A Sri Lankan passport is one of the worst for traveling overseas, as ranked by Henley & Partners. We’re in company with Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, Eritrea, Palestine, Nepal, the Sudan, Kosovo and the Lebanon. As every Sri Lankan knows. Getting visas for anywhere besides India or Singapore is really difficult and places like China don’t allow us individual tourist visas at all. This is largely, of course, because of the toxic war that tied many Sri Lankan emigres to terrorism, arms dealing, financial fraud, etc. But it’s also because our economy is such that people do want to flee.
Archive for the 'travel' Category
It’s funny how the best things about Sri Lanka are run by the most incompetent people. Perhaps ‘run’ isn’t the right word. ‘Claimed’, or ‘squatted on’, as both the Cricket Board and Tourist Board are as much rent-seeking lackeys and authorities. Recently, for example, the official Tourism Bureau was declared the official tourism partner of the ongoing ICC World Cup. Which, I may be missing something, seems hardly newsworthy. It seems like saying the CEB is the official electricity partner. Congratulations? Then there’s the Sri Lanka Tourism Awards, where the authorities largely awarded themselves.
Many awesome things have come to South America to Sri Lanka – chili, chocolate – via the Portugeuse, among others. Other things were brought, in commercial form, by the British, namely coffee and tea. Chili and tea have taken solid root here, but chocolate and coffee have kinda not. Not entirely. While you can get a spicy meal and plain tea anywhere, locally grown coffee and chocolate is hard to find.
The airport is kinda a black hole transportation wise. There’s no public transport and you have to take cabs at exorbitant rates. Well, there’s almost no public transport. They started and then discontinued a train service, and there is a bus which gets you vaguely there. Savan braved the trip for YAMU and made his flight to tell the tale.
Three French tourists just got a suspended sentence for taking mocking photographs with a Buddha statue at Embekka Devale. They took their photos to be printed in Galle and the studio handed them in to the police. I’m not sure what exactly they were charged under, but they received a suspended sentence and their passports and cameras were returned.
Nishantha Wickremasinghe is the brother-in-law of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He’s been Chairman of SriLankan Airlines since it started sucking and losing money, partly for reasons out of his control, but it’s not like he’s part of the solution either. This interview in the Island is interesting A) in that it’s such a bad interview and B) in that he seems to gaffe the truth, about Mihin at least.
Srilal Miththapala has an interesting article in the Daily Mirror about the Sri Lankan hotel industry. While tourists arrivals are the highest ever, hotel occupancy rates are not the same thing. I’ve heard and he’s cited hoteliers saying that occupancies are actually quite poor. But this isn’t exactly what it seems. People may not be staying in big chain hotels, but they could be staying in guest houses and other off-griddier locations.
There have been mad shufflings at Sri Lanka Tourism lately, which I guess is OK, cause I’m not entirely sure what they do. Sri Lanka has numerous resources with invisible or actively incompetent administration (sports being the latter) and if the Sri Lanka Tourist Board were to vanish tomorrow I’m not sure too many people would notice. The biggest news they made in latter years was branding Sri Lanka ‘A Small Miracle’ and then backtracking at the last minute. Now the slogan is ‘Refreshingly Sri Lanka’ with eight random words as thematic hooks. Which is confusing. I think I got something better.
I want to visit my friend in China before he comes back. Free place to crash and all. So, I applied for a visa to China, from Colombo. I’m not sure I’ll get it, but this is process to at least apply. For official but incomplete info, check out the Chinese Embassy website.
This is highly dubious. Miss Travel is a travel/social networking site that connects ‘Generous’ and ‘Attractive’ travelers. To, like, travel together, I guess. It all seems a bit like arranged prostitution and trafficking. This is part of a broader online trend to connect rich men to younger, attractive women. Sites like seekingarrangement.com connects women to ‘sugar daddies’ already. I guess Miss Travel is just taking that trend international. Wait, I checked, it’s the same guy doing both.