The food quality in hotels is high. Many foods are offered at all meals including fruit and curry. Some of the best fruits are the pineapples , mangos, watermelon. The bread tends to be of the American type and a little sweet mostly although the basic white and wholemeal loaves contain no additives and taste great. For me the pineaple was the best food, this was available easily and cheaply. The Sri Lankans enjoy their sweet foods too and desserts are essenatially types either of cake with cream in them of various flavours, or mousse like desserts. Sri Lankan coffee is a little of the acquired taste. Can I recommend it? Not really. The tea though is wonderful and like a totally different drink to what we have in UK. There is no need to add milk to tea. Meat is not offered in huge amounts and tends to be used with vegetables in curries rather than served alone. The quality of the meat is also maybe inferior to what is generally served in Uk but is fine. Chicken is rarely served as a breast meat for example, wings, thighs and other less identifiable parts are used. Rice is of many types. Red rice I could not take to but the white rice was excellent. what was the best single food item I ate? Easy. It was the Banana and Coconut Tart!
From the fruits the pineapple and passion fruit were always good. Papaya is not my favourite so unfair to comment. Many of the set meal type lunches were not only huge but often combined meats ( unneccessarily), such as Gammon and Chicken.
The last time I visited Sri Lanka was 15 years ago before the Tsunami and when the civil war was threatening to ruin tourism. Many things have changed. To start with the Tsunami although a devastating event did open up many lines of altruistic development in the country. People visited and learned what a beautiful people the Sri Lankans are, investment has flooded in and importantly time is a great healer. The end of the civil war also meant that less money and effort was being expended on weopons and death. So what did I find?
The first clear difference is that when arriving at the main airport near Colombo, Bandaranaike International Airport, there are no soldiers lining the avenues that form the entance and exit. The second difference is that there are now 2 international airports. A new one has been built down south at Hambantota.
Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) (also known as the Hambantota International Airport) is an international airport serving the city of Hambantota in southeast Sri Lanka.Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport is Sri Lanka’s second international airport, after Bandaranaike International Airport. It serves as the secondary hubs for Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka. It is named after the Rajapaksa family. It is also the first greenfield airport in the country.
The next set of changes are that a number of motorways have been built, mainly two lane toll motorways. At the moment they seem a bit random but eventually they will join up and make tranportation far easier. The journey time already from Colombo airport to Galle has been reduced from 4.5 hours to around 2.5 hours. The most noticeable change though relates to the people, they weigh more. There was no evidence of the thin malnourished poverty stricken people whom 15 years ago undertook the menial jobs for almost no wages. They have vanished. There were no requests from children for pens or clothes. The schools clearly have also improved in that computers are now present in some.
This is a country on the ascent, a happy country. The people in general are satisfied with their lot. Tourists are asked not to over tip something that can endanger the local economy. The population in 2012 was 20 million and increasing. The modernisation will continue and now may be the time to visit this beautiful country before westernisation takes over.