Throughout my time in Sri Lanka I noticed some little things that made up my experience and defined my cultural experience there. I’m sure there’s a lot more I encountered but here’s a few on the top of my head!
Don’t be fooled thinking there’s a hotel where you see the sign ‘hotel’. It actually refers to a restaurant or a place selling food. I often saw ‘Muslim hotels’ too which just sell the typical Sri Lankan food. It was common too see places advertising Indian and Chinese food as well but the ‘chinese’ part is literally just referring to either fried rice or noodles (which in fact and funnily enough don’t have any chinese flavouring)
Sometimes I’d be charged odd amounts on buses like 99 rupees or 24 rupees. Why not just make it 100 or 25? They don’t even have 1 rupee coins! Half the time they just give approximate change as well.
Cookies, cookies, cookies are everywhere! It’s like all they sell are cookies!
The ‘pancakes’ are more like crepes rather than the thick, fluffy kind. Although it was one type of Sri Lankan food I liked. Typically they sell them as a snack or you can order them for breakfast too. The pancakes are made with tumeric and they would wrap it up with a sweet mix of shredded coconut and syrup inside.
The Chinese really are everywhere. I stayed at a couple of hostels which turned out to be run by Chinese families. I just found it a bit odd for them to be setting up a guesthouse in certain locations that I wouldn’t think would be attractive to Chinese… Anyhow one of the families taught me how to play Mah-Jong so that was fun!
Travellers around Sri Lanka were mainly Europeans and Russians apparently have claimed the Southern beaches.
Whole grain or wholewheat is very uncommon. I thing ‘Karrukan’ the name for wholemeal.
They don’t have a great sense of timing.. I would get told ‘it’s 10 mins away’, then ask another local and they say ‘oh maybe 15 mins this way’, an this would repeat and I’d end up walking 30-45 mins to a destination that was initially understood to be 10 mins away by foot ==’. Lucky I had data, google is handy to prepare your expectations in these situations!