When my brother wrote to ask me to “look after two good friends while they are in Colombo for the first time,” I didn’t know what to do with them for the two nights that they would be in town since I would be busy. The only thing I could think of was recommending a good restaurant to them, until I remembered the much talked about EXPLORE SRI LANKA’S “Colombo by Night” programme. So I bought two tickets (US $12.95 each) from a travel agent and let “Colombo by Night” do the rest.
However, the next morning before seeing these people off on their holiday along the south coast, I wasn’t prepared for the enthusiastic reaction I got from them about their previous night’s experience. As we headed for the train station, they told me all about it, and I can understand why they were so pleased. A luxury air-conditioned coach collected them from their hotel and took them to one of the city’s finest five-star hotels, the Ramada Renaissance, where they were welcomed with a drink by the poolside. They viewed a slide presentation focusing on many of the interesting features of Sri Lanka, after which came a cultural show by the well-known Sri Lanka National Dance Troupe. My brother’s friends were quite effusive in their praise for the Troupe’s skilful and colourful performance of different dance styles which they had never been exposed to before. They equally praised the delicious buffet that they then enjoyed. According to them, the dinner was superb and offered them a wide choice of not only a variety of Continental and Eastern dishes but also, which they particularly appreciated, a sampling of Sri Lankan specialities.
Following dinner, they were escorted on a tour of the city that ended at the Colombo 2000 discotheque in another five-star hotel, the Galadari Meridien, where they sipped a welcome drink before joining the crowd on the strobe-lit dance floor.
As much as they enjoyed the dancing, they managed to pull themselves away to be taken finally to an elegant casino-the Palm Beach Club in the heart of the City. There, much to their delight, they received not only a warm welcome but also Rs. 500 in free play coupons to try their luck at the tables. They were shown to the gaming area and the accommodating staff explained the basics of play at the different games, since my brother’s friends had not been in a casino previously. Moreover, they said, the attentive staff kept them amply supplied with whatever they wanted to have from the extensive drinks menu and assorted snacks, which were all “on the house”. They ended up coming away with some winnings to remember the evening by, before being returned to their hotel in a chauffeur-driven car. They couldn’t thank me enough for having treated them to such a pleasurable evening. In fact, they were so impressed that on their return to Colombo they spent their last evening here by once again going on the “Colombo by Night” programme. Only this time, they bought their own tickets, and one for me as well. If you would also like to purchase tickets for “Colombo by Night”, contact your travel agent, the “Colombo by Night” desk in the Ramada lobby or EXLORE SRI lANKA at 574930/574931. For only $12/95 you too can enjoy an entire evening of entertainment out and about in Colombo. The programme is held nightly except Mondays, Thursdays and Full Moon Poya Days.