Discovering Colombo – Part 1

If I had to describe Colombo using the fashion vocabulary, I would say that the city style is Hi-Lo – a trend consolidated in the break of this millennium, with its cool outfits assembled as a mix of high-end fashion and low price pieces, high and low.

I’m starting this series of posts about my findings in Colombo from what first appealed to me but, probably, will make more sense for those who stay at the city in the end of their Sri Lankan trip. My case is peculiar because I arrived there after a long time apart from any urban lifestyle – although the country’s exoticism remains impregnated in the city.

So, imagine the hustle and bustle of an area full of street vendors and traffic just a few meters from modern office towers, 5 star hotels and fancy restaurants. Bringing back my “fashionary”, I would compare the contrast with a print crash: oriental and occidental, flea market and luxury shop, Tuk-Tuks and SUVs, grey suits and colourful sarees, historic buildings and razed sidewalks… harmoniously unmatched.

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To be honest, it took me some time to figure this out. Especially since my brain was sizzling in such high temperature. Only when I found myself on aircon zone – pampered with a facial treatment –  I fashioned a better idea about what I had witnessed till then.

That first contact with the city made me realize how I missed civilization as we know it: cafes, shops, movie theatres and (why not?) beauty parlours. After spending a lot of time barefoot and messy haired – tiresome hopping around the island – would you refuse some futile treat? I’m sure many travellers would feel as excited as me, even in denial. That’s why my list of findings in Colombo starts with something that everybody loves but just a few dared to ask me:

Where to indulge and rescue “la beauté” with no major cultural shock?

– Depilation: At the Honey Pot the professionals get you waxed the way Brazilians like, carefully as my country’s services would be – with very honest prices.

– Manicure and Pedicure: Look for the OPI salon inside Crescat Boulevard or Nail Anatomy. You will find cheaper services at Roots, in Liberty Plaza, but their techniques are a bit less refined

– Hair and Eyebrows: The city offers a good range of beauty parlours but a successful experience will depend on the professional dealing with you. Risks can be reduced if you choose a blow dry or eyebrow threading. These procedures are largely performed on the exigent local women. They are known for the well maintained hair – always impeccable even in the hot weather – and perfect eyebrows gently shaped with the traditional method.

– Massages: After the long stroll on this tropical heat, find some Foot Comfort shop to get your circulation back on track. If possible ($$$), set an appointment at Spa Ceylon – the famous Sri Lankan chain where I tasted two paradisiac beauty rituals. If you don’t mind having some audience, relax with the skilled blind massage therapists in their kiosk at the Good Market.

This post also follows a hi-lo concept. By presenting luxury yet affordable suggestions, I hope that everyone can rejuvenate and return to civilization in style.

Xoxo, Prats.

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