This is the final post from my India and Sri Lanka holiday – you’ll be pleased to know!
I spent most of my time trailing round (or having a massage, or lolling round the pool: truly it was tough) whilst Mark worked , but I did squeeze in a bit of shopping. Sri Lanka has quite a vibrant garment industry – in fact on the way from the airport we passed the Melbourne Textile Factory, which I felt was promising. There are some lovely shops which only sell local products, such as Barefoot in Galle Road (no photos) or Kandygs.
Here I am looking at the fabrics in Kandygs. The colours are scrumptious and the fabrics have a very homespun feel to them. I am wearing my Lilly dress from So Sew Easy, and it was a fabulous dress for travelling.
The Fabric Gallery in Galle Road has a massive selection of fabrics over two floors. I may have parted with some cash here – oops. My shoes got very wet during this trip, it absolutely poured with rain, but that didn’t stop me enjoying myself.
Fashion Fabrics is another wonderful store in Galle Road. It has three floors for your viewing pleasure and many young men who dance attention, showing infinite patience. I shared a photo of me in the store itself previously.
I probably have a gazillion other photos of me fabric shopping, but I won’t bore you with them. Basically high class shops can be found in Galle Road, but the Pettah Market is a good place to check out. 1st Cross Street and 2nd Cross Street have a lot but many are wholesalers. You also have to haggle, whereas Galle Road is fixed price (but they will discount so you can still practice your haggling skills :)). I found that the fabric in Pettah Market was much lower quality and close checking of the fabric was required as fade lines were prevalent. Gorgeous braids and ribbons abound, but I got overwhelmed and didn’t buy any. I shall probably live to regret this one day!
One thing about fabric shopping in both India and Sri Lanka is that much of the fabric is sold in “sets”. The sets consist of three coordinated fabrics which are designed for the traditional dress, which varies from place to place, but these are generally known as ghagra cholis which consist of a long pleated skirt (lehanga), a choli, which is the short sleeved, tight blouse, and the odhani, which is the veil or scarf. Some of these sets were stunning and it was tempting to buy one, but they have so much fabric in them that I couldn’t think what I would do with it all.
We also checked out some hotels for our next visit. The Taj is a beautiful hotel, over the road from the ocean with lovely rooms. The gardens are also gorgeous, and I do like a nice garden.
We stopped in for a cocktail and enjoyed being right on the beach.
The Galle Face Hotel is the oldest hotel in Colombo, being built in 1864, and it puts me in mind of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore with its colonial grandeur.
Some last thoughts on Sri Lanka: there is a lot less litter than in India, but the traffic is just as bad. We didn’t find the customer service quite as good as India, but the country has progressed enormously since my last visit eight years ago. They seem to be restoring some of the beautiful colonial buildings, which is really good to see, and there are a couple of new, really good highways that have been built. There is definitely an improvement in the prosperity of the country and foreign investment is obvious.
Finally, several people have discussed the size of my suitcase and I responded with the comment that it’s big, but it actually is a medium sized suitcase. I consider packing to be an extreme sport – if my adrenalin isn’t spiking then I haven’t done enough shopping! However, I use space bags which helps me fit in a lot more. I do confess that I always pack an overflow bag and this time it was filled with tea – about 10kgs of beautiful Sri Lankan tea!
And yes, I have a whole set of green suitcases!