Shorter trips despite longer distances – that’s what Secret Colombo Short Cuts (SCSC) are about. They get you around VIP road closures, checkpoints, one way streets, rush hour clog and other unpredictable variables of Colombo traffic. Or you’d be spending more time sitting in traffic.
The holly grail is of course routes that cut time AND distance. A few such gems must exist but I won’t go there. They are secret after all. Practically everyone has a few routes. If word gets around these small narrow life lines through Colombo’s residential parts will become clogged with traffic (the eventually do) and that commute will start to get longer.
The key to productively using your short cuts is timing. Some short cuts are only “viable” during certain hours. The witching hour of the after school rush (1pm to 2:30pm-ish) is a particularly nasty time if your short cut goes near a school.
Evening Colombo rush hour is by far the messiest. A nightmare if it rains. Primary roads go underwater and traffic starts to pour through the side roads. At this point short cuts are merely any route that gets you home. Half-doctor’s post of getting home through the flood illustrates this point far better than I can. There are no way of getting around the evening rush unless you want to hang back and head home around 9pm.
The morning rush is where the SCSC becomes a life saver. Specially for Cerno and the Mrs who leave for our places of toil early. Mainly to stay a head of school school rush hour that boils with increasing frenzy towards 7:30AM.
Getting up early also means enjoying the colours of the Colombo sunrise through the bathroom window – though Mrs C is less positive about getting up at dawn. Our route naturally involves some of the many rutted residential “roads” that curve past high walled mansions. These seem to have popped up everywhere – even in unfashionable areas such as ours. No doubt the roads are badly maintained in a futile attempt to discourage the likes of us. No doubt it takes a toll on the chariot.
After we sneak past the check points into the city our secret paths are no better. Practically dusty or muddy ruts (when it rains) with the odd stump of tarmac to remind us that this “path” was once a road. The residents of the big houses all seem to drive SUVs that occasionally ooze out of the roller doors don’t seem to be interested in road works. Perhaps the rough terrain gives them a taste off road action.
As with any commutes there are regular personalities that have become landmarks. Most of them are dogs who occupy very specific intersections. At the times we drive by, most of these characters are still fast asleep or blinking with sleepy disbelief at the chariots whizzing by millimetres from their snouts. In fact I can’t recall a time when the dog at the checkpoint (unimaginatively called “checkpoint bow wow”) was ever awake.
There are human personalities of course – all fellow commuters waiting for their rides. There’s “Mondy Girl” so named for the “Mondy” shopping bag she carries. Then the Muslim school girl in the head covered kit who occasional wears rather flamboyant Shalwars. I have no idea who they are, but I wish them well none the less. 🙂
I won’t ask anyone to divulge their SCSCs. But if there’s any interesting sights that regularly catches your eye on these secret paths (shared by a few thousand other I suppose) the comment box is below.
There. I finally banged out a post after a week’s blog silence. It feels like an achievement of sorts the events of the last few weeks/day. Better end with something meaningless yet pithy:
“Life many be a journey but don’t make it a commute”.