A flight delay meant it was well past dusk by the time I reached Galle, through a steady drizzle and dimly lit streets. First impressions had to wait till the next morning, I told myself. It had been raining hard a while back. Through sudden flashes of lightning and the cyclic revolving beam of the lighthouse, I could make out cobbled streets and pastel walls. I took in the scent of still-wet earth, cinnamons, frangipani and the salty breeze, and thought perhaps this was a more fitting introduction than a “fair weather” one could have been. It ticked all the right boxes – balmy evenings, tropics, lighthouse, sea shore, colonial town, and yet it left enough space for my pre-trip notions of a once bustling, now laid-back outpost of the Empire. I knew I was at Galle, and I could tell I would be loving it.