Today is a quiet day as we make the transfer from Dambulla to Colombo in readiness for the test starting tomorrow. There’s only so much tourist information you can take on board and a visit to a gem company replete with video, mock up of a mine, gem cutters and polishers for our benefit and a wander around the showroom brought the owners no sales.
Things you didn’t know about elephants! They have a running speed of 55 mph over short distance but in straight line. Seems best course of action if being charged by an elephant is to run in a zig zag pattern as elephants can’t do this and to remove your clothing as you do so! Visions of half naked people being chased by elephants is an image I’m trying to erase from my mind. Seemingly no one has thought about the turning circle of an elephant when it runs. So they would be great at the 100m but no good on the bends for any other athletic events. There were many more facts revealed by our tour guide this morning about elephants dwelling on a number of bodily functions, which seems to be a fascination among Sri Lankan’s! So all I can say, if you’re caught by a charging elephant is ‘brace yourself’!
This team of tourists is constant changing and makes for interesting team dynamics. The numbers for the Galle and Kandy test were significant but the lure of other tourist things to do in SL and other nearby exotic locations has its attraction to non cricket mad partners and friends, whilst work commitments or other calls on ones time mean that not everyone can be as fortunate as I in staying for every test. Expectations for tomorrow at the test are for lower numbers and given the state of the series, local interest will possibly diminish even though its a long holiday weekend for some.
The dynamics of the team in the tour group have gone through the forming, norming, storming phases as some are ‘habitual’ tour followers and have met up with ‘old friends’ from previous tours, others join for a while and leave whilst others are staying longer and so forth. It’s all quite fascinating. The group discussions over dinner or breakfast have also changed from the initial pleasantries, past experiences of cricket and life in general, families and friends to the more base type discussion and comments one could have been close friends and family.
For example, I was shocked over dinner last night when a refined lady from the Home Counties (or so I thought) boldly announced that when another diner was having blue cheese for dessert that she could not since her ‘farts in the morning would smell of blue cheese’ – fellow diners collapsed in hysterics. She later informed others in the bar that she and a friend (who had been on the tour and seemed to be similarly refined Home Counties lady) had undertaken a survey of ‘Southern Asian endowments’. I do have the lady’s permission to recount the conversations here! I shall never look at blue cheese the same way ever again!
This shows how the group has turned from a number of disparate individuals and couples into a team where seemingly anything can be discussed and shared in public
Arrival mid afternoon in Colombo confirms all the previous thinking…large city, congestion, noise etc. Quite a change after the peace of Dambulla (if you ignore the elephant safari, rock climbing, and tourist throngs around the temples).
One of THE things to do in Colombo is to have afternoon tea at the Galle Face hotel and to watch the sun set as the piper parades around. The hotel also has a professional bird scarer as the sun sets. He scares away the birds so as not to spoil the view.
As a non-tea drinker, this posed an additional challenge. It seems that afternoon tea (cakes, sandwiches, scones) is served with tea to drink. When I asked for afternoon tea with coffee to drink, this caused a bit of a funk. Coffee is served with cookies, tea with afternoon tea and no crossing over! So the suggestion of afternoon tea but I don’t drink the tea and coffee with no cookies added to the mass hubbub building.
The last organisation I came across with such rigid rules was the Bank of England…so they’re in good company! Eventually my diplomatic skills came to the fore and a negotiated settlement was reached. Afternoon tea with coffee to drink…simples.
In other news…cow dung is antiseptic (not sure about any other animal excreta) and is used for floors and the traffic stops for lizards/water monitors on motorways.
Tomorrow sanity returns at the Test!