Sam Bowker: The Grand Tour Diary (2005 - 2006)

This is the archived journal of a 2005-2006 'Grand Tour' around the Eastern Mediterranean and along East Africa, written by Sam Bowker, whilst in search of his PhD topic.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Sri Lanka - Colombo Airport

Dedicated to Bob and Jenny, for making the Sri Lanka trip possible

I am writing this from the Business Class Lounge in Colombo airport. It is very luxurious - all manner of free drinks on tap, the best internet access I have seen in weeks, plenty of good food to admire or eat, and an excellent view out over the assembled aircraft.

However, it is about 2am, and my flight doesn't leave for Dubai until 3.15am. I also had never intended to be travelling Business Class, as "I am a poor Arts student" has been a mantra for several years now, but this was the only flight available.

Not that I'm complaining.

The last few hours have been spent at the dinner with the Australian High Commissioner's residence in Colombo (Greg French). It was a brilliant way to cap off a week of luxury before starting the next few months in the cheapest, bedbug-infested, scratty hovels that I can wave a Turkish lira at. The food was a superb Sri Lankan mixed rice and curry, with less heat than usual and more emphasis on aromatic qualities. The dessert fruits included a mangosteen, which I had been keen to try since arriving in Sri Lanka but never had the opportunity. They look like orange-shaped eggplants, with rambutan-like fruit that tastes somewhere between mango and peach. It was capped off with an excellent Australian botryis from 1998, De Bolis I think, that Greg said was one of only five wines to receive the five gold star rating in the most recent Australian Wine Guide.

Two of the nine guests were John Shortis and Moyra Simpson, of the satrical Australian duo "Shortis and Simpson". They were very interesting people, discussing Bulgarian folk music and the variable concept of Cabaret in Europe, and treated us to a performance of a PC version of "Waltzing Matilda". Greg and Bianca's young bub Jonathan was seriously cute and impeccably well behaved for a six-week old.

But now, I am actually going to follow through the promise I made a few days ago, and send the two final summaries of the Sri Lankan leg of the Grand Tour.

It has been fantastic.

All the best,


  • At Friday, September 02, 2005 10:36:00 am, Anonymous Charlie said…

    Cabaret in Europe? You've got to be kidding??? I'll have to inform my muso friends that they are trying to take Jazz to Europe.. funny stuff.
    I so want a 'mangosteen' now... they sound awesome... but somehow I don't think it will last 4 1/4 months and a few custom officers! I'm about to head off to Camp Diversity, fun for all!! Its a pirate theme this year! Anywho, keep rocking it out over there!
    P.S: I am a poor student should be one of those phrases the make you learn in every language. The other bring: My friend will pay...


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