Public displays of affection between the opposite sex is taboo is Sri Lanka. However Galle Face Green (GFG) is one place where the sight of couples publicly snuggling up, often under large colorful umbrellas, is not only tolerated, but, one could venture to say, a tradition.
It was our first afternoon in the capital and strolling along to catch afternoon tea at the Galle Face Hotel we were delighted to see that the tradition continues. Along with the flying of kites and the hawking of tasty snacks including fresh pickles of olives, green mangoes, guavas and the unforgettable Ambrella (Spondias cytherea) (and not to be confused with the smooching protectors) as well as vades (deep fried lentil cakes with prawns on top).
Although still popular with families, GFG is by and large a place for the youth and we were fortunate to be entertained by a group of young men singing and dancing baila to the accompaniment of a bongo style drum. A popular dance music genre that evolved in bygone mixed Portuguese, African and Singhalese communities, the comical lyrics and 6/8 time of contemporary baila is often heard at parties and other gatherings.
Take the time to promenade. It is highly recommended.More