Saturday is for Shopping

Because there was leftover stoup from yesterday, Fahim decided we were going to have it for breakfast. A little unusual for me, eating stoup for breakfast, but whatever. It was good anyway.

Fahim went into work for a couple of hours. He said he was going for fifteen minutes, which was why he didn’t think it was worth it for me to come along, but he ended up having problems and stayed for a lot longer.

When he finally got back, it was time to go shopping. Today, we had a few things on the list of things we had to get. Sofa set was one. Yes, we’re still sitting on mats on the floor. Fahim finds it comfortable, but he’s also comfortable sleeping on the floor without a mattress. My little tushie, on the other hand, requires padding and back support and oh, little insignificant details like that. So he finally broke down and agreed that yes, today, we’ll get a sofa set.

See, here, they’re not called couches or chesterfields. They’re sofas. And you can’t buy a sofa. You can only get a sofa set. Fine.

The first place we stopped at was a discount furniture place. The only set that was in our price range was kinda ugly. It was wooden and only where the butt meets the sofa was there padding – about one inch thick, of what I consider an ugly plaid, which was pink, orange, blue, green, and a few more other colors. I don’t have anything against the individual colors in the plaid – just against how they were all put together like that.

Next we went to downtown Colombo to Plaza Mall – or something like that.

On the way, on one of the main streets, I see a sign. It reads "SPORTING TIMES TURF ACCOUNTANTS". This is not the first time I’ve seen the sign – they’re fairly common here – but it is the first time I’ve photographed it.

When I first saw them, I asked Fahim what it meant, and he said "Bookie". Here, betting on races or anything, for that matter, is fairly common and very legal. They don’t have bets just for local events – oh, no. They’ll bet on races from all over the world.

Back to the mall. It’s on the same block as Immigration. That’s where Deeno, Fahim’s beautiful female friend who’s into girlie stuff (the nails on that girl – my goodness! I assumed they were fake because I didn’t think it was possible to have natural nails that long, strong, and in perfect condition, but no, they’re real, she says. Wow! But then, she also admits that she does nothing. As in, no work, no housework, no cleaning, nothing. Ah, that’s the life.), told us to go to get things like hair color and other such girlie things. We looked around, but there were no obvious places to find hair color. We finally went into a store that sold other obviously female things – upscale cosmetics and facial products – and they sent us to another store. We went to that store, they didn’t have hair color either, but they sent us to another store, La Perfumerie. I had dismissed La Perfumerie completely out of hand as a place to get hair color. Well, let’s think about it. La Perfumerie. They sell perfume. Looking in the windows, all the displays show upscale perfume. Why would I think they’d have hair color?

But we went in anyway, hoping they’d be able to point us to where we could get some. They had it.

They had a brand I’ve used extensively, but not my shades. They had a total of about twelve color choices for that brand whereas in Canada, there are maybe 50 or 60. I picked the closest – Ruby Red – because it looked pretty similar in color to what I have been using in the past. 600 Rupees per box. I have to get two. My hair is too thick to survive on one. My hair passed the one box threshold about five inches ago. In another couple more inches, I’ll pass the two box threshold into the three box area. Yeah, I know, you think I’m silly to complain, but it’s true, thick hair can be a pain sometimes.

Fahim now thinks I should cut my hair. He loves it long, would love to see it longer, but at that price? He wants it short. Fahim is fickle.

I also ask about a pumice stone. Too much information? Too bad. You don’t have to read my blog if you don’t want to. 🙂 They don’t have any, but they think the Food City in the mall will. Same goes for Aloe Vera Gel. So we head to Food City.

This Food City has a wider variety of North American/European products – ie cheeses. They’ve got more than a dozen or so varieties of cheeses. Our local Food City has maybe three. That’s the first thing we see when we walk in the door.

We look around, and yes, I finally found a pumice stone, or at least, what’s advertised as a pumice stone. It isn’t a real pumice stone, but it serves the same purpose, so whatever. I’ll live with it. It’s one of those harsh stick foamie things that wears out as you use it. The females in the crowd will mostly know what I’m talking about. Men, of course, will remain clueless. 🙂

But I digress.

Aloe Vera Gel, on the other hand, continues to be elusive. I’m probably going to ask Jane to buy a bottle and ship it to me.

We also stop at Bata on the way out. Fahim pronounces it Barta, and I don’t understand what he’s saying until I see the sign.

Yes, he’s my husband, and I still don’t completely get his accent. Oh woe is me.

Our floors are dirty, and even though I’m cleaning them a patch at a time, well, dirt and sand find their way in, and given that the floors are tile, everything’s on the surface, so walking around in bare feet also means our feet get dirty, so I want indoor shoes or slippers, and we decide to get flip flops.

Flip flops. They have an actual official name, or at least they used to, but heck if I can remember what it is. Whatever.

Here, a lot of people wear flip flops. I mean, literally, walking down the street, a lot of people are wearing cheap flip flops as ordinary shoes. Women generally speaking wear sandals. Some fancy sandals, some not so fancy, some cheap, some obviously expensive, but almost all wear sandals. The sandals here are barely there sandals, not sturdy Teva types (although that’s what I’m wearing), but dainty, delicate type. But they’re all wearing sandals. Men – well, it depends on what they’re wearing. Saronged men typically wear flip flops. Men in pants, whether jeans or dress pants, a lot still wear sandals – open heel, flip flop style, but better quality. But yeah, sandals and flip flops.

Bata. They’re everywhere. They seem to be the one chain store for shoes that’s alive and well in Sri Lanka. I’ve seen wackloads of Bata stores. So we look around inside Bata. Fahim is allergic to rubber, so he gets decent ones that are way more comfortable. I get a pair of the cheap rubber flip flops. I get mine off the men’s rack, but honestly, it’s not common among Sri Lankan women (think Asian sized) to have North American size 10 women’s feet. I had this problem in Canada as well until I was around 18 or so – big shoes were just not available for women. I had to wear men’s running shoes back then – it was all that was available in running shoes for my size of feet.

I digress so easily, don’t I?

We get our flip flops and go.

We head to the black market money changers, but there’s a furniture store on the way and Fahim hastily tells our trishaw driver to stop. We go in and are greeted by a friendly salesperson and nice cool air conditioned air. Yum. I could stay there all day.

We look at the furniture, and this is way better than what was at the discount furniture place. For only a few thousand rupees more, we can buy a sofa set in leatherette (okay, it’s probably not called leatherette, but it’s a leather imitation and I don’t know their official name for it) that’s way way way more comfortable and much prettier. I want the set with the sofa, love seat, and chair, Fahim says no. So we decide on a set that has a sofa and two chairs. In blue. Fahim wanted black, I vetoed and voted on blue. We ask about delivery and he tells us that yes, it can be delivered today. Or at least, that’s what Fahim thought he said. Me, well, it was in Sinhalese, so I don’t have a clue.

We tell the salesman that we’ll be back in an hour to buy it. Fahim then comments that he forgot about this store – it’s a chain and there’s one closer to where we live, but oh well. We’re here now anyway.

Next stop is the black market money changers.

On the way, we drive on a road that runs parallel to the Indian Ocean. We don’t stop – we have a lot to do – but our trishaw driver does slow down enough that I manage to get some decent pictures. Yes, I know, an ocean is an ocean is an ocean is an ocean. Whatever. It’s still another ocean added to my list. This makes three that I’ve seen, although I’m still sitting at two that I’ve been in. (Pacific, Atlantic, and now Indian, in case you hadn’t figured it out already.) And this is a pic of the old parliament building. And here’s the high class hotel row.

We have US, Hong Kong, and Canadian money we’d like to change. Banks here don’t do that, only money changers will. The legal money changers, though, wouldn’t take the Canadian money, would take only the Hong Kong Bank bills but not the Bank of China bills – even though in Hong Kong they’re interchangeable, and wouldn’t take the US money for bills of less than $100 in denomination. The black market money changers, though, will take it all. Fahim doesn’t want me to come along because he won’t get as much money. I suspected he’d say that.

Our trishaw driver parks in front of the Sri Lankan crafts guild. It has an official name that I don’t remember right now, and frankly, neither does Fahim, so that’s the one we’ll go with. Our trishaw driver, Mervin (although I’m still very comfortable in saying that that isn’t at all how he spells his name, but that’s the closest to what it sounds like, so that’s what I’m going with), has driven us both around many times. He’s a good driver, is fairly priced, and knows where we live, where Fahim works, and he knows where the church is. All the important things in my life. Plus he speaks decent enough English that I mostly understand him.

Fahim takes off for the money changers, and I’m sitting in the trishaw. Mervin points at the crafts guild and tells me to go in. Okay, it takes longer than that for me to understand what he’s saying, but finally I get it, and I go.

I go through the main doors in front of me. It’s huge and it has everything. It’s set up with individually manned counters or areas. There are brass oil lamps – up to six feet high. There are silver objects, gold objects, brass objects, most of which I don’t have a clue are for. There are baskets and wickerware and carvings, statues, masks, oh my goodness, there is a whole heck of a lot of stuff. It’s seriously huge – as in, oh, about the size of a Canadian Safeway. For Sri Lanka? Huge. This is the biggest store I’ve been in. There’s a counter with tea – mostly black Sri Lankan tea, which is, after all, the best in the world, but they also have herbal tea – the biggest selection of herbal tea I’ve seen in this country yet. When I next come shopping in downtown Colombo, I’ll come here and pick up some herbal tea.

I poke my head out, and Mervin shakes his head. Fahim’s not back yet. Well, Mervin also knows where I am, so if Fahim gets back and I’m still looking, at least Fahim will know where to look for me.

Before, I went in the main doors front and centre. There’s also doors on either side. A door to the right is a jewellery shop, a door to the left has fabric items – sarongs, saris, tablecloths, wall hangings, you name it. A lot of it is beautiful, and some of it you’d never catch me dead in, but people have different tastes, so no biggie. I browse around for a few minutes, poking my head out every now and then to see if Fahim is back yet. He isn’t so I keep browsing. People keep wanting to sell me things, and can I blame them? It is a store, after all, and they are in business to make money, but I’m just looking, wasting time until Fahim is done, but they don’t know this.

Fahim’s finally done and we leave. The US dollar is down, so we get less money that we’d hoped for, but they took everything – the small US bills, the Canadian money, the Bank of China money, so we’re still happy.

We head back to the furniture store and we’re escorted to a desk and we’re invited to sit down. Fahim gives them our name and address and the salesman (okay, he’s barely a man. He looks like 14 – but a lot of Asians look way younger than they actually are, so it’s really hard to tell.) starts filling out the paperwork. Meanwhile, another prepubescent looking male approaches us with two drinks on a silver tray. We accept them, and Fahim comments to me about how it’s because of me that we’re being served drinks. Really? He says, well, look around. Do you see anyone else being served drinks? I comment that we’re the only ones actually in the process of paying. Everyone else is looking around. He says, I’ve bought stuff here before and I never got drinks. Although it wasn’t this dollar value of stuff. Then he stops talking about it. Maybe he doesn’t have a point, maybe he does. We’ll never know. But it is curious.

We’re now told that we’ll get our furniture tomorrow, Sunday. Fahim tells the salesman it has to be after twelve. Okay, no problem. We’re done, we’ve given them copious amounts of money (26,965 Rupees), and we go home.

Author: LMAshton
Howdy! I'm a beginner artist, hobbyist photographer, kitchen witch, wanderer by nature, and hermit introvert. This is my blog feed. You can find my fediverse posts at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.