Colombo has had its fair share of urban parks, and there's more in the making. The most recent one of this throng would be the Galle Face Urban Forest Park.
But there's only one ocean-side urban park – the Galle Face Green.
For many of us Colombars, it's the go-to place for a breath of fresh sea breeze, to feel the grainy sands between the toes, to watch the gorgeous sunset views, and if nothing else, to have a crunchy isso vadey or two. In fact, this whole area represents a tiny fraction of Sri Lanka's street food culture.
All in all, it's a source of entertainment, relaxation and peace.
The COVID-19 pandemic broke off in Sri Lanka almost a year ago, changing the lifestyle and livelihood of everyone. The first lockdown stood firm for about two/three months straight, which left the streets and public places empty.
Image source: dailymirror.lk
During this time, the Galle Face Green had a makeover, with a wonderful green hue to the grass.
But what about now? Has it turned brown? Is it still crowded like the pre-COVID era? Are the isso vadey still good?
To seek answers for the above, we decided to pay a visit to the Galle Face Green, on a Sunday evening.
So, Has Anything Changed?
No, not really!
From vendors selling bubble blowers, kites, and glow-in-the-dark toys to isso vadey carts, Nana's, bombai muttai and sarawita, we spotted nothing out of the ordinary here. And despite the pandemic, crowds seem to be flocking in.
We noticed a heap of people having picnics with their families on the ground. Another horde hovers around the isso vadey carts and Nana's, some play football, and the rest hang out down the beach. Much like the old times.
The only difference is people wearing masks – well, some of them. Certain food vendors seem to avoid it due to the heat in the kitchen/cooking area, and some people too, for no particular reason.
Oh, the isso vadeys! Once glorious isso vadeys don't seem to have the good old flavour anymore. The base tasted like plain flour, rather than parippu (dal). On the good side, the prawns were still fat, and there are more varieties of vadey and snacks now.
If you want to steer clear of the usual street food kinds and sit down for a proper meal, you can always check out the Breeze Barracuda. They're a sister restaurant to the ever so popular Barracuda, and offer some good Hot Butter Cuttlefish, and good vibes.
The grass is back to brown, and the garbage has returned to the ground, despite the large trash cans installed all over the place.
It's the same old Galle Face Green, with people, street snacks, beach, breeze, sunsets and garbage. Amid the pandemic, it functions as usual, which is a good thing. However, we highly suggest adhering to the proper COVID-19 health guidelines, especially if you're visiting here on a weekend.