As I sit in the hotel restaurant I would not be at all surprised if Hercule Poirot came in for a leisurely breakfast and to read the paper. Once again I find myself in Sri Lanka, going back for some more yoga and a break away from all the craziness that being at home brings. We decided to spent the first night in an old colonial style hotel called the Galle Face hotel, built in 1864.
It will have seen many a visitor over the years but I can’t help but think the visitors get less grand each year, the fact they let me in is proof enough! Most of the clients are elderly with well developed tans they have been culturing over the years, in many different countries. They wander around the hotel grounds with an air of superiority but to be honest when their sun tan is older than me, they can do what they like.
We get to the pool early, looks like we are first as there isn’t a ripple in the water. The sun beds are set and the towels are laid out ready for inspection, seems a shame to ruin the display but we do.
We manage a few lengths before we are joined by the first golden oldies, they are polite and smile as we swim past. Then an old man with huge burgundy red shorts on hobbles over to the sun beds with his walking stick and places his kit next to ours, of all the free beds, you choose that one!
I smiled a good morning to him and he just stared right through me! He is well prepared for his swim, he has his ear plugs in ready to go, he very slowly lowers himself into the pool backwards and almost causes a tidal wave as he splashes the last bit in. He then started the slowest front crawl I have ever seen. I have no idea how he managed to stay afloat as he slowly smashed his arms into the water one after the other, he didn’t look in danger but I’m not hanging around to find out, I’m off for breakfast.
This is where the old meets new, there is a buffet set which is so elegant you would expect it to be the setting of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. There is a guy stood outside with a catapult, ready to scare away crows that try to disturb the morning peace, another guy has the job of fly zapper at the fruit counter, no word of a lie he has one of those electric tennis rackets that zaps fly’s, and that’s his job. I’m not sure what the hourly rate is for either of these jobs but they don’t seem strenuous.
There are men with cravats but equally men with wife beater tops (vests) and most people are sat chatting away. The common thing amongst everyone, mobile phones, young, old, dressed to impress or dressed for housework, most people have their phones at the table and are scrolling through them. I can’t help but think Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple would not have been impressed.
We take a leisurely breakfast, our every whim pampered to by the eager to please staff, before we go to the room to gather our things. Today we leave this little taste of colonial times and get ready to start the journey back to Yoga Prison once more.
As we leave, I glance over at the pool and notice that the grumpy old dude is still smashing his was through the pool, what he lacks in charisma he makes up for in endurance.
I’ve enjoyed my short stay here in another place in time, now for some rest and recuperation 2020’s style.