Monday, August 26, 2013

Maning market, Colombo

After 2 delays in Hanoi and another 2 delays in Bangkok , finally, I arrived in Colombo at 1.30 Am local time (3 AM Hanoi time) Sometimes what seems to be a relatively short flight in the region ends up a full day of travel. I felt sorry for the driver waiting for me at the airport but he met us with a very nice smile which took my exhaustion away.
After a short but lovely welcome to our hotel at Mount Lavinia, the next morning I walked along the beach after a very big fresh fruit and small omelette breakfast. The hotel is about 5 minutes walk away from the beach and hardly any tourists around. There were lots of people playing cricket on the different ovals but no one playing tennis on the sandy courts which made me wonder.
So far Sri Lanka has proven a very reasonable destination for both food and transportation. Most trips in the ubiquitous tuk tuk costs about a dollar and the drivers usually offer the real price and drive very carefully. I'm not a bit fan of heavy food and I expected Sri Lankan food to be heavy but I've been pleasantly surprised by the great vegetable curries and fresh fish dishes, which have been the highlights so far.
I went to the Maning Market, Colombo's main wholesale vegetable market, after a crazy crowded local train trip. I was a bit worried about the passengers hanging out the door and it is amazing how many people can be stuffed into a train carriage. The worst part was when the train arrived at Colombo's Fort railway station and I wanted to get off but I couldn't because people were pushing to get on the train at both doors. At the last minute, I managed to jump onto the tracks on the wrong side and climbed up onto the platform on the opposite side. It sounds crazy but that's what most people do here in Asia and I felt fine at the end. The good thing here in Sri Lanka is whoever I meet on the train or on the street, they always smile and come up with a conversation or give me a hand with directions which I love.
Walking toward the market right near the train station was a bit of a worry at the beginning as there were so many buses, the bus station being next door. Thanks to the lady who pointed me in the right direction; the Manning Market is an amazing market where I saw only male vendors with big smiles who offered me their fruit to try with no hassle and also asked me to take photos of them. I will definitely send them their photos as they also gave me their shop address. I'd never seen such beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables in what seemed like a very quiet market. I wonder why all the sellers are men, which is very different to the situation in Vietnam.
Anyway, I had a fabulous time and it is definitely a highlight of my trip to Colombo and I wouldn't mind going back to this market again.


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