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Mount Lavinia a tourist resort once upon a time

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 11 April 2019 00:00



By Elmo De Silva 

Now one cannot step out one’s car without treading on some betel spit or dog poo. Betel spit is splattered everywhere. At one stage the vicinity of the market was painted with betel spit. Foreign tourists are seen dodging the spit and the poo. Despite the law prohibiting the heaping of garbage on the road, this is done with impunity. There are abandoned dilapidated buildings into which garbage is thrown emanating a nauseating smell. 

The pavements are in such disrepair that people trip over the rubble. The market has not seen paint for ages. There is no proper bus stand to accommodate all the buses that ply from Mount Lavinia. The outlets from the surface drains to the underground drainage system have a protective grill, but since these are made of steel these are removed for smelting and use in what are called the Iron Works. The result of the removal of these grills is that car wheels fall into these open ruts and one has to plead with passersby to get the car out of the ruts.

On 27 March I met an elderly tourist couple from Yorkshire, United Kingdom, at a supermarket in Mount Lavinia. In the conversation I had with them, they said that what they feared most was tripping when walking on the broken Mount Lavinia pavements or injuring them by hitting against the rubble that is on the broken pavements.

The Mount Lavinia Hotel is situated in one of the most splendorous spots in Sri Lanka, which is on a promontory projecting into the sea, with a view of the sea front right up to Colombo. Was this not the place that Governor Maitland had a love affair with the beautiful Lovinia Aponsuwa? Half a kilometre for this beautiful place is the Mount Lavinia town which is a filthy hell hole.

This state of the town does not seem to concern the Tourist Board, the many hotel owners in the area or the Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia Municipality. As usual in Sri Lanka no one sees dirt, filth and dilapidation. And who cares? I wonder what the situation is in other so called tourist spots, when one moves away from the luxury hotels. 

Is the Mount Lavinia town a tourist resort or a filthy hell hole? Is this how the Tourist Board promotes tourism?

Pix by Shanta De Silva 

(The writer could be contacted via email at elmodesilva6@gmail.com.)

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