Take the Stairs

1. TAKE the Stairs

Colombo is no stranger to staircases. Just about everywhere you go, there’s a set. Also in most buildings are elevators. It’s not uncommon to see people catching a lift to ascend 1 floor. Now enter the epidemic of unfit people and those needing to shed a few kilograms. Electricity prices are also at an all-time high. This equation seems like everyone wins: buildings minus elevators equals fitness and lower power bills. While the presence of elevators will remain fixed, it doesn’t mean you have to as well: take the stairs.

Take the Stairs
Having “just landed” in Sri Lanka, I have found myself enjoying the local cuisine a little too much. Now the over consumption of rice and curry and/or bread dipped in brinjal curry have taken their toll. Combine this with high-rise tower living and a lack of gardening to attend to, and now I have a problem. Taking the stairs was an easy choice after discovering the benefits. It was also something which seamlessly integrated itself into my days: back from the school drop – walk up the stairs (400 or so) home; use the swimming pool – walk up the stairs home; feeling a little lethargic on the weekend – sneak off and walk the higher floors a few times.

The heavier you are, the more calories burnt. I calculated I was burning the equivalent of one meal a day by using the stairs and avoiding the dreaded lift – great! A study found that climbing stairs can burn 5 calories per minute for a 55kg person. Building muscle is the golden ticket for weight-loss. As muscles build and develop, they can keep the body burning calories through the night. Now if that isn’t a revelation, how about that stair climbing has been proven to build thigh, calf and buttocks muscles? If you are wanting a little lift in the back end, try taking the stairs. “Before and After” articles have surfaced showing dramatic losses of 80kg’s in some cases. One comment made was: “One day I decided to take the stairs at work instead of using the lift, and now it’s a daily habit and I fit into all my old clothes”.

2. TIP the Doorman

It’s been a long day. The kids are tired and grumpy. One trails behind me loudly complaining they didn’t get the treat
they wanted. Another is firmly attached to my pant leg. Both hands are occupied with shopping bags filled with ingredients for tonight’s dinner as I trudge to the carpark. A friendly voice thanks me for coming today and holds the door open. A small gesture, but one which puts a bit of spring back in my step. I am a regular at this food shop and have noticed this man’s consistency day after day (6 days a week). I fumble around in my wallet and pull out some notes. He is grateful, but so am I! It’s important that we show our appreciation for the little things.

Doorman at Galle Face Hotel

Sri Lanka is lucky to have an abundance of workers in the service industries. From lift operators and carpark attendants to the smartly dressed people (usually men) who rush to open the door for you as you enter a shop. These doormen are of various ages and usually are well-mannered and friendly. This is the sort of attention to detail and care for one’s job which should be rewarded. “Tip a Doorman” is a metaphor for giving respect and gratitude to those people who help us in small ways every day. What’s a few extra rupees to perhaps make someone’s day or even week? Let’s thank those workers who day after day make our lives a little easier and say: “Job well done!”

Tipping the parking man who helps direct us to reverse our car without denting it; an extra amount for the waiter who was prompt with your drink order; a friendly teenager working at the local burger joint who greeted you warmly and gave great eye contact. Feel like going a little further? Take the time to mention it to the manager or write a brief email to the managing office to let them know.

Doorman at Galle Face Hotel


LT believe in “Tipping the Doorman” too, in this case, it is an opportunity to acknowledge the real people behind the service, their lives, and the dignity of their labour. We are privileged to introduce Ratnayaka, the charming gentleman we photographed for this feature.

Galle Face Hotel’s longest serving living employee, Rathnayaka, has been welcoming guests for 50 years, amongst them prominent personalities such as Indira Gandhi, Marshal Tito, Fidel Castro, and Yuri Gagarin. His experiences include taking an umbrella to escort one of the hotel’s prestigious guests, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, as well as greeting many former Sri Lankan presidents and prime ministers.



3. EXPERIENCE The Sizzle

Tucked down a narrow street and at the end of a private lane in Colpetty lies a little spoken about secret. You could almost drive past and miss it altogether. While the rest of Colombo is spending their Saturday night dining at large main street venues, here the customers have flocked wanting an out-of-the-ordinary experience. If you look upwards, photos of diners with big grins adorn the ceilings of every room and give testament to The Sizzle club – a privilege card is on offer for regulars. While the house-turned-restaurant looks like  any typical busy Sri Lankan eatery, you’re immediately greeted by the most delicious smell (and sounds) of hot food. And by hot, I mean it literally: sizzling!

The SizzleThe Sizzle is the place to dine for a theatrical experience, and one which Tushar Amalean envisioned back in 2006 when converting the building into a 130-seat restaurant. The premise is simple: it all sizzles, bubbles and is alive and cooking before your eyes. The cast iron hotplate is the staple of all meals, and means you hear your food coming before seeing it.

_MG_9181Ordering a humble lime juice while deciding on your meal, will see your highball glass arrive steaming and bubbling away with dry ice like a witches’ cauldron. For entrée, a warm pot of cheese fondue with cubed foods to dip or a sizzling kebab on a cast iron plate. Main dishes range from biriyani to meat and vegetables – on a hot plate. Not to be forgotten is the choice of sizzling brownies or the aptly named “Smelting Pot,” a melted chocolate fondue complete with strawberries or fresh fruit for dipping. Prices range from Rs. 800 and up.

The Sizzle
32 Walukarama RoadColombo 03
Tel: 071 688 8777