New country - whoo
30.01.2012 - 01.02.2012 32 °C
Day 122: Colombo, SRI LANKA 30/01/12
Up at six for our train to the airport. The station is already heaving, with seemingly hundreds of people asleep on the station floor. See a rat fall 30 feet from the overhead cables. Splat. Dead. The 7 pence train ride to the airport is easy enough, probably something to do with the fact that we end up in first class.
Arrive at the airport, which in true Indian style is chaotic, inefficient, outdated and everybody makes a mockery of the queuing system. Make it onboard, endure the one hour flight to Sri Lanka, and emerge the other side in the second country of our trip! First impressions are very good – the country is beautiful, the people are very relaxed and friendly and everywhere is very, very clean. We forgot that infrastructure and order like this existed and it is a very refreshing change from the chaos of India.
Catch a couple of buses from the airport to where we are staying (Gemma is asleep pretty much throughout) and we eventually find the apartment with a bit of help from the locals. Beautiful room, 50 yards from the beach, which is also breathtaking, with highrise city blocks looming at one end and fishing boats and shacks sitting at the other. The sand is white, the ocean is a kind of blue/green (like you see in a travel brochure) and we cannot believe this isn’t even considered one of the better beach areas. Have a few drinks and an outrageously good dinner on the beach and enjoy the view. Sri Lanka – so far so good.
Day 123: Colombo, Sri Lanka 31/01/12
Woke up after a good night’s sleep and it is very nice to wake up in nice bed in a nice room. Nice. The luxury of a hot shower is also more than welcome. We are very hungry after yesterday’s efforts and we eventually grab some lunch.
Take a walk around, towards the zoo, which is close to where we are staying. Get to the zoo, which is about five times more expensive than we were expecting so we continue to walk around Colombo, which is full of nice neighbourhoods and shops and continues with the great first impressions of Sri Lanka. We end up walking miles, buy a couple of things and the walk back seems to take forever, back past the Buddha statues we stopped at earlier and eventually back to the room.
We head to the city centre to an English pub we have read about, where we have some beers, great lamb burgers and enjoy the sounds of international open mic night. We leave (having spent almost all the money we have with us) and envisage another long walk home. Luckily a miracle arrives in the form of the number 100. Straight to bed. Shattered.