Sri Lankan domestics never say anything, they just stop coming. My maid just stopped coming and when I finally pressed her she said I needed to get a washing machine. I was hoping to ride this one out, but I’ve run out of underwear and I have no choice. I finally caved and bought a washing machine, from Singer, ONLINE. I put the online in all caps because it’s pretty awesome. I ordered the thing in like 15 minutes on Saturday and they just delivered it today. It’s pretty awesome, this brave new world.
Archive for the 'shopping' Category
Yoghurt. What is yoghurt? Bacteria milk? I don’t know. Every Sri Lankan shop and lunch joint serves chilled cups of yoghurt. They cost 20 or 30 Rupees and, after a spicy meal, are a cooling salve. Like Coca-Cola, the tropical heat occasionally gives me a sudden craving for the product, which I cannot control. Like Coca-Cola, one brand (Highland) tends to dominate, but not necessarily because it’s the best.
Like Deshan says, if books are going out, they might as well go out like dinosaurs. There’s a lovely bookshop in Mount Lavinia that sells pop-up kids books for less than Rs. 2000. These exemplify the art. The place is called Serendib Books. It’s not on FourSquare so I geotagged it on Twitter. Where are some other places to get books in Colombo.
Most Internet businesses don’t care about Sri Lanka. Most places don’t ship here, and they don’t tell you till the end of the process (or deep in their documentation). Amazon ships books, but not most other stuff. Apple doesn’t ship anything. It’s not physical, but services like Netflix or Rhapsody don’t even digitally send music here. It’s quite annoying. Thus, I was surprised when I (randomly) visited Guitar Center and it immediately told me that they ship to Sri Lanka.
This is a storybook pillow, available at Colombo’s House Of Fashions or Amazon. Not available on the Kindle. This is not the diary of a Japanese courtesan (an instance of Zuihitsu, a precursor to the modern blog). Neither is it an erotic film of the same name. It’s quite literally a book sewn into a pillow.
The Samsung Solar Guru is a normal candybar phone with a working solar panel on the back. This is pretty cool and it really does charge. The only issue is that it gets like one minute of talktime for every hour in the sun. So not very practical. If you were stuck on a desert island it might be useful, but you still have to plug it into the wall. I bought one in Chennai to test it out and while it does last for a long time, it is not easy to get that much sun time. You can sorta keep it next to you on a bus or train, but it’s rather awkward. When walking you can keep it on your hand, but not for the hours required. I think the thing might work better if it came with a case or a belt-clip.
Since the war ended I’ve started going out a bit more. Plus inflation is down, so neither I nor my wallet are as likely to blow up. Been hanging out at Park Street Mews (near Hyde Park bo tree, near Arpico). They have decent, affordable food in a cosmopolitan warehouse space. Managed by Harpo, who also does Bayleaf and great pizza, all deliverable via 114.869.000. There’s also a place that delivers box-o-noodles (772.359.135). Haven’t had that. I was at ODEL today and caught a fashion show and I hear above more events coming up.
HSBC is truly the world’s local bank. They’ve picked up all the nepotistic bullshit of Sri Lanka like a sponge. First off, you can’t get an HSBC account at all without a reference. Then, once in, you cannot get an HSBC Credit Card without a cash deposit and a reference. Then, after years of dutifully paying your bills, they need one more family reference to issue a credit card with actual credit. And that family member has to have a landline, not a cell phone. I understand that Sri Lankans are pretty shoddy credit-wise, this is true. However, if HSBC had any decent customer management they should know me by now. Three years ago I sat down with my mother and gave a Rs 50,000 deposit for a credit card. So it’s basically a chequing account that I pay interest on, but whatever. I have had this card for years, and I pay my balance every month (automatically). I have built a credit record over three years with HSBC and they still want to know ‘who do you know?’ I’ve been giving them my money for 3 years and they still treat me like a stranger. If I had anywhere else to go I would tell HSBC to go fuck themselves, but I don’t. So HSBC will keep providing poor customer service because the bar is low and I as a consumer have to suck it up.
Walk into a place and nobody even smile at you. Unless you know somebody. Walk into anywhere as a generic customer and people behind the counter just ignore you. I’m in Laugfs in a sarong, trying to get some razors. Nobody there and three people at the registers, but nobody even looks up. I need to open the case but the employees just continue their conversation, forcing me to interrupt. Looking peeved, guy unlocks the case and goes back to his chat. Same thing everywhere. Service staff either follows you around like a thief or ignores you like a leper.
I went to Pettah over the weekend, looking for this particular Motorola. It was a cool day, laden with yesterdays rain. First I drove through Pettah looking for a theoretical parking spot and finding none. The streets are occupied with people, flowing around the slow moving car like ambivalent waves. No parking no parking no parking. I had originally parked next to a fetid garbage dump/housing project but decided it was too far. In my meanderings that’s exactly where I ended up, and where I parked again. Hop a three into Pettah. I remember seeing cool stuff in Pettah when I was a kid, but as far as I can tell Pettah is full of junk. No offense. Seriously though, it’s a bunch of too-tall socks, cheap cloth, knives, and electronics from 1983. It feels like Blade Runner except without any cool stuff. Maybe I’m wrong. I walk past a big kovil and get some peara (guava) in a bag. They put some chili on it, which I’m not used to. It’s pretty freaking good.