Finding my mojo on the way to Negombo
Trip Start Apr 17, 2001
241Trip End Ongoing
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When Elenka and I arrived at our hostel in Kandy, we were immediately invited to join a table of travellers on the roof-top patio - two from Copenhagen, one from Malmo and the fourth from Jarvis and Isabella, a half-hour walk from home. We shared wondrous tales of travel, along with rum and gin, until the wee hours - almost 10:00 p.m. You just can't find this type of people at guest houses or the horribly expensive one and two star hotels of the world
We slept last night with the door to our balcony open - some hostels do have 'em - but it wasn't until this morning that Jagath, the lawyer/owner of Hotel 26D, told us that we must always keep the door closed when we're out, or sleeping. Monkeys like to climb in through such openings and pilfer whatever is available. It's not because they have any real use for tourist's clothing or gadgets, Jagath explained, they just do it because they can.
Yesterday I broached the topic with Jagath of how kind and friendly the Sri Lankan people are given that they've just gone through 30 years of war. He explained that the people are who they are because of their Buddhist faith. And I believed him. The Buddhist Burmese and Thais are quite similar in their attitude.
Last night we went to a traditional Sri Lankan dance ceremony. Walking along the shore of Lake Kandy on route to the ceremony, two young lads stopped us for a chat
Today, we take the 12:50 p.m. train to Colombo. We shelled out a few extra rupees for the inter-city express train. After paying, we learned that the fast track will take us only three hours to get there ... the whole 110 kilometres.
Real time: Horrible www connections have caused blog delays.
Elenka was weak kneed and I had a headache from the heat of our train car to Colombo. So we decided to take a tuk-tuk, rather than the bus, to Negombo Beach, fifty kilometres north. I hammered out a deal with the driver, and off we went. First, he had to put air in his tires; then he had to stop at a gas station for a crap, ten minutes later he had to stop at another gas station for gas. When we arrived in Negombo town he wanted to drop us off probably five kilometres from the beach where we wanted to go. He said he could take us to the beach, but we would have to pay extra. For the past two-and-a-half weeks I'd been lulled to complacency by the friendly Sri Lankans
We went back-and-forth on the issue for maybe ten kilometres. Finally, he turned his head, smiled and said, "Okay, we go to beach."
It wasn't much of an argument, but I did manage to get a decent adrenalin buzz.
We leave Sri Lanka in two days. The people and their country are magnificent. I only wish we'd have come five years ago, before the European horde arrived.