Spotless in Sri Lanka! Top Indian journalist takes a (very) clean break in paradise!


The expression ‘clean break’ took on a whole new meaning for India’s The Hindu writer Gayatri Rangachari Shah when she recently enjoyed a short holiday in Sri Lanka.

She says: “Ever since my first visit five years ago, I was amazed at the hygiene levels. Public bathrooms? Not a problem. Garbage? Not littering the streets.

“As I wandered through the coastal towns of Ambalangoda, Meetiyagoda, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Talpe and Mirissa, I was impressed that even the smallest places were spotless.”

So amazed, in fact, that she “raised the subject over dinner with friends at the Aman[galla] hotel in Galle Fort, where we had gone to bring in my birthday, on New Year’s Eve. Why is our smaller southern neighbour so much cleaner than we are?”

For example, she writes, “during the break, I read a news report about how the new air conditioned Mumbai suburban trains had been littered with empty chips packets and cigarettes”.

“The next day, we continued the discussion over a languid Italian lunch at WB at Why Beach in Talpe, but were unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion. I gave up trying to find an answer.”

Meanwhile, she notes, “this year, it seems like an enormous, well-heeled Indian contingent is vacationing in Sri Lanka. From press accounts, even Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh were there to snorkel”.

“Our island neighbour is clearly experiencing a tourism boom. My Hong Kong Chinese friends were there en famille, as were assorted English pals from London. Even the Pakistanis love it.”

Strolling in Galle Fort, with its well preserved 17th century streets and buildings, “it was hard not be seduced by the historic charm, quaint shops and hotels dotting the world heritage site—and the shops”.

“TripAdvisor describes Galle as the ‘emporium of foreign trade’ and you have to have nerves of steel to not succumb to a shopping expedition. Temptation abounded”.

“Delicate designs, with the semi-precious gemstones Sri Lanka is famous for, were ripe for the picking at Sandaken on Peddlers Street, and Ibrahim Jewellers, on Church Street.

“Spices, silver, home accessories, retro art, handicrafts and top quality linen could be found in chic boutiques.” Not just a clean break, then, but a very welcome break.

Read more here.

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