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Cocktails in Colombo

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Neglected colonial era buildings have been converted into stunning boutique restaurants and arcades – this is a former mental hospital at Independence Square

My most enduring memory of the recently concluded civil war in Sri Lanka is of the checkpoints which dotted the roads. Armed soldiers stood behind piles of sandbags designed to mitigate the impact of suicide bombs, while others checked vehicles and the identities of its occupants. It’s not the sort of thing that encouraged tourism! This being Sri Lanka incongruities abounded. The military checkpoints around Colombo were all sponsored by hotel chains and manufacturers of consumer products. I must have missed the business school marketing class on military checkpoints and brand association! The drivers are notoriously bad in Sri Lanka so the fully camouflaged personnel checking vehicles wore day-glo safety vests. It must be tough choosing between guerrilla sniper fire…

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