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A Crazy, alternative travellers guide to Sri Lanka with survival tips, customs, culture, food and drink. PART TWO..... Back to Part
Make sure cinemas are air-conditioned.
The usual fare is cheap imported naughty films, overlong Hindi films and locally produced films of variable quality.
Breakdown of projection equipment is common and often comes as a relief. Females should not visit cinemas unescorted.
Cinema posters are painted by colour-blind artists.
(Right: Sri Lanka's answer to Laurel & Hardy)
Ray Daniel and Daval Miguel: Sri Lanka's answer to Laurel and Hardy!

Newspapers: Newspapers in Sri Lanka broadcast everything other than the news! This is largely because they are State-controlled and the independant newspapers get bashed by the Government.
Editors are appointed by the Government. A number of former editors and correspondents now walk with the help of crutches. Officially, there is of course "Freedom of the Press"!
The Government controlled "Daily News" is a good laugh.
A favourite Sri Lankan pastime is to count the number of times the President is mentioned on the first page. The political cartoons are not funny.

The Government controlled arsepaper of Sri Lanka

The Daily News is also known as the "Daily Fart".
Don't miss the matrimonial columns of any newspaper.
Travel Tip ! Toilet Paper
Copies of the Daily News make good toilet paper!

The Galle Face Green is a popular sea front park. It is anything but green.
The Vihara Maha Devi Park (formerly Victoria Park) is worth a visit when political rallies are taking place. Don't forget to wear a helmet and a flak jacket.
A gas mask is also recommended on days when the local police practice tear gas throwing. Join in the fun and shout "Jayawewa!" or "Bungawewa!" depending on the mood of the crowd. It is considered bad manners to shout "Parippuwa"!

Bars and Nightclubs:
Find out before hand if a particular establishment is patronised by Members of Parliament or their sons.
Warning! Avoid these.
Drinks are expensive and watered down except when inspectors from the Excise Department visit. Ask for drinks from the same bottle as served to the inspectors.
Food and Drink
There is no doubt that Sri Lanka produces the best tea in the world (e.g. Dilmah Tea and Mlesna Tea). Unfortunately, if you ask for 'Tea' you will get a cup of hot tea with powdered milk and three teaspoonfuls of sugar per cup. You could stand a teaspoon in this!
If this is not to your taste ask for 'plain tea' which also comes with three teaspoonfuls of sugar but without the powdered milk concrete.
These are a Srilankan staple but not usually available in four star hotels (see recipe). Don't ask for them if dining at the Hilton, Grand Oriental or the Galle Face hotels as you might be thrown out!
The best Malupaans may be found near DeSoysa Circus in Colombo (opposite Eye Hospital) or at the Salgado Hotel, Kalutara.

Arrack: An amber coloured spirit of variable quality and strength often watered down in hotels to protect the liver. A slight flavour and aftertaste of kerosene is normal.
Travel Tip ! Getting Drunk On Poya Days
Liquor is not officially sold on Poya (full moon) days. Just stock up before hand like the locals do!

Buth Packets: Sri Lanka is a major producer of buth packets. Invariably cheap, they consist of rice with various types of curries wrapped in thin polythene (Sili-Sili Kola) to form a packet.
Warning! The polythene is for wrapping purposes only and is inedible.
Look out for large colourful signs advertising buth packet outlets (see pic) or ask a local.
A buth kade is a small eating house usually of shack like construction with a Coca-Cola sign.
Don't let this put you off from trying out hoppers and string hoppers.

typical tea shack in Sri Lanka on the Bandaragama-Piliyandala road

Sadilin's daughter's Petti Kade
Travel Tip ! Free Meals!
Free meals are available at all Government Hospitals and in fact most patients are in hospital for the free meals. They can't be seriously ill if they can eat! Try this only in sheer desperation, as hospital food is probably the worst food in the country. If getting admitted to hospital don't complain of diarrhoea or vomiting as they will put you on 'No Diet' which is the Sri Lankan equivalent of 'Nil by mouth'.
Home to Crazylanka
Mlesna Tea
was named after Saint Anselm who allowed his name to be used backwards!
Mlesna Tea, named after a saint!
Mlesna Tea
is one of the good quality teas to come from Sri Lanka after the tea plantations were largely nationalised

The history of Sri Lanka as re-written by Crazylanka

The Original Sri Lanka Madpage

Zany stories from Sri Lanka
Buying Gems: Everyone in Sri Lanka is an expert on gems. Unless you are an expert yourself it is best to buy gems and jewellery through the Argos catalogue or some other British outlet.
If you still want to buy gems in Sri Lanka go to a Government run Gem Corporation outlet. The staff are only there to collect their salaries and so be patient.
WARNING: Gems sold on the beach are quartz ('white sapphire') or fragments from a broken bottle of Milk of Magnesia ('blue sapphires'). Broken beer bottle fragments make nice Topaz or Emeralds depending on the colour.
Public Holidays
Sri Lanka has the highest number of public holidays for any country with the possible exception of the Pacific Island of Bora Bora.
Each religious group wants its own holidays and the full moon day (Poya Day) is also a holiday.
Sri Lanka celebrates its own New Year's Day in addition to the more conventional 1st of January.
In addition to all these Sri Lanka has public holidays on the following days as well:

Birthday of Gerardus Mercator March 5
Commonwealth Day March 8
Constitution Day, Norway May 17
National Day, Luxembourg June 23
Death of Jim Reeves July 31
World Population Day July 11
Independence Day, Bolivia Aug 6
Death of Rohana Wijeweera Nov 13

Jim Reeves
The death anniversary of Jim Reeves is a public holiday in Sri Lanka!
The death anniversary of this Country 'n' Western singer is a public holiday in Sri Lanka!
Plans to introduce a 'Portuguese Day' to commemorate the first arrival of the Portuguese in 1505 is on hold.
All international cricket match days are holidays as well!
Mastering the language
Learning (the) Sinhalese:
Sinhalese is not a difficult language to master although the alphabet has 250 letters. Most were added to make the language difficult.
For instance there are two of the letter L and two of N. There are also two Ñs.
Sadistic schoolteachers just, to make life difficult for school children, introduced these in the 1950s. It is perfectly possible to get by without most of the letters in the official alphabet.
Further Reading About Sinhalese
Sinhala-English Dictionary
How to pronounce Sri Lankan
Sri Lankan
Crazy Travel Pic
Niagara Falls in Colombo?

In its great wisdom the Sri Lankan Garment decided to create a mini Niagara Falls in Colombo as a tourist attraction.

What happened was that a hole appeared in the road as a result of chronic bad management. Instead of filling it the authorities decided to make it an attraction. So here we are. Why bother to go to Canada to see the real thing? We have got it in Colombo!
(Photographer/photo manipulator unknown)

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