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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sri Lanka - day 9

We knew from the very beginning that we didn't want to do much of Colombo City (cities don't fascinate us all that much), so we didn't plan an overnight stay there. We simply reserved the last day to drive around and see Colombo before heading to the airport to catch our flight back. Our driver had also promised to take us to a mall to buy tea and other souvenirs to take home.

Our first stop was Independence Square, and we spent time exploring the Independence Memorial Hall, which commemorates the independence of Sri Lanka from British rule in 1948.

Inside the Memorial Hall

Lions flank the building on all sides. 

The Town Hall of Colombo, which is the headquarters of the Colombo Municipal Council and the office of the Mayor of Colombo

Xena poses with the Colombo Lighthouse.

Large-scale construction in the area, with large-scale investments from China, apparently

It was getting very hot, and we were happy to jump back into the cool comfort of the van. We had lunch at Urban Kitchen and then went shopping in Arpico Mall.

Xena was thrilled to see that they had kid-sized shopping trolleys!

Almost everyone bought tea and spices to take home. 

Our next stop was the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct. The building was originally a hospital during the Dutch occupation of Sri Lanka, and was also used as a police station and an apothecary at one point, before it was converted into a shopping centre. It's a beautiful place, reflecting Dutch colonial architecture, and full of cafes, bars, shops and restaurants now. They have live music too, though there wasn't any that afternoon. 

The 400-year-old Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct is considered to be the oldest building in the Colombo Fort area. 

Ministry of Crab is one of the most popular restaurants there. By the way, Sri Lankan chilli crab is a national dish in Singapore. 


We did quite a bit of shopping at the precinct. Viv bought two T-shirts, I bought one, and we got a dress for Xena. The parents also bought small knick-knacks. 

Soon, it was evening and time for us to head to the airport. We had an early dinner at an Indian place, where we met the same family friend whom we had met when we first landed. 

Along the way, our driver stopped off at a shop and when he came back, he was armed with a souvenir wall hanging featuring a family photo of us taken by him. That was some real quick coordination! And knowing that we were all headed back to different places, he had gotten multiple copies done. Very nice. 

Christmas decor on the roads

Yet another one

Our flight was after midnight, so we hung around at the airport. It was already the new year! What a great note to have ended the year one. Finally, we had managed the family trip that we had been dreaming of and planning for a long, long time! 

Here's to more family holidays!

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