Archive for November, 2012

ROYSTON’S REPORT, Number 138

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

TROPICAL TOPICS, Sunday 2 December 2012.

 

Tropical greetings to readers around the world as we enjoy the last few days of 2012.

 

Grown in Sri Lanka

 

Lady Luck, a cute carnivorous plant

Lady Luck, a cute carnivorous plant

 

I have recently become the proud owner of a miniature insect eating plant, called Nepenthes or Lady Luck, from a local company named Borneo Exotics (www.borneoexotics.com) and marketed by www.bio-domes.org through special Colombo outlets. It cost me just Rs 930 (£ 4.42; US$ 7.15)

 

Attractive packing for an insect eating plant

Attractive packing for an insect eating plant

 

The clever packaging describes it as “fun and easy to keep and grow” and explains it needs three hours direct sunlight a day and watering once a month to the level indicated on the plastic dome it lives in. The dome cover has a hole through which rainwater can be poured, and the instructions are that this protective plastic dome should not be removed, to keep the plant’s air humid.

 

Nepenthes in its plastic dome

Nepenthes in its plastic dome

 

The plant is not indigenous to Sri Lanka but is a hybrid descending from two different species of Nepenthes (commonly known as pitcher plants) introduced to Sri Lanka by Diane Williams and Robert Cantley in 1997. The company they started, Borneo Exotics, has since won sales around the world as well as four gold medals at the Chelsea Flower show.

 

 

Hair Today

Have you noticed how trendy hairdressing salons give themselves outrageous names? During my travels around Sri Lanka I have been looking out for examples and have so far seen these marvellous names:

Tangels

Cutting Block

Hair Matters

Cutting Station

Cut Above

Head Turners

Roots

Rumours

and, my favourite, Headmasters.

 

One hairdressing salon proclaimed it specialised in Bridle Dressing, perhaps something to do with dressage?

 

Ravi looks for hair to cut

Ravi looks for hair to cut

 

My own hairdressing is done by Ravi (whose salon is called Salon Moira after the original owner) whom I first encountered about 25 years ago working in the Moira’s Salon in the basement of the Ceylon Intercontinental Hotel. He is still much in demand. Perhaps because I don’t have much hair to cut, he charges me Rs500 [£ 2.38;  US$ 3.84) a trim.

 

Made in Sri Lanka

It’s no surprise that good tailoring exists in Sri Lanka. In fact every village has at least one tailor who can produce a shirt or trousers to one’s own design very quickly. All my clothes are tailor-made, and that’s not boasting – it’s simply more practical and cheaper than mass-produced garments, and means I can maintain my fashion (safari shirts with four pockets) while the fashionistas follow other people.

 

Sri Lanka: a village tailor (at Haputale)

Sri Lanka: a village tailor (at Haputale)

 

With so many hotels and restaurants in the country, it’s not surprising either that an enterprising company produces hospitality staff uniforms to order. I don’t know why chairman/managing director Walter Perera calls his company Queens Work Wear but his workshop in Ja-Ela produces a majestic range of uniforms, from dashing chefs tunics and trendy toques to shirts for special theme nights (Chinese, Seafood, etc.)

 

Sri Lanka: hotel uniforms made to measure

Sri Lanka: hotel uniforms made to measure

 

I saw some of them on rather stiff display at a recent hotel exhibition in Colombo. The company “exports quality uniforms to the hospitality industry and clinical uniforms to the health care industry. (http://www.queensworkwear.com)

 

Breakfast in Maldives

I am hopeless at breakfast, even on a hangover-free morning, and at home prefer to eat alone in the papaya orchard while the sea splashes the beach across the road and I can lose myself in a newspaper. So when I’m staying in a hotel I often opt for room service rather than face a scrum at a buffet counter of under-dressed and weary people scrambling for overcooked and equally-weary scrambled egg.

 

At Kurumba in the Maldives where I stayed last week there is the perfect option for a peaceful breakfast. For guests in certain categories of rooms, and for those who pay a few extra dollars for the privilege, breakfast is served beachside from a menu, not from a buffet.

 

Breakfast at Kurumba, Maldives

Breakfast at Kurumba, Maldives

 

A fruit and meat platter, breads – including gluten free bread – are brought to the table, as well as juices and tea or coffee and the guest’s choice from a menu that includes Farmer’s Grill (eggs, bacon, sausage, etc.), eggs benedict, Italian, Indian and Far East Asia breakfasts, French crepes and omelettes. I usually choose the whites of egg omelette with smoked salmon as an accompaniment to the apparently unlimited serving of Piper Heidsieck champagne.

 

Mile High Club

A fascinating survey by Asia Pacific’s leading travel search site Wego (www.wego.com) has revealed that airline passengers are still quite partial to becoming members of the Mile High Club. Of 3,000 air passengers interviewed, 15 percent told Wego they had witnessed some form of sexual conduct on an aircraft.

 

Mile high on a private plane; where’s the passengers?

Mile high on a private plane; where’s the passengers?

 

Many reported observing two people entering a bathroom together, “followed by a lot of squealing and banging [sic]“. There were many sexual variations reported, such as the flight where passengers were frightened by a strange noise in the overhead locker; it  was discovered to be a buzzing vibrator in a woman’s handbag. Another passenger was intrigued to find a life size inflatable female doll in the centre seat next to him, apparently with a ticket paid for by its male owner in the adjoining seat.

 

It seems respondents to Wego’s survey were not offended by what they saw, although only a few confessed to being proud members of the fabled Club.

 

 

The Big Beat Scene

 

The Big Beat Scene brings back the past

The Big Beat Scene brings back the past

 

For the rock ‘n’ roll life that gave birth to the Swinging Sixties, see the reprint by Mentor Music Books of The Big Beat Scene, my book about the early pop music scene, available from http://musicmentor0.tripod.com/book_big_beat_scene.html.

 

Beat regards

Royston.