Kid in a Kandy shop

Trip Start Oct 29, 2003
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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Thursday, December 11, 2003

Tuesday December 9th

Well here I am in the Sri Lankan hill country, and mighty relieved I am to be here I can tell you. You see, Stupid Tourist Man made a bit of a mistake at Singapore airport. I don't think I mentioned it at the time, but when I was in Phnom Penh a few weeks ago I went to a firing range and shot an AK-47 and an M-16. All good stuff, and as a souvenir I thought I'd take a spent AK-47 shell and threw it in my bag. Fast forward three weeks to the gate at Singapore airport Monday night. The X-ray machine goes bonkers, I get pulled over and they find the shell. I had completely forgotten about it, and at first thought it was no big deal as it's only an empty cartridge. My attitude soon changed when the police showed up and I was given the third degree in front of the other passengers who had presumably put their spent shells in their checked bags. The plane was ready to leave and I was still waiting for a call from central command to see if they would let me on. If not, it would be 24 uncomfortable hours until I could get another flight. To put it mildly, my arse cheeks were clapping like mad, but after a final warning from the airline to get on board, the call came and I was given the thumbs up. Running down the gangway, my relief was there for all to smell. I could have done the cross-check myself as the plane door was closed behind me and I gratefully slinked into my seat and downed the first of several Bloody Marys. (I got no upgrade, btw, so now my Upgrade Ratio is down from 50% to 33%, but to be honest I was just thankful not be in a Singapore prison.)
I arrived at Colombo at 1am, but had no lodgings booked. Managed to find a place in Kandy from a travel agent at the airport, so spent the next 3 hours in a cab winding around mountain roads dodging cows and stray dogs as the full moon lit up the countryside.
After about 4 hours sleep I awoke and decided to go for a wander around the bustling town. Fobbing off about 10 people who wanted to be my guide and show me around, I skipped over several deformed beggars, and, dodging tuk-tuks, I found the cricket ground. At the time Sri Lanka were practicing in the middle so I sat and watched for a while, and then the England team arrived. Thankfully I had my camera! There was no secrity around the pitch, so I just walked up to the nets in the middle and sat and watched, five or so yards away from the team. I managed to get some great pictures of 'Freddie' Flintoff, Michael Vaughan, Graham Thorpe and Nasser Hussain. I even fielded in the deep and caught both Flintoff and Mark Butcher. Now I realise that you Americans have no idea what I'm talking about and can't really appreciate this, but try to imagine having an All Access pass at a baseball 'All-Star' game (providing you like baseball, of course). Absolutely fantastic.

Wednesday December 10th
Sri Lanka vs England, Second Test, Day One

Got to the ground in plenty of time to get a ticket. I decided that the 20p standing area with no shade would not be good for seven hours, so I splashed out on a five pound ticket and got a seat. I managed to get the Eastwood Cricket Club flag up, but it's a bit small compared to the others. Flag envy not withstanding, I managed to sing a few songs with the 500 or so English travelling with the Barmy Army, sit in the sun, and drink a few beers.

Thursday December 11th
Sri Lanka vs England, Second Test, Day Two
See above, but with slightly less sun and more beer.
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