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June 11, 2014
After a week of non-stop traveling and adventures, this was a day to do the opposite. Our only mission was to find clothes for me for the upcoming wedding of Kim’s friend Sarmi (since I didn’t bring any wedding attire with me), and we barely managed to pull that off.
Finding a shirt turned out to be a cinch. Just up the street from our guesthouse was Odel, a nice local fashion store. The clothes were all Western fashion and quality, at prices well below that. I ended up getting a nice linen dress shirt for $20. Jeans and pants were being sold for the same price, but they fit me like jockey pants. Not even close.
Indeed, finding pants was more problematic. We first tried a couple of wedding clothing stores that specialized in rentals. In both cases they looked at me, got worried looks on their faces, and said “no way” as nicely as possible. Apparently Sri Lankans don’t come in my size.
We then tried a couple of other clothing stores, but nothing doing there either, which left us with but one option: custom tailoring. It was already the afternoon of the day before the wedding ceremony the next morning, so our hopes were not high. To our amazement, the tailor at a little hole-in-the wall shop along Galle Road said he could create some pants to me within four hours for the premium price of 1800 rupees, or $15. With that, we had a deal. Amazing.
The last touch was shoes, which also took some looking. Finally, we went to a Bata, where the lady said she had only one pair my size in the whole store. Brown leather dress shoes. Cost: 1950 rupees, or $16.
For a total of $51 I’d purchased myself a brand new ensemble for the wedding. Exito. We splurged on a 440-rupee ($3.50) dinner at a local place to celebrate.
- If you’re short on time or long on money, check out helitours.lk for reasonably cheap flights within Sri Lanka. Flights from Colombo to Trinco were only 4600 rupees one way, which we definitely would have gone for except for that the schedules didn’t work with our timings.
- If you need clothes, buy them in Sri Lanka. The prices at even the swankiest-looking stores were at least one-third of what they would be in the West.
- If you get anything tailored, try to find a picture with an example of the style you want. If not, you’re at risk of getting high-crotched old-man style pants like I did.
- Someone could make a decent living selling small creamers in Sri Lanka. The ones here are at least 100ml, which at least for our tastes is completely unnecessary. The guesthouses invariably fill them up all the way with steamed milk/cream, from which we take only a few drops each. Save on milk and get smaller creamers.
- One pair of underwear I hand washed thoroughly with the hotel soap but didn’t rinse enough ended up smelling exactly like raclette cheese. Does this reflect poorly on the smell of raclette cheese, or on my ability to hand wash underwear? Rest assured, I re-washed the undies to be safe and they smelled better the second time. More like cheddar.