Monday, December 29, 2008

29th Dec - It's Really Happening!

Greetings from Sri Lanka! – I can’t believe I’m here!

* A quick and temporary note – I’m not bailing out of my commitment to keep a video blog, only to do that, the least I need is a computer with a USB port on it and so far I havn’t found one! However I have a few videos reading and waiting, so just keep posted for when they go up *


Firstly I had a really good and un expected send off from friends and family back in Essex. A note to anyone traveling, don’t leave packing to the last minute and even more importantly don’t spend the day and night down the pub with mates if you are leaving at 4 am the next morning! All good though!

Well I had a pretty un-eventful flight on Sri Lankan Airlines. The entertainment consisted of a lot of Indian/ Sri Lankan drama and a hand full of really crap games – not greatly impressed, but at least I had plenty of time to read Rough Guide to Sri Lanka which gave me a really good insight into things before I got here, considering I don’t really know anything about the place. The food was really good though, choices of chicken curry, prawn curry, beef curry or vegetable curry… good job I like curry!

Once i had landed it was all a little slow getting through security and passport control, it took about an hour to get through even before I collected my luggage. Luckily the driver I booked was still waiting. Even at 3 in the morning it was about 28 Degrees! The route from the Airport to the Hotel was eventful, there were constant road blocks and checkpoints, we went through about 12 in an hour and a half. They were looking for bombs apparently, there have been a number of suicide bombs here over the last few years on public transport, including one the day before I got here on a bus traveling on the road we were traveling on! So it was a little daunting to say the least and opened my eyes a little to the reality of the situation. Having said that I can’t say I’m worried about it, but that may have subconsciously help my decision to get a private driver for the drip instead of public transport ha ha… I’ll come onto that a little later.



The first morning I woke up to company in my room… in the form of a Gecko! I guess when there are lizards running around the walls in your bedroom, it’s a pretty good indication your out of the UK. I let it get on with what it was doing, didn’t want to touch it. I got a couple of hours sleep and headed down for breakfast, that consisted of….. wait for it…. Curry…. Yes for breakfast! When in Rome…. (and it was pretty good)


As soon as I could I had to get out and check out the beach, I can virtually see it from my guesthouse. Its so hot, about 35/40 Degrees, that basically means im going to burn as I always do! There were a few locals walking up and down, some fishing, some just wondering. My instinctive reaction if they approach is that the want something and sometimes they did, however I tried to give them the benefit of doubt and listen. By doing that I learned a lot about this area and something I didn’t notice while walking are many broken and half destroyed houses, all devastated by the Tsunami. They are still re building here and trying to make a living from fishing. From the aid they were bought new boats but it seems there was a lack of investment in housing.

One guy I came across showed me a quicker way to the next beach, that meant going on the rail way track and of course as soon as we did a train came and it was a fairly close encounter! The same guy then offered to climb a coconut tree and get one down, obviously I couldn’t turn down that experience so he climbed up and we shared in his effort after by drinking it, which was really tasty.



The beach is amazing, which you will see from the photos. After lunch I was offered to go on a snorkeling trip, it’s something I definitely wanted to do and I couldn’t believe how cheap it was, about 10 quid for 3 hours, including boat and kit. So i went out Snorkeling with these guys, who did it for a living and could dive do far down it was stupid. It was a good laugh and I had a few beers with them after.



So now is the end of my first day, it seems like I have done so much already! I don’t think I’ll get to write as much as this in the future, we will have to see how it goes.

I have decided to get a private driver for the rest of my trip so I get the chance to see and do as much as I can without the hassle (or potential dangers) from public transport. Its not a bad rate at all, about 20 quid a day, and basically they take you from place to place, wait for you to do what ever you want to do and take you to the next! Sorted!

So as of tomorrow morning i'm heading off and I think my first stop will be Kandy.

I’ll get those videos up as soon as possible!

Until then …

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