As a kid I’ve taken signage the along the tourist strip of Sri Lanka’s south west coast for granted. Lately on travels south, I’ve started to notice a strange fun richness in them. Something which I loosely term the “Hikkaduwa School of Design” to describe signage associated with tourism – not just along the Galle-Colombo road but also anywhere else in Sri Lanka.
There’s a lot to be fascinated about: the earnestness, the language play. Imagery that says more about the makers of the signs than the intended audience. The common dust that coats these signs is the tense desperate smile of third world poverty reaching out for the hard currency dollar, Euro, Pound etc on holiday. To me its most visible imagery and language of the signs which reflect what the local think the foreigner craves. For those from and/or in the know about first world cultures (such as perhaps most of the SLB), it comes off as a goofiness that will make for fun email attachments.
There is a distinct whiff of the 1970s and early 1980s in these signs. Or perhaps these are copies of copies that started off in the industrialised bulk tourism of that time. Before the war of course. Times must be tough in the world of low budget tourism these day. But best not speculate too deeply without the facts (which I don’t have right now).
Top Secret Beach Restaurant & Coffee Bar sign
Definite James Bond imagery (or I’m doing my usual thing of reading too much into signs).
Seems intended for a local audience – though it doesn’t exactly alienate non-Sinhala speakers. 😉
The Sinhala words are (from top to bottom)
- Daytime (can also mean lunch time – Noon)
More pictures when there’s time to write something and upload.