Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thoughts From A Stormy City

It's about four months since my last visit and it feels good to be back. Even in those four months there's a noticeable increase in prices, prices of just about everything. I wonder about this, on one hand it's good for the country, on the other it's not good for the people, the ones who have to pay the prices.

I was talking to an intelligent lady about profit the other day, about people being driven by it, by the pursuit of profit above all else. What do you think? Is it a stage that many go through, only to grow out of it with age and discover the joy of other more meaningful values? Or is it a sad sign of the times and the world we live in today?

As I write this rain and thunder lashes Colombo with that warmth and wetness that we just don't get in England. I'm looking over the city's skyline, from ten storeys up, and can see the sights and hear the sounds of the city. There's the continual horning, the splash of tyres on wet road and the distinctive two cylinder engined sound of the tuk tuks as they go about their business. Why do they call them Tuk tuks anyhow?

It's funny how rain affects the lives of people here so differently to in London. Here it's wet and it impacts the infrastructure much more, but the temperature means people don't feel physical discomfort so much. In the UK the rain is cold as well as being wet, but people wrap up more and go about their business. I guess a lot of that's to do with prevailing conditions and what have you.

I was talking to a Dane the other day and comparing British winters with the Danish versions. I told her that it's all a bit shit in England when it snows, whereas in Danmark they're geared up for it and things continue more or less as normal, just with snow as a backdrop. It's the same sort of thing I suppose.

This week I've been wearing a lot of Paul Smith, just saying. And Superdry of course.

I've been pondering on the missing "the". And how Sri Lankan English omits the word from everyday use so frequently. People here "go to office" instead of "the office" and have many other situations in which the "the" has gone missing. Why? Where is it? I suspect there may be a stockpile of them, probably somewhere on the way to the airport there.

That's it really, I'm sure I'll see you around in the next few days.


Jack Point said...

October is about the rainiest month there is, at least to my mind.

They started rather late, though, it should finish in week or two.

How are high prices good for the country? It does not necessarily translate to higher profits. High taxes have something to do with it as well as loose monetary policy.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

JP - Well I'm no economist but I think that the high prices in SL, the large volumes of tourists, compared to a few years ago, are good in terms of the economy and the foreign currency coming into the country. Of course you're correct in saying that it doesn't necessarily translate into higher profit, but there are lots of positives.

There are also some negatives, those I don't like. And I seriously wonder whether all this is good or bad. Time will tell I'm sure.

Hope you're well.

Jack Point said...

Sorry I misunderstood. I thought you were referring to prices of food and daily necessities, not hotel rates.

There are quite a few 'special offers' around, because things are not going as well as they hoped so you may be lucky, just shop around and see. When calling for rates ask if they have any special offers or local rates.

Marc said...

RD enjoy yet another sojourn to the motherland...envious !
I think prices are usually a reflection of market forces...the more demand the higher the prices. Before the end of the war 5 star hotel rooms were commonly available for US$50. Now with the same number of rooms available and more tourists the prices have naturally increased.
As for the prices of necessities such as food etc. I think inflation has a large role to play in their price rises..

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Marc - I agree with you about market forces, hence my feelings about the positives. However 5 star hotels in CMB now have a minimum rate of $110 compared with the $50 that I used to pay a few years ago, and that increase is an example I feel of something that cannot be justified.

Market forces in these things have an effect, but I think there's an artificialness to the increased too, and there will be a rebound.

Marc said...

RD are the hotels near full capacity at $110 ? It might be time to invest in an an apartment in Colombo then :)

Bimal said...

I think they call them tuk tuks because of that distinct sound they make when idling.... but that phrase is more Indian than Sri Lankan. We call them trishaws, three-wheelers or just plain "wheelers" down here.

Anonymous said...

agree with you about the rain. i miss the sound of the heavy pebble like rains drops...