First couple of days in Sri Lanka
15.09.2012 - 18.09.2012
Well it's been a mad couple of days so thought I better do my first blog entry.
We got our plane out of Heathrow Airport on 15th Sept '12 after searching everywhere in the departure lounge for a TV to try and watch Adam on the X Factor, but unfortunately there was none I guess watching TV is usually the last thing on people's minds when they are going away!
The flight wasn't too bad, we had exit seats thanks to Mark, plenty of legroom! The food was really nice, Curried lamb with steamed rice and dahl and then a nice cheese omlette with sausage and roasted potato cubes for brekkie.
When we arrived at Colombo Airport it was a suprisingly smooth process. Immigration was quick as we had already got our visas online and the bags came out pretty fast. Mark headed to the ATM to get some money out, while I quickly and discretely put on my fake wedding ring to prevent any hassle or disapproving looks.
We found our way to the free shuttle bus and got that to the bus stop where we had to pick up the no. 187 bus to Fort station. This was our first experience of the constant horn blowing and the very harsh breaking! Once at Fort station we found a tourist office as we needed to book our train tickets to Kandy on 21st Sept '12 and I had read that this was a popular route that sells out fast.
We ended up booking more than just the 1 train ticket, we booked up our last four days in Sri Lanka with day trips and accomodation. Plus we got a 'special price' as the man booking it all had obviously noticed the wedding ring on my finger but seen that we had different surnames so assumed and asked if we were on our honeymoon, to which Mark quickly replied yes! Haha! I also used my student card, so I am now back to being a student and we have become married! Haha.
Next we were going to get the bus no. 100/101 to Mount Lavinia but whilst waiting decided we would get a tuk tuk instead. Well this was an experience to say the least! Mark described it very well, 'like a massive version of Mario Kart' and it certainly was. Again with lots of horn blowing and VERY harsh breaking. There were no doors or seatbelts, so Mark held on to the one bar infront of us and I hung on for dear life to him! I had my heart in my mouth everytime the driver spoke to us, as he was turning round to face us so wasn't watching the road at all!
He irritated us when we got to our hotel as he had said it would cost 800 rupees but because we only had a 1000 note he claimed not to have the change so we ended up paying 900. I had read about this in guidebooks but we got caught out this time! Oops!
The accomodation is basic but nice enough. There is no hot water but you wouldn't want it in this heat and unfortunately we only have a ceiling fan instead of A/C so it is a bit warm in the room but never mind. The wifi is free so thats great, although the signal drops out quite often. There is a shared area with a computer, TV, dining table and kitchen. There also appears to be a tortoise outside our room in the garden which we are assuming is a pet.
We popped to the local store to get some food and drink and then chucked together a very quick dinner of pasta, cream cheese and chopped up sausages which actually suprisingly tasty! We then passed out until midday on 17th sept '12.
We thought we would chill on the beach today so got ready and headed out. The beach is only at the end of our street, BUT to get to it we had to cross over an in use railway line! No crossing, just literally have a look to check no trains are coming and then step your way accross. We were both quite concerned to see school kids just strolling down it in the middle but the train did make alot of noise when it was passing so you would know it was coming.
The beach wasn't what we had hoped for. There were only a handful of locals all fully dressed, so we didn't feel like we could get into our swimwear to sunbathe or go in the sea. So we just ended up taking a stroll down it with just our feet in the sea until that got interupted by a local begging us for money I had read in guidebooks that they often make up stories to scam tourists so we made our excuses and made a quick escape back to our hotel. This is the third time in 2 days that people have begged us for money
There does seem to be alot of poverty here. There must also be alot of theft from the shops as when we went into the supermarket you have to check your bags into a sort of cloakroom before you can enter the shop, so I guess this is to reduce shoplifting.
On a happier note, we managed to skype Kim & Paul that night as Kim had messaged us on wats ap. It was really nice to see their smiley faces and we got to see Oscar (who was very confused by hearing our voices) and little boo boo!
Good old Micheal McIntyre's autobiography audiobook has been keeping us entertained when we have nothing to do. It is hilarious, we would definately recommend it, he narrates it himself!
And finally today, 18th Sept '12, we were cheeky and made our way into a 5 star hotel private beach! haha! It is a bit of a walk away and we had to walk through ALOT of school kids on our way there, but we walked through, got given sun loungers with free towels (yes don't mind if we do!) and chilled there for a couple of hours! This is obviously where we looked like we belonged haha!
Got to speak to my Mum, Rob, Chris & Joe on Skype this evening, very nice to catch up and see that they have the map up in the hall and have put our first photo by London and are waiting for more to plot as we go. So we will have to get snapping!
We then also spoke to Mark's Dad Steve, Nikki and Joanne and then Paul also turned up. So nice to see them all and talk. Jo and Paul were making us jealous eating percy pigs! and Steve was telling us all the facts about the country we were in! He knows more than us! haha