11th – 15th April 2016
On Monday I flew Goa – Mumbai and then Mumbai – Colombo where I arrived at around 9pm. Walking through the airport I felt instantly relaxed – don’t get me wrong India was great but I never felt fully comfortable. Went and got my visa which was soooo easy compared to India (sensing a theme here?), collected my bags and went to meet Jay and Shan, my friend Sas’s cousins who were picking me up from the Airport which was really nice of them.
First impressions of Sri Lanka were – ITS SO HOT. I mean I thought India was hot but the heat is somthing else it’s unbearable (not that I’m moaning or anything ;)) I also couldn’t believe how clean and developed it was. Coming from India where no one drives in their own lane, the roads are lined with people living on the street and ramshackled homes and shops and LOTS of rubbish it was quite refreshing.
Each place I get too I have three things to sort out once I land: 1. Get a SIM card, 2. Get some local currency and 3. Make sure my plug adaptor works. On the way to the hotel we stopped at a couple of ATM’s and my card wouldn’t work at any of them.. Uh oh. I decided I would sort it out the next day as I didn’t actually need any money that night. When we arrived at the hotel Jay and Shan had already got me a SIM card for my phone so we tried to put that in but it wouldn’t fit.. I was thinking Ok I can use wifi until I get a new sim tomorrow it’s fine. Went to take my bags up to the room and guess what? My plug adaptor didn’t fit. The three things I really needed and I had none of them. Okkkk time to start panicking now!! Hot and fed up we decided to go and get a beer as it was now about 11.30 and there was nothing I could do until the morning. Great start!
The next morning I was up at 7 and on a mission to get everything sorted. I found the nearest ATM and once again my travel cash card wouldn’t work but luckily my normal bank card did so I used this to draw out some money. Then I found a hardware store that sold plug adopters.. Brilliant! I decided to leave the SIM card as I am only here for a week and the wifi at the hotel is pretty good. Jay also gave me a spare phone with a sim in that I could use to contact them so that was that sorted!
I went for a walk down to the beach and it was so beautiful, it stretches out for miles and miles. After a while I headed back to the hotel as it was really really hot! Had a bit of lazy day and just stayed in at the hotel. About 8 I realised I hadn’t eaten anything in about 26 hours so went a grabbed a Burger King hahaha as my hotel was so quiet no one was around to go out to dinner with.
Wednesday morning me and a girl from my dorm decided to go out and see a few temples as it was the Sinhalese New Year. We got a tuk tuk to a Buddhist temple in Bellanwila called Rajamaha Viharaya. Before we went in we brought some flowers to lay in the temple as an offering. As we were walking around I suddenly spotted an elephant.. At first I was like oh my god oh my GOD OH MY GOD and ran over but then saw it had massive chains around its legs.. Not cool. I went over to speak to the man who was with her and ask why she was chained up but he just kept saying ‘no worry she is fine she is fine’ anyway her name was Monica and she was so beautiful. I got to touch her and the man kept telling me to take pictures but I didn’t as I don’t agree with them being chained up, she should be in the wild or a sanctuary! As we were about to leave we were suddenly aware of a commotion going on and looked around to see a man being dragged away by security whilst being beaten with sticks. A local came over and told us that he had brought alcohol into the temple… I understand no alcohol being allowed but to drag him away beating him was horrific and literally made my blood run cold. We decided to quickly leave and as were were walking out could still hear him screaming…
Luckily the next temple was a lot nicer hahaha! We stumbled across this beautiful little Buddhist temple that was tucked away. One of the monks showed us around and the girl I was with had loads and loads and I mean loads of questions so we ended up staying there for over an hour. As we were about to leave he asked if we would stay and have some lunch – they layed out so many dishes for us to try it was so good! Because of the new year everything was closed so we headed back to the hotel where a tuk tuk driver tried to rip us off and kept going to the wrong place and then saying it would be another 100 rupees to the hotel, anyway he was unsuccessful as we eventually got him to drop us at the right place and we didn’t pay a penny more.
That night I was invited round to Shan’s families house for dinner to celebrate the Sinhalese New Year. It was so cool to see how other people celebrate new year (any things got to be better than England right?) Before we ate some of the family went round and gave money to each other – if your elder gives you money you must bow down to them. After this was done we sat down to eat; we had milk rice, curried chicken and a few other things which I can’t remember but it all tasted so nice! It was such a lovely evening and so kind of them to invite me round.
Thursday morning I went for a walk around Mount Lavinia where I am staying, it is such a pretty area and if you are in Colombo I would really recommend checking it out. In the afternoon Jay and Shan picked me up and we went for lunch at a seafood restaurant called Baraccudas. It was a lovely restuarsnt, right on the beach hidden amongst all the palm trees which was so nice as it meant shade!! The food was a m a z i n g and again if your ever in Colombo definitely check this place out! We had a mixture of dishes to share including fried cuttlefish in a garlic and ginger sauce, prawns in a garlic sauce, rice, spring rolls and another cuttlefish dish.
Friday we headed down to Galle for the day and Saturday morning me and Shan left Colombo and got the bus to Kurunegala which is about an hours drive from Kandy but I will tell you all about it in another post! Sri Lanka has been amazing so far and I’m gutted I only planned to stay here a week as there is so much more to do and see! I will definitely be back!!