Thursday, February 28, 2013

Five Sri Lankan Oddities

1. Sri Lankans like to use place-mats and coasters.
2. Meals are universally enormous.
3. Double bed sheets must be nearly impossible to find, because beds are nearly always made up with two single sheets arranged vertically. The sheets are often folded into origami-like patterns as well.
4. Smoking is unusual.
5. I've not yet seen  single child selling or touting anything. I think kids here are actually in school or playing at home. This is a refreshing change!

Five things which are the same everywhere throughout tropical Asia:

1. Stray, mangy, emaciated dogs.
2. Terrible roads, open drains, bad or non-existent plumbing.
3. Dragging poverty in some areas (though no one here that I've seen so far seems to actually be starving...)
4. Bus drivers with death wishes.
5. Bananas, papaya, mango, pineapple, rice...

I had a photo too, but Blogger doesn't want to play today...

Friday, February 15, 2013

I won't name names...

I knew this hotel was dodgy and chose it (online) because of it's proximity to the airport in Kuala Lumpur. We three (four?!) are on our way to Sri Lanka for a short holiday, and until recently our flight to Colombo left ridiculously early in the morning so I wanted to be close. The flight time has since be changed to 11am and there is now no need to be out in the sticks of KL at all, but nevertheless, here we are.

We have stayed in plenty of shoddy places before. And it's not like this place is particularly decrepit, really. First impressions were not great: the building is a  Classic Tropical Concrete construction, painted maroon and green. The corridors are painted an insipid lime green with chocolate brown doors and trim. Our room follows the lime green and brown theme. We seem to be on the edges of some kind of derelict estate and were not keen to explore further than making a loop around the block to find the only restaurant open (but busy, at least) for a quick dinner of ordinary nasi goreng and mee goreng. Almost all of the buildings are deserted and in a state of disrepair, featuring broken sidewalks, weeds, and even half-grown trees sprouting out of gaps in the concrete.
Still, our room is clean and dry, has hot water and electricity, beds, a TV... far more than we've had in many places before. So I'm not complaining about our hotel, as such, although it was exorbitantly priced for something so ordinary. 

Anyway, enough of all that. All things being even, this time tomorrow we should be eating dinner in Negombo, Sri Lanka, by the beach, and deciding where we are going to go after that. We're half backpacking it around the country, as in going with the wind as much as travelling with a toddler will allow. We have a rough idea of where we want to go, and are just going to get people to point us in the right direction. Our girl turns three years old in a week, and we're hoping her birthday involves elephants somehow.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Front fence revamp #2

So, the long awaited update! I get there eventually...

When last I posted, I was busy pulling up daggy lamb's ears and some Lomandras I was never happy with, and replacing them with a group of small, native ground covering plants (lots of daisies, plus a few ring-ins). I'm happy to report that most of my new flower patch is doing quite well. We have had a bit of a break in the hot weather recently with milder days and even a little bit of rain and the garden is loving it (as am I). A special mention here to my Helichrysum rutidolepis ('pale everlasting daisy'). It's a local species and classified as Threatened, and apparently it likes it in my front yard - with it's dripper irrigation and thick layer of pea straw mulch - because the few plants I put in have rocketed along, tripling in size in three weeks. Woohoo! Now, if only the rest of the plants would do the same thing...

Photo #1: Long shot of the front yard. The 'gap' at the front is actually a transplanted Poa lab and Scaevola 'mauve clusters,' which are still considering whether or not they are going to join the party.

Photo #2: Helichrysum rutidolepis going gangbusters.