Photo by Dominic Sansoni, because my camera is bricked.
I went for the opening of Ministry Of Crab on Friday, which also happened to be the day they opened the new Dutch Hospital shopping complex. Built across from the World Trade Center, it’s a beautiful courtyard and cobblestone space with food (MinCrab, Harpo’s, Hilton, Heladiv Tea), shopping (ODEL, Barefoot, Colombo Jewelry) and a pub. It’s pretty damn good for Colombo.
I walked into the Ministry Of Crab as Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was walking out. Kumar Sangakkara, a co-owner, was greeting people and countless cricketers new and old were there. I actually didn’t have any food thing, having gone wandering when some things were served. The Dutch Hospital complex opens out onto a courtyard of cobblestones and chairs. The city rises above you. There are shops and restaurants all around and a second courtyard further in where be Barefoot and the pub.
Walking out back, you can see Colombo Fort, leading up to the clock tower that was the sign of a bomb blast, and it looks like its developing. Colombo and Sri Lanka in general are changing very fast. You can see it before your eyes, I see new shops, new buildings, new businesses, even new roads. Just came up from Matara and it’s amazing how much has changed. Matara has a bigger Arpico and generally better architecture than Colombo, and it’s only begun to grow.
Cruising up on the new Southern Expressway you’re struck by how empty it is, and all the potential it contains. Like once there are highways like this around the country, how it really will be like one city, the City of Lanka, inshallah.
With Fort, also, the richness of architecture and natural beauty have long been neglected, sadly and obviously slow. Now life is starting to creep back into the city’s heart and it’s quite exciting to see. As I walked out I saw Harry Jayawardena talking on the phone, but I could just as easily imagine tourists hanging out or students grabbing a coffee.