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Galle Road, Bambalapitiya

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Galle Road begins at Galle Face, somewhere at the roundabout, in front of the old Parliament building at the entrance to the Fort, and stretches its tired asphalt tracks all the way to the town of Galle, almost 100 Km down south hugging the coastline like a leech all the way through. It takes two lanes of traffic, one up and one down, driving anyone standing in the middle to cross into madness and jitters until the person gets safely across to the other side.

Since of late the section within the District of Colombo has been divided in the middle by an island, thereby, preventing those crazy over-takers from displaying their antics on the middle of the highway.

At Bamba, similar to many of the other towns along Galle Road in Colombo, parallel streets, commonly referred to as lanes interspaced by a few blocks of land and residential houses, ran down to the beach from the Galle Road. Here they met the southern railway tracks and beyond it a myriad spread of coconut trees that ringed the white sands of the beautiful beach that curved all the way south like a mermaids bottom. On the sea front, right at the end of Station Road, located at the northern end of Bamba, was the Bamba Railway Station constructed in identical fashion to the several other stations that ringed the southern tracks from Colombo Fort all the way down to Matara. Two sets of tracks, parallel to each other took the perspiring rail commuters to the big bustling bazaar city of Fort, The Pettah and back home to roost on a daily basis.

The southern coastline railway was a way of life for many office workers and commuters.On the land side similar parallel lanes took of from the Galle Road, some running all the way to Havelock Road while others ending up in dead ends or curving across to meet the network of inland roadways at some point along the way. From a birds eye view the roads would have looked more like the upper skeleton of a human body with the spine representing Galle Road and the ribs reflecting the parallel lanes on either side.Galle road is the main link between Colombo and the South and is always heavily loaded with trucks, petrol tanks, cars, buses, motor bikes, scooters, bicycles, carts, three-wheeler taxis and in the old days the manually driven rickshaws. On some festive and religious occasions one can also see elephants joining in a parade or traditional festive arts, decked in all their finery, being dragged from temple to temple, celebrating some ritualistic occasion.

Rush hour on Galle Road, mainly during the mornings and evenings, and nowadays during the afternoons too when the many schools plying the main road close for the day, can be traumatic. Traffic slows down to a crawl and horns and abuse blow out in chorus intermingling with engine noises and fumes that turns the towns into melting pots of absolute pollution. Three-wheeler taxis work their way in between the snarling vehicles causing enough mayhem to an already chaotic tangled web of men, machines, and noise. Traffic police men and women, nattily dressed in their khaki uniforms, wave arms and legs to try and bring some order and sanity to such a mess of a normal working day. In recent times even the halcyon atmosphere of the by lanes have become a hive of activity with many commercial businesses sprouting up in the heavenly old homes of before and traffic screaming up and down in order to use the newly opened Marine Drive along the beachfront. Tourist Guest Houses, posh Restaurants, high-rise condominium apartment blocks, Telephone communication Services & Internet Café’s have all emerged out of a sleepy old town of middle class men and women just a few decades ago.

The sprawling foliage of old is slowly disappearing with the clearing, blocking, and decentralizing of the huge mansions that once stood in the name of development, overcrowding and the demand for more housing and business premises in a fast developing city that is bursting its seams.Bamba, the TownThe town of Bamba begins, in the North, a little before the intersection of Bullers Road (now known as Bauddhaloka Mawatha) and Galle Road. Here, stands the massive FOAMTREADS advertising banner (now converted to ELASTO) with its shiny flickering pieces of aluminum clicking away in the sunshine and the lights of the night in its own swishy washy way, a landmark that was unmistakable to all and sundry.On the seaside, facing Galle Road and facing the entrance to Bullers Road, stands the respected IC Drug Stores patronized by the residents from time immemorial, serving its customers in all its glory and splendor. This was no ordinary down-the-street pharmacy as it had its aura of professionalism, respect, and honor by way of its design and interior and also its white coated salespersons, who looked more like the members of a hospital staff rather than a store.

The town extends all the way along Galle Road, to end at the Wellawatte Canal which separates it from the next town of Wellawatte on the South. To the East it is bordered by Havelock Road, which begins at the roundabout located at Thunmulla (three cornered junction) and extends all the way down southwards to the Wellawatte Spinning & Weaving Mills located at the bridge that crosses the same Canal which winds it way across a large extent of Colombo. The Textile Mill, once a bustling industry, managed by Soley Captain, that employed hundreds of workers, is now closed and dysfunctional. A massive housing complex project with international participation is currently being planned on its site in order to cater to the massive demand for residency within the big city.

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