Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Loving The Lotus Tower

At first I was afraid, I was petrified.

I'm no Rajapaksa fan by any stretch of the imagination, so my first thoughts were wholly negative.
It was / is downright ugly; that hideous green and purple Chinese erection soaring into the Lankan sky.

For some time I've thought that Sri Lankans just don't do subtlety. From the delicious food, chock full of every spice and flavouring known to man, to clothing crammed with more colours and patterns than an accident in a rainbow factory subtlety is just not a fundamental Sri Lankan trait.

The Lotus Tower is the biggest example of this; massive, mutli coloured, flashing lights and, well just everything about it screams for attention. It's so gaudy I suspect even Singaporeans might object to it. Or Americans.

Most cities have a few iconic buildings, the kind that are recognised by people all over the world even if they've never been to the place. In London we've got the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, the Gherkin. New York has the Empire State, the Chrysler Building, the apartment from Friends etc.

Colombo did have its twin towers, which have now been dwarfed by all the new ones coming up and I think the Altair, though residential, will prove to be a bit of an icon. But other than those I feel Colombo, though it has a damn good size portion of gorgeous buildings, has lacked in landmarks.

And the Lotus Tower in all its garishness is starting to change things.

You types who live in Colombo and know your way comfortably around won't appreciate this, but for me, a chap with the sense of direction of a singer without a decent drummer behind him, it's become a bit of a guiding light. Not a guiding light in the way C is to me of course, but a pretty important one nonetheless.

Pretty much wherever I am in Colombo, and parts of Europe, I look up and see the Lotus Tower and can figure out roughly which direction I need to go in. The other day it surprised me by popping into my eyeline as I came into the metropolis on the Expressway. It's there, lurking like a Sri Lankan Mother, permanently watching and making its presence felt but without calling every evening and asking silly questions.

It's still hideous, garish and attention seeking.

And I rather like it.

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