Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pettah Surprise

On my first day out to Colombo by myself, I wanted to find inspiration for my home decorating project.  Instead of going by the stores route, I had this “brilliant idea” of checking out museums instead.  You see our design inspiration was Colonial Zen – a mix of British Colonial décor for tropical and wedded east and west designs with a touch of modernity in Zen style.  To take in a British Colonial feel, I thought of taking one of Lonely Planet’s suggestions: the Dutch Period Museum.  The description was promising: “This unique museum was originally the 17th-century residence of the Dutch governor… the well-restored mansion contains a lovely garden courtyard.  Exhibits include Dutch colonial furniture and other colonial artifacts (Atkinson, Butler, Gelber & Kohn, 2009).”  I was excited!

The journey was a bit intriguing as it took me all the way to Pettah.  The streets were small, narrow and not exactly for the use of cars.  But it felt so alive and very busy.  You can see all kinds of merchandise – from appliances to fabrics to local delicacies.  Think Quiapo only Sri Lankan.  It was awesome but by the sight of things, there was already a big shadow of doubt that I would find this “unique museum” Lonely Planet was raving about.  Yet I was able to find it, tucked in Prince Street.

The description was the total opposite of what I saw.  It was not exactly a well-restored mansion.  The house was dark and I didn’t even know if the stairs were safe to take!  The colonial furnitures were just scattered about.  It didn’t even have any helpful descriptions or arranged with an interesting story to tell.  They didn’t say that one of the other colonial artifacts were tombstones – and I don’t think they were empty.  Yes there was a garden courtyard but it was normal nothing really lovely about it.  Imagine the frustration!  Definitely not inspiring.

But such is life.  Ok, it didn’t meet expectations but it was quite an experience nonetheless.  That Colombo is not only made up of chill out veranda cafes (check out Welcome to Paradise Road for one) but life is thriving in many different colors, sounds, small roads and smells.  Once before I promised myself that if I didn’t get what I want I won’t mope like I did when I was 5 on a trip to Hong Kong’s Ocean Park and was forbidden to take the roller coaster (height requirement, fail).  You just lose out on life’s little surprises.  So I decided to just take in the view – at least I know now where to source a plethora of stuff and boast to locals that yeah, I’ve been to Pettah.  Plus it is an interesting story to tell hubby when he gets home!    


  1. I enjoyed buying things from Pettah to the horror of my Sri Lankan friends ha ha ha

  2. Yeah Ananta-Ma! I got that from you :-) I miss you!

  3. Tita Leah! Yeah, Pettah is crazy! But I like the vibe! Will tag hubby there one of these days!


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