Galle Face Green is a bit of a misnomer. It really should be Galle Face Brown, or Galle Face Dirt. Regardless of a more appropriate name it is one of the biggest public spaces in Colombo.
Built in 1856 the promenade and its seawall have sent it all, at one point they apparently served as a racecourse and a golf course for the British colonials. Those glory days are now a distant memory, the nags have left and the greens have turned to bunkers, time has been not been kind to the old lady of Colombo.
Stretching for 2km along the Colombo foreshore it’s the place to be on a weekend or public holiday. Along the ocean side, food vendors set up shops to sell traditional snacks like kothu rotti, chilli and salt mango, prawn rotti, fresh crabs and local pickled olives. Up on the dirt, small stalls sell kites, bubble blowers, cricket bats and all manner of toys for kids. There are the resident gang of snake charmers and monkey handlers who at the rate they charge for a photo must live in the Hilton penthouse. The green is guarded by a number of archaic canons that act as toilets for the seabirds rather than protection against an invasion from sunburnt tourists in the Maldives.
Every afternoon hundreds of people come down to play cricket, swim in the ocean, snuggle their lovers under umbrellas, or just have a bit of a snooze.
It hosts major public events, like the screening of the T20 final, the Sri Lankan X games and major military parades.
Regardless of how she now looks she is a Colombo institution and should hold strong against the tide of development for another 100 years.