Detour

Remembrance of Things Past Movie stars and royalty, tycoons and world leaders—they can't all be wrong, can they? Not about sunset on the veranda of Colombo's Galle Face Hotel. A pot of Ceylon tea is on the table. Uniformed waiters anticipate every need. Attention wanders from a book to monitoring the progress of the sun's blood orange descent into the Indian Ocean. All, in short, is as it should be, the life you've always felt you deserved.

Almost since it opened in 1864, the Galle Face has been a Sri Lankan institution. It was a center of British...

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