Saturday, 5 June 2010

Trip to Dentist and Galle

Last Wednesday I took a trip over to Galle to see a recommended dentist working out of a private hospital. He asked me to send him an SMS message first to check if he'd be in the surgery in the morning but, by the time he replied, I'd already set off. As it turned out, he would only be there during normal hours - 4:15pm to 6:30pm, so I spent most of the very hot day wandering around the huge Galle Fort area. It's quite fascinating, built originally by the Portuguese, and later fortified by the Dutch, full of old colonial style buildings and narrow alleys, and surrounded by ramparts. Many expats and the well-healed have houses here, and there are guest houses and restaurants aplenty. It's one of Sri Lanka's tourist high-spots and the prices reflect that.

Down the dusty back streets I spotted British cars from a bygone era - amongst them a Morris Minor and Traveller (1960's), Austin 1100 (1960-70's), and Austin A40 Farina MkI (late 1950's). A bit like stepping back in time! The Fort withstood the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami though, in the main town behind it, more than a 1000 people lost their lives. I guess the walls protected these old cars too.

So anyway, I saw my dentist and got special treatment - foreigners are seen first. And the price quoted for the dental work was quite special too - LKR53,000 (or about £320) - I imagine it's a good bit less than I'd have to pay in the UK but it seemed a bit steep for Sri Lanka. He did say that the crown itself would be high quality and made in Singapore. For a home-grown crown it would be LKR10,000 less. I can't see many Sri Lankans being able to afford this kind of money - probably why so many teeth are pulled.

When I told the staff back at the office they were surprised and immediately started shopping around. I can manage the pain with Ibuprofen so I've decided to wait a bit and see what prices the girls come up with. I should mention that the facilities and hygiene standards of the dentist appeared very high.