Another slight disappointment.

Trip Start Jan 08, 2014
1
23
36
Trip End Apr 09, 2014


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What I did
Dutch Period Museum

Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Sunday, February 16, 2014

After that little debacle with the rip-off I described in my last post, it was time to head for the next "tourist site", the Dutch Period Museum.  The Dutch were in Sri Lanka for a very long period of time and I was talking to a delightful chap a few days ago who told me his name which obviously identified him as being what are, to this day, known as "burghers".  I was a bit hesitant to use the term as I was unsure, in these post-colonial times, of what connotations it carried.  He beamed and said that yes, he was a burgher, and even seemed quite pleased that I would even know what that was.  Back to the Museum. 

After a small interlude where I felt someone was trying to open my backpack and scaring the living daylights out of him (including taking a photo, staring him out from a height advantage of at least a foot, saying "No" at him  several times in a very low voice and using the word "police" repeatedly) he retreated.  I know that at least one or two of my readers will understand the significance of this.

I should explain that this had all happened in the doorway of a shop where I had been forced back to allow some of the manic traffic to pass.  I am sure he was just messing about with his mates but I am super-sensitive about my kit when I am on the road and I didn't want him getting ideas he might actually be able to do it for real.  I'd done my bit for crime prevention on behalf of the Sri Lankan Police so time to get back to being a tourist.

I crossed the road, paid my 500SSLR admission (about 2:50 or maybe $3US) and entered.  Well, again, it wasn't great.  A few interesting little bits and pieces with probably the most interesting being a number of od tombstones but they had been brought from elsewhere and had nothing to do with the building.  As I entitled my VT tip, "The building is the star here" and that is certainly the case with he garden being unbelievably quiet considering it's proximity to the lunacy that is the Pettah in the afternoon.  I  know this restoration was largely facilitated by the Dutch but, sorry, if this is what you are spending your cannabis tax on, I think I'll decline a smoke next time!  Seriously, you can have a wonderful building, which it is, but if you don't have the exhibits then it is not a Museum.

Again I shall include my VT tip to give you more of an idea of the place.

"In the centre of the bustling, noisy and marginally manic Pettah
(market) area of Colombo stands the rather fine building you see in the
main image which houses the Dutch Period Museum. It is a building with
quite an interesting history and dates to the very late 17th century
when it was constructed by the Dutch Governor of the area, a chap called
Governor Van Rhee who was the incumbent from 1692 - 1697 and it is
understandably in the Dutch style. The Dutch ruled the coastal parts of
Sri Lanka for a time, generally under the auspices of the VOC (Dutch
East Indies Company) and some Dutch streetnames still exist here like
Leynbaan Street.

Apart from serving as a private residence for
the Governor, the Dutch House, as it is known, has fulfilled many roles.
It has variously been a college for clerics and schoolmasters, an
orphanage, hospital, military barracks, police training facility and
post office, so it has seen much in it's 300 plus years of existence.

As
for the Museum itself well, frankly, it is not much to write home
about. There are some old pieces of furniture, a few weapons, a room
full of old Dutch headstones brought from elsewhere and that is about it
really. the enclosed garden is delightful, however and strangely you
cannot even here the hubbub from the street outside, it is a very
tranquil place.

The ground floor would be wheelchair accessible
but the upstairs which houses the bulk of the exhibits would not. The
toilets should you need them are at the rear of the garden on the right
although the almighty cracks in the wall suggest it about to collapse
imminently!

The Museum was opened in 1977 with financial
assistance from the Netherlands and is the only Museum commemorating
Dutch colonialism in all their former territories." 

See how productive I am being today folks?  Lot's more to come before I have a nice posh dinner in the wonderful hotel I am sitting in!
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