Many thanks to all who sent greetings on my birthday, and an especially warm welcome to new friends joining us today to this odd view from Sri Lanka.

Tips for FITs

As a foreigner in Sri Lanka you will inevitably be approached by Sri Lankans, usually when you are trying to take a contemplative walk along the beach or exploring the village shops for bargains. While this could be part of genuine curiosity to know more about the stranger in their midst, it is more likely a ploy to offer you something; whether it’s a canoe ride, a cup of ginger tea (or an ayuvedic massage) at home, a visit to a school in need of aid after the tsunami, or a packet of mothballs.

The rudest, and most effective, way is to ignore such propositions completely. On the other hand, who knows where the encounter might lead? Keep a cool head and a hard heart at first and you may eventually discover a friend for life, or at least a better guesthouse or restaurant in which to enjoy your holiday.

As an independent traveller, flow with serendipity but be ready to bail out if the signs aren’t promising. How do you know? When the request for money comes too soon in the relationship, then it’s time to remember another appointment.

(But it you ever meet, this man, Loga, in Haputale, you’ll have a friend for life.)

Snakes Alive

Steve, living in Hambantota, sent this photo of what popped out from under his bed last week. Luckily it wasn’t IN the bed. His friend Graham responded by email saying: “Know your snakes when in the tropics. This pipe snake belongs to the family Cylindrophis and is non venomous. Easily recognised by its flattened tail.”

I admire anyone who’d stay long enough around a snake to inspect its tail.

Free Upgrade

I recently received a newsletter some giving tips on how to score an upgrade free of charge when flying. The basic idea seems to be to pay full Economy Class fare, travel alone, look well dressed, and check in last when Economy Class is likely to be full (airlines always overbook). Be charming too, of course, then the magic might happen at check in desk. Another way is to get extra friendly with someone important on the airline. (See: www.kiwicollection.com).

Of course, you could always take out a mortgage and pay for your upgraded ticket yourself. I love flying at the front of the plane so my trick is to choose an airline (like SriLankan) that doesn’t have a ludicrously expensive First Class fare but a less extravagant, and utterly enjoyable Business Class cabin.

Portrait of the artist

If you are in London between 10 March and 19 June 2011, do visit the National Portrait Gallery where there is an exhibition of photographic portraits of the artists of the mid-20th Century by Ida Kar. Here is one of them.

Meanwhile, here is the official birthday portrait (taken by Kumara of Induruwa) of the artist 50 years later, proudly wearing a jacket given to him for his 70th birthday by the famous pop singer Glen Stuart who wore it on stage when he appeared with Dusty Springfield at the London Palladium in 1967.

More reports on the events of Thursday, 10 February 2011 about the birthday party held at a rented bungalow in Induruwa, Sri Lanka, when the participants have sobered up. (And I have returned from the hills of Haputale where I fled for the weekend to detox on wholesome Uva tea.)

Finally, this from Glen:

Beat regards.


9 Responses to “A VIEW FROM SRI LANKA”

  1. harpos says:

    Good Morning Royston !

    On behalf of the Park Street Mews here’s wishing you a very Happy Birthday with all our good wishes- Good luck, Good cheer & Good health too!

    Should you be celebrating the joyous occasion today or any other day with family & friends sometime soon please do not hesitate to call us & we will make the event memorable.

    All the very best once again!

    Warm regards

    Pravin Pereira
    Marketing Services
    Park Street Mews

  2. Daniel says:

    Happy Birthday Royston! Nice piece of dress.

  3. Nuwan says:

    Happy Birthday to you………

    I’m Anton & Cathy’s son Nuwan.

  4. V Keshav Raj (India) says:

    Hi Rorston,

    Anita & Aahana join me in wishing you a very Happy Birthday. I am sure Neel & co will be working a blast for the evening. The fun I guess begins with t sundowners.

    Am following the posts. The write up on eats with photos were tempting. Keep it coming

    Regards to all & Wish u a happy birthday again. Hic!

  5. Sav says:

    Another super read on a Sunday morning. loved it all especially the Birthday message (but not the snake story – I hate snakes with absolute passion) and the official 70th bday portrait.

  6. MANDY says:

    My gosh, i am still recovering from the 10th…….i actually haven’t been able to sit down and email anything to anyone since we returned – WHO was mixing those Bloody Marys (Savi was calling them BloodyMandys…..) because they were simply lethal Royston! But thank you very much for asking us to be there to share your special day – we had so much fun and met some really nice people and caught up with Neel and Alistair and Andrew – but i am still nursing a hangover for which i am not thanking you at all….

  7. David, Maldives says:

    Belated Happy Birthday! The Glen Stuart jacked looked appropriate for the occasion!

  8. Savi says:

    Dear Dear Royston and Neel

    Thank you for an absolutely decadent afternoon filled with much laughter, good company, screams, music and non-stop entertainment – all as promised. I was most honoured to be a part of your 70th bday celebrations Royston and loved the guest list as they were a group of people who were very simply intent on having fun. It was one of the best ways of spending a weekday afternoon (knowing full well that the rest of Colombo were slogging away at their desks) :)

    And Neel – you really organised a great bash. Thank you for remembering me.

    Here’s wishing you good health, lots of wealth, safe travels wherever your traveling star takes you and most of all happiness – in whatever quantity you require Royston.

    God bless

    Savi (with Shewa joining in with the wishes and a disappointed face that he missed all the fun!)

  9. Hi there Royston

    Much enjoy your witterings. Keep up the good work.
    If you are any where near Tangalle from now to 1 March why not drop in for some refreshment.
    Would love to see you.

    Chris and Nicola


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