101 Roti in 14 Days in Sri Lanka

I am sitting in a café in Colombo and a rat just passed underneath my table. The girl at the next table must’ve seen that rat as well, since she just looked up at me with her big, beautiful, brown eyes. I turn to see where the beast has run off to, only to see it’s big tail disappear behind a corner. So this specimen was apparently a little bigger than our little stow away rat Rudolf. I guess every country is special in its own little way, sometimes nice, sometimes not so much.

Let me tell you a little bit about this and also other cafés in Galle. They are basically all the same. The only criteria of a European person for telling two different cafés in Galle apart would probably be the degree of decay of the place. Nevertheless, the food is delicious! Roti with vegetables, Roti with eggs, Roti with chicken, or just plain Roti. These Roti are handy little rolls, a little bit like pancakes rolled up, only made without eggs. So Benni and I are about to enjoy 5 each, all a little different, but all from the afore mentioned categories. Next to the Roti there are two glasses of water, and two cans of coke (since we don’t drink the water), a vast variety of chili and curry sauces, and a napkin holder filled with pieces of old newspaper. This will make two grown sailors full and considering the price of two bucks, also very happy!

Security personnel at the harbor

Full and happy we hop on our little scooter to ride on home to Marianne. The liquor shop closes at 9pm, so no beer for us and Marianne tonight. At the port, an entire armada of bored security officers welcome us. Here, 24 hours a day, five to seven people are employed to professionally do absolutely nothing. Vocational boredom apparently makes you want to be all the more professional. They took their jobs a little too seriously and checked our back packs. “What’s in your back pack?” – “Nothing.” – “No beer or cigarettes?” – “No, all we got today was a rope for our boat.” – “Do you have a permit to bring that in here?” – “No, after all it’s R-O-P-E and not T-N-T.” – “Go to your agent and get permission. Or do you have whisky?” – “No, I’ll go get permission from my agent, ok?”. Five stamped forms and half an hour later, we were allowed to move on to our boat. But without the scooter. We didn’t have a permission slip to bring it with us. After a good 15 minutes of strolling through the docks we finally reach our home, sweet home, and fall into our bunks.

Well-certified jeweler

The next morning we are awakened by unpleasant racket right outside our boat. It’s a skinny old man dressed in white, yelling at our boat, waving a plastic bag at us. Even though he did show sufficiently stamped documents to prove that he is a state-certified jeweler, it still did not change anything about the fact that we simply didn’t have a hundred dollars to buy some of his gold rings with huge diamonds. Try explain that to a poor old man while standing in front of your yacht.

We flee off to have some breakfast, but not without being bossed around by the security. Eventually we get to the café and order the usual. Roti. As explained above, only with coffee instead of coke at this time of day. And at this point, all worries are forgotten: with a good sip of coffee with a view of the waves and the beach, it’s easy to sit back and rela … eeew, gross! I guess I forgot to say “no sugar, no milk” …

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