The Localist

Seeking solitude in a crowded city


As the sun sets, signaling the end of another day, the scenery that surrounds me is one of the hardest to describe. Galle Face Green* in Colombo is where the hustle and bustle of city life meets the vast Indian Ocean. The result is an enforced serenity that no-one can resist.

No matter how fast paced life is, and how unyielding the demands of our day to day struggles, we cannot force the pace of the sea. The waves will batter the thin strip of beach at the same speed and the gusts of wind will remain unchanged. It is you that will be slowed down; the wind will push against you, the smell of the sea breeze in your nostrils will calm your nerves, and the roaring of the sea will force your heart to beat to its rhythm. The effect of the sea is instantaneous and this is often why I go to Galle Face: To let nature reset my system during times when the world has me trying to run a race that I don’t necessarily want to run.

Before moving to Colombo in search of employment I had spent most of my life in places away from the coast and I never thought that Galle Face would become my go-to place when I was in need of solitude. I am an introvert of sorts and don’t particularly like huge crowds, and yet in this place, which on most days (unless a storm is brewing) is full of all kinds of people – kids running around, owners walking their pets, couples out for an evening stroll, busloads of people on trips singing and drinking – I feel comfortable.

There are also plenty of vendors around selling everything from the famed street food Isso Wadey (which I have only tried once) to kites and ice cream. So you can even grab a bite.

There are many new hangout spots, coffee shops, bars, pubs, walkways etc. that are popping up around Colombo and yet, as far as I am concerned, this strip of beach front remains the best place in the city to end the day with a refreshed mind. Although I am relatively new to Colombo, during the last year or so Galle Face has become my favorite retreat in the city.

*The Galle Face Green is a promenade which stretches for a half kilometre along the coast in the heart of the financial and business district of Colombo, Sri Lanka.



4 Responses to Seeking solitude in a crowded city

  1. hansanie says:

    Love it Thilnina!


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