I must be honest with you, when ever I saw an Air India plane, I had every stereotype in my head as to what the onboard experience would be like. I imagined as soon as I boarded, my nostrils would be assaulted with the smell of stale curry and someone with questionable body odour sitting next to me. Maybe a Bollywood dance or two don the aisle? In fact they had one of my favourite economy services. The drink cart consisted of water, juice or whisky! So another whisky and coke to set me in a pleasant mood.
As meal service commenced, mine was popped on my tray before anyone else’s. For the first time I indulged in a special meal request. I did get an odd look when the cabin crew placed my “Oriental Vegetarian Meal” or (OVML for the airline geeks!) in front of the white girl. Now I enjoyed the fresh Indian dishes during my time in India but I was not going to endure airline Indian food and of course, had to go veg to make sure my stomach was safe!
As we started our decent into Colombo I saw the most welcoming sight, palm trees! Nothing but lush, green palm trees. I hadn’t seen such colour in weeks! As I got off the plane, the excitement of a new country tingled through me. I made my way through the duty-free. I big smile on my face as I had not been in a retail setting for some time now and for a brief moment I didn’t feel like a dirty backpacker. What bought a bigger smile to my face was what I saw in they duty free…… white goods! Fridges, washing machines and dryers! I had never seen anything like it. I just wanted a Toblerone!
I collected my bag and set myself up with some cash and organised a car to my hotel in Negombo where I am staying for a few nights to relax and decompress from tour life. Very dark storm clouds were closing in. A late afternoon storm was imminent. I was a bit concerned when we pulled up at there was scaffolding across the hotel entrance. Luckily it turns out they were just renovating the entrance. My room was basic, but it was nice and large with a fan and air con. It had a balcony and a great view of the ocean.
I had some dinner downstairs. There wasn’t anyone else eating as it was still earlyish. I had the nicest fish and chips. The fish tasted so fresh. Of course it was accompanied by a local Sri Lankan beer. After dinner, I got settled in bed and watched a movie on my laptop as I listened to the rain.
The next day, I had a lovely sleep in. I thought I would go out and explore the neighbourhood a little. As I got out to the main road, I encountered a man touting for tours and transport. I did have to organise transport to Colombo train station, which was an hour away, for Sunday. We negotiated a rate and shook hands. I was quite pleased with myself getting things organised early. I started my walk down the main road. A lot of places where closed and it was hot, like really humid hot. I was dripping with sweat. I thought why in hell am I walking around all hot and bothered when there was a pool and beers back at the hotel?
I retreated back to the hotel and set myself up with a sun lounger, a beer and my kindle under a palm tree. When I would start to get uncomfortable, I would cool off in the pool whilst staring off in the distance into the ocean. It was peaceful and needed. Unfortunately the serenity was broken with some drops of rain. I headed back to my room. I wasn’t too bummed about the weather, it gave me time to start working on this blog. I had a great little desk looking out to the water.
That night I went out to dinner to a place I passed on my morning walk, Mr Crab. I ordered a garlic butter crab. Now I am not sure what keeps compelling me to order crab, as in the past I have been disappointed eating them. You just don’t get a lot of meat for the hard work you put in. This one though was so good. The flavour was amazing. Meal times can sometimes be boring eating alone, so I found myself quite entertained with wrestling with my crab! Safe to say, he didn’t stand a chance and was unrecognisable when I was finished!
My last full day in Negombo was pretty much like the day before, swim, read and write. I did head out to get some snacks for the train ride tomorrow to Kandy. On my way out I ran into the guy who I had the transport arrangement with. He asked I part pay to ensure I was still going to use him. I also grabbed a business card from him, as silly me forgot to get contact details. Again we agreed, 7am tomorrow morning.
After my few lazy days, I was looking forward to moving from the coast to the mountains to my next destination, Kandy.
I headed down to the lobby and checked out and waited for my car. I was 10 minutes early just incase my driver was. I don’t like rushing or to keep people waiting. So I waited, and waited. 10 minutes past pick up time and I started to get concerned. I went back to the desk and asked nicely if they could help me out and call the number on the business card I was given, and this is where things started to go downhill very quickly! The business card was for the owner of the transport company who had no idea about the pick up. Turns out, the guy who had the card was not employed by them…..I had been scammed! Luckily it was only $10 but now I didn’t have a ride and my train was leaving in 75 minutes! The owner managed to track down a driver and send him to pick me up. We took the freeway (more toll costs) but no other cars. I may have threatened the driver that if I missed my train, he wasn’t getting paid! I was impressed when we arrived at the station with 20 minutes to spare. I paid him the full amount, including the amount that I had already “pre paid”. It wasn’t this guys fault and he had got me there in record time. I collected my ticket and found my platform. I started to relax. I am here, I am ready, next stop, Kandy.