Monday, January 14, 2013

Final days of Sri Lanka

Street near where we stayed in Colombo
Good evening, morning, afternoon wherever you may be this day. I am compelled to recount the final 3 days I spent in Sri Lanka. I returned a week ago now and since then have been treated to a couple of nights at around -13 degrees and today it has been snowing solidly all day. I journeyed to Morioka to successfully replace my alien registration card, a victim of the wallet disaster, and tomorrow I am back at school. But there were 2.5 days in Sri Lanka after the wallet was stolen and I should write a little about them.

For not the first time in my travels, I was taken in by a family very sympathetic to my needs. This time, my wife was with me. In Burkina Faso, post-malaria I was very lucky to be taken in by an American family. As far back as India 1999 and Iran 2004 I have been taken in by total strangers, although in those cases I was not in peril or desperate need.
In this instance, all the cash was basically gone and credit cards maxxed out. We could have survived though, however this family was so kind and wanted us to stay with them it seemed like the perfect option, and a great chance to get to know some Sri Lankans. Don't go somewhere if you have no interest in learning about the people who live there too, I say. Except for (insert most hated country here). 
Negombo Beach at night
We were taken in by a very vibrant family who were very excited to have us in their home. We didn't get up to a lot in that time, we relaxed and talked to the family and got to know them. There was a bit of singing and dancing as you do, I was trying to contact Japan and check I would be okay to re-enter the country.
 We did go with the extended family to the Negombo beach one night. We all piled into a mini-van and off we went. It turned out to be quite a long drive. At the beach we threw the ball around a bit and had fun. Little stalls (pictured) sold food and snacks, mostly fried sweet potato which was okay. Maybe a little sandy lol...
The journey home someone owned a tuk-tuk, or a three-wheeler (pictured with yours truly below) and my wife and I traveled home in that. Well, it was quite a journey. Right next to the airport, about 50 metres below the bellies of landing aircraft, we were pulled over and the driver was in trouble as he didn't have the right papers with him, and he had been drinking! It was all sorted out but it took an hour and I believe it was solved by the promise of a bottle of brandy. We had no idea what was going on. Back into the tuk-tuk and we were off again! We were joined by the father of the house on motorbike who had come back to see what was taking us so long. He sped ahead and suddenly this dog fight was on the road and impossible to avoid, and he hit a dog! He was very lucky not to come off the bike. Then the tuk-tuk was having problems - turned out to be out of petrol! So it was well after ten when we finally arrived back at the house. But you have to take these things in your stride, especially when people have been so kind!
I never did take the Tuk Tuk out on the road :(
We had a barbeque that night, lots of meat! The only food I had in Sri Lanka that wasn't spicy and didn't make me sweat! The final day arrived, and we were sad to say goodbye to Sri Lanka despite all that had gone on with the wallet. It truly is a wonderful, beautiful country. A bit easier to survive than India in some respects, feels like a little India, SE Asia and even Ghana rolled into one! I really do recommend it as a place to visit, just careful at the Colombo Fort train station.
We took Malaysian Airlines back to Japan, via Kuala Lumpur. It was great to have some extra legroom for a change as we'd gone budget airlines all the way until then. I slept an awful lot during the flights and even at KL airport. Arriving in Tokyo we took the train to Tokyo station from Narita, and then the overnight bus to Ichinoseki. Exhausted, I slept half the day but my poor wife had to work.
It was clear but cold, but nothing compared to the night where it dropped below minus 10 degrees celcius. that was a serious freeze, and such a shock after coming from Sri Lanka!
We are home now, but I am going to try and keep the blogs coming, so stay tuned!

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