My first day in Sri Lanka

Trip Start Sep 21, 2005
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Day 98 Tue 14th Feb 2006
My first day in Sri Lanka
I crawled out of bed this morning at 11.30, it was really hot last-night and the ceiling-fan was too high up to be of any real benefit. I had heard someone moving around outside earlier in the morning but by the time I got up they had left. I went into the bathroom expecting to find the cockroach there, but to my surprise (and relief) it was nowhere to be found. I'm still thinking about where it could have gone, there was nowhere for it to go, it was in the shower basin. I wish I had taken a picture of it now. There was no one else in the house so I was left up to my own devices. I had to have a cold shower this morning, I don't think I will ever get used to that, but I know I will be doing it a lot so I had better try! There was no food in the house so after consulting Mr. Sadikeen I decided to head to Colombo for the day.

He called for a tuk tuk and that took me to Atharugriya bus stand. Its funny how they call the Auto-rickshaws 'tuk tuk' because they don't actually make that sound. They are very quiet here unlike most of them in India. I brought some Bananas from a shop opposite the stand. My first purchase in Sri Lanka, it was not that difficult but the shopkeeper didn't know English and had to get help from a friend, I know your thinking 'its only some bananas' but still with out the lingo, things aren't that easy. I got onto bus number 170 like Mr. Sadikeen had told me and off we went. I had read somewhere that Sri Lanka is sometimes referred to as the 'Emerald Isle', the journey to Colobo made me realise why. The whole place I very lush and green, I have never seen so many shades, it reminds me of Kerela quite a lot. The roads are quite good, not very good but much better than Indian roads, the bus drivers however, are very similar to the ones in India. They driver on my bus was like a little 'boy-racer', he was darting through the traffic as if he was driving a Tuk Tuk. I'll give him credit for one thing though, he only used the horn when necessary. It took the best part of an hour to get to Colombo and I got off at the main bus stand near the Fort. It was gone 1pm by now and my belly was crying out for food, I walked down a road and found this little bakery on the corner, I had a pastry with some veg curry in it and an Ice-cream Soda. It didn't fill me up but gave me enough energy to keep on moving. The sun was beating it down and I didn't know where I was headed, but I did know I wanted to get out of there. I had also read somewhere that English is spoken by most people in Sri Lanka, all those people must have stayed home today because I couldn't find any of them, even a police man I approached just walked away from me (yeah thanks MATE!). I went into a phone shop to call home and tell them I had arrived safe and sound, the calls back to the UK are expensive in comparison to India so I'll be keeping calls down to a minimum. The guy in the shop managed to string together enough English words to tell me I should head for a place called Majestic City, I jumped on the No:100 bus and off I went, I asked the ticket conductor to tell me where to get off and he did. On the way there we came out of the hustle and bustle of the main city and drove along the seafront, they had all the five star hotels o one side of the road and the beach on the other, nice! It took about 10 minutes to get there and it was just basically a shopping mall, I headed straight for the food court.

After refuelling I went to a card shop and was reminded in no uncertain terms that it was Valentines day today (yeah there were hearts everywhere). I got a couple of birthday cards, wrote them out and posted them back home, one was for mum (sorry its late) and the other for Simran. I went for a walk up to the seafront, which was nearby. The water was clean and there was a nice breeze blowing but it was just way too hot. I saw the train that runs right along the seafront, I would like to go on that, I think it would be nice, providing its not too packed out! I got the bus back to the stand and arrived there for 5.30pm, just in time for the evening rush (nice, NOT). I tried to find out where the 170 was going to leave from in the stand but no-one knew, instead they kept telling me to go on the 190. Now Mr. Sadikeen had warned me not to get on any other bus so I waited for the 170 to pull into the stand. It was a long wait but half an hour later it came. I jumped onto it but everyone else came off. The ticket guy could speak a work of English but I managed to communicate the fact that I needed to get to Atharugriya and he told me to stay on the bus, I managed to figure out that the bus was leaving from somewhere else and that this bus would take me there but not to Atharugriya. Anyway we pulled into a side street about five minutes later and there were a few buses there. He told me which one was leaving next and I got on it. the bus was jam-packed within a matter of minutes, but I had my seat and held onto to it all the way back. I got a Tuk Tuk to drop me to the house and ordered takeaway from a local shop.

It's been a tiring first day but good fun, a new place brings new adventure and I defiantly need more of that. I have decided to stay here longer, I will get onto the airlines in the morning and see what they say about dates. I still haven't seen the cockroach again and I keep thinking it going to turn up somewhere. I'm leaving here tomorrow so hopefully it will stay away till then! Oh by the way I found a broomstick in the kitchen that looks just like Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 (or what ever its called), check out the pic!
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