It seems fitting and appropriate, though a good Thesaurus will probably tell you that the two words have the same meaning, that I write the last post of the noughties while sitting in the garden cafe at Barefoot. It's almost 2PM and the place is buzzing with people; a wealthy mix of tourists and Sri Lankans who have returned for the festive season. There is of course the traditional white bloke in a sarong, going through the whole trying to look cool and relaxed whilst desperately hoping it stays up thing.
I've been doing all sorts of things. I had my first ever trip to the Dutch Burgher Union the other day, for a wedding reception. It was a blast, with C putting in a rare appearance in a rather short and head turning dress. Dominic Sansoni, who more or less runs the DBU singlehandedly, was startled by the sight of C's legs so much that he was thinking of changing the constitution to include a minimum dress length for women.
The morning event saw yours truly cut a rather elegant dash in a very British suit and tie. I felt like a twat in the heat, every sensible chap wore a loose fitting shirt and nice airy trousers while I roasted so much that at one point I nearly loosened my tie and undid the top button. I maintained my dignity though, as I felt as if I was representing the Brits and needed to show some stiff upper lip stuff.
It's my first time ever in Sri Lanka during the Christmas season and I'm observing and absorbing as much of the detail as I can. I'm amazed at the heaviness of the decorations everywhere, that certain lack of subtlety looms large in the Sri Lankan approach to Christmas trees and lights. The outside of my hotel, the one on the lake, looks like the result of a traffic accident involving the Hi!! magazine graphics designer and a huge truck on its way out of the white light bulb factory.
The buzz around what people are going to do tonight is tangible and mounting. Every hotel and venue is getting ready, putting up stages and decorations and getting staff and fixtures in place for the big night. I've wanted to experience a 31st night here for years and finally get to do it. Mine and C's choice is to head over to this thing at Park Street Mews. It's a bash with bands, DJs, dinner, breakfast and a good crowd of friends, so should be fun with a capital g.
There are more stories to tell, particularly the tale of Java and the missing crisps, but time has got the better of me and I'll leave you with wishes for a good New Year, whatever you're doing in whichever country.
Somewhere in Kingston there's a sixteen year old having a few friends round to her Dad's apartment while he holidays in Sri Lanka. You've got to wish that Dad a lot of luck haven't you!!
See you in the next decade.
In Conversation: SURESH DE SILVA
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