Colombo

Trip Start Apr 22, 2011
1
22
60
Trip End Jul 08, 2011


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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Saturday, May 28, 2011

5/27/2011

Day 35

I woke up at the end of my one hour nap and went to get my tickets and through immigration. I didn't print off my ticket, so they had to go through a list of over 10,000 names to let me into boarding.  It is very unorganized here.  When I made it to my gate, I went to the bathroom and two separate airport workers asked me if I wanted hash.  I don't know how big of an idiot you can be?  First off, buying it one country is one thing, but bring it into a country is ten times the penalty.  I'm already on international ground.  I do not know if they were paid off by police or what, but this is plain stupidity on both sides.  So I caught my flight and was off to my 47th country of Sri Lanka!  I arrived and the immigration was totally messed up.  They don't get in a line.  They just flash their passports at the person at the counter despite the writing on the line saying please wait here.  I just waited for everyone to pass through before getting up to the person because I didn't want the idiots staring at my passport.  I asked the immigration officer to stamp on a blank page because I may need the full pages for full page visas later on, but for some reason he did not.  I have nearly 120 stamps now.  The baggage was maybe the slowest ever.  It took nearly an hour.  Again I was outside the airport and having everyone tell me different things and I'm not sure what to believe.  One man tells me I can get a bus to my hotel.  One man says I can not.  I negotiate a price with a person at a tourist counter for a taxi, but he takes me in his own car and not a real taxi, which is strange.  I didn't actually see any taxis out there.  It was nearly one hour drive from the airport to Colombo.  I stayed at the YMCA and it was an absolute dump, but I've been in worse places.  It was actually in a decent location right next to the world trade center.  So... I had a list of things to do right away and first was laundry.  I was out of shoes and socks.  A man outside took me to a few places.  The first was a four day wait and the second was $20 for two loads of laundry.  My clothes weren't even worth $20.  Sri Lanka used to be a third world country, but now, I would say it is not.  It is actually a lot nicer and cleaner than India, but I have never in my life paid that much.  As I'm walking back, the man asks me for beer money and I say to him that if he comes to USA, I will help him find a laundry mat for $10 per load and ask him if that's fair?  He says no, so I give him a dollar and he wants more out of me.  This laundry mat was a ways away from my hotel.  On the way back another man gets excited to talk to me and I'm literally five blocks from my hotel and I ask him where the bus station is.  He says he wants to show me and its an hour walk.  I refuse and say I'm going back.  He just says he wants to show me the parade.  Today was a holiday and many pretty much the whole Sri Lankan army was marching up and down the streets, so there are tanks and big vehicles going up and down the streets as I'm walking and blowing smoke in our faces and flicking rocks at us and I freak out and say I've had enough and ask him to show to my hostel.  He insists to keep going.   He shoes me a Buddhist temple, however it was no different than the rest I have seen in other countries and my camera battery died, so I couldn't even take the memories home with me of seeing it.  By this time, we are one hour away from my hotel when I was five minutes away and now its starting to rain.  I'm pissed.  He asks me if I want some food.  I say no.  He says he knows where I can find some good beef.  I say OK.  He tells me he will negotiate a rickshaw to take me to a restaurant and I can eat there for cheap, then go back to my hostel for very cheap.  I say OK.  He takes me to McDonald's, but about a few minutes into the ride, I get angry again and wonder why I'm doing this?  Is meat really worth the price of a rickshaw?  Probably not.  So I get McDonald's and this whole ride takes me about 15 minutes.  When I get out, he wants $20.  I tell him to fuck off and give him $3.  I think I got ripped off at the airport by paying $20 for the taxi and here he wanted the same for a short taxi ride.  McDonald's had basically the same prices as food in USA.  So far, the taxi's and laundry were more expensive than taxi's in USA.  I can't prove it, but I'm guessing that these people asked the people dealing with me at the laundry and taxi service to charge me quadruple the amount to give them some of the profit.  It's a shame there are people like that in the world even though at first, they said they were not after money and kept reassuring me that.  Later on, I went to get to pick up my laundry and got lost, so I lost people where the place was and they kept telling me to get a taxi, but I said no that it was only 15 minutes walk.  Finally after asking around for about 15 minutes, I had no choice.  I was lost.  I got a taxi and overpaid.  After picking up the laundry, I got lost again and ended up on Galle Street, which was actually a great street!  It was practically new with all the newest shops and stores and somehow kept the traffic off of it.  It was somewhat quiet.  The ocean was next to the road and it was peaceful.  The water was no super clean or clear, but nicer than India's beaches and not a soul in sight. One of the interesting things about Colombo is the suburbs are Colombo 1, Colombo 2 and so on all the way to like Colombo 14.  It's all in a straight line too.  This is the first place I have been that the surrounding suburbs were like that. 

5/28/11

Day 36

I slept 10 hours last night.  It felt great!  I woke up and took one last walk around the city, then was off to visit a friend I met on a penpal website.  This girl was Buddhist, so I'm not looking for a hook up.  Her family was very nice and cooked me lunch.  I had some things that I normally wouldn't eat, but I didn't want to be rude, so I ate them.  I was there for about two hours, but while being there, I got word on the news that it was flooding where I wanted to go, so I switched up my route.  I had no hotel reservations.
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