course, the weave of people is also much less. Galle
Face Green attracted people from all economic strata and few
were decidedly undesirable.
The good thing about Parliament Grounds, for some reason or the
other (perhaps the presence of more vigilant security) has
deterred this undesirable crowd. There are also clear signs from
the police stating that consumption of liquor, even in the
privacy of one’s vehicle is strictly prohibited and violators
are liable to be prosecuted – clearly indicating that this is a
place for families and respectable society. This may well be the
plus point Parliament Grounds has over Galle Face.
The vibrant Grounds of the evenings, return to tranquility in
the mornings and becomes a perfect place for a quick jog or a
quiet walk. Many people of all ages and stamina thus take
advantage of this well groomed ground. After all, not many
places in Colombo are kept in this pristine condition. It was
because of this ‘exclusivity’ that I was irked, when this woman
brought her dog to use these grounds as her pet’s toilet! In the
mornings, many people come for walks, and in the evenings, many
children play about, and here she was, thoughtlessly using it as
her pet’s toilet.
When I politely asked her to clean up after herself, her
immediate response was why I won’t teach my own people, before I
tell her (she’s Caucasian). I looked around – there was no one
else littering, and an amazing point hit me. In the evenings,
there must be at least a hundred people on the Ground. Yet, in
the morning, except for the odd wrapper fluttering by the
sidewalk, there’s not a trace to indicate such a crowd. Kudos
must be given to the people, for the litter baskets left by the
municipality, are really not up to handling its task.
I pointed this out and she made the absurd accusation that I’m
picking on her because of her skin colour, and the heated words
that followed is not worthy of this column. Anyway, the point is
this, if there is a reader – irrespective of skin colour,
ethnicity, religion, gender, left or right handed, with or
without driving license, level of qualifications and whatever
other self-entertained inferiorities – out there who had been
thoughtlessly committing anti-social acts like littering, please
There are very few places in Colombo that you can take your
young family to enjoy an evening, especially outdoors (strange
isn’t it, for a tropical country!). Please be kind to people,
even if you don’t know them and leave the place as clean as you
found it. This woman enjoys coming in the morning because this
is a nice, clean, pleasant place for a walk, but leaves it
dirty. Don’t follow her footsteps!
Come on Foodies! Gossip with us on food! We’d love to know your
food experiences – good, bad, humorous… basically, anything and
everything. Just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and the most
interesting experiences would be published here. For more
information, do visit www.bojoon.com.
Sandamalee de Fonseka is the founder of www.bojoon.com that is
both the organiser of action-packed one-on-one cooking
programmes with top chefs of Sri Lanka, and the portal of food
in Sri Lanka.
Submarine Fun - May 7
to end of the month!
Looking for something new to
experience is what today’s generation expects from a hotel or a
restaurant. The team at the Trans Asia Hotel is aware of this
expectation and has come up with a fun way of enjoying a
wholesome and filling meal. Come to Goodies and ask for a
Submarine, which comprises a portion of carbs (bread) filled
with chicken, beef or a calorie conscious mix with a tasty
seasoning. For just Rs. 450 plus taxes, the deal is accompanied
by a portion of the popular crispy French fries and a
complimentary soft drink of your choice.
At Goodies, you could also enjoy a Shawarma, which is like the
ultimate for an “on the go” meal. Thinly sliced chicken mixed
with veggies and sauces are packed into a pita pocket and ready
to eat! For just Rs. 400 plus taxes, you’ve got what it takes
with a Goodies Shawarma, one of today’s popular take out meals.