Sri Lanka 1: Toronto to Colombo to Anuradhapura

THAT…..  That took a while.

Let it be known that I was under no misconceptions about how long it would take to get from Point A to Point B on this trip.  I mean, Expedia basically tells you the length of all your flights, so 25 hours of flying and layovers served as no shock.  HOWEVER, I grossly underestimated how exhausted we’d be by the time we touched down in Colombo.
Now, before we get to getting where we are now, a couple of airport and flight notes.
1) Jet Airways was pretty darn awesome, maybe the best food I’ve ever had on an airline, decent entertainment options and great service.  Sure, the pond-jumper between Mumbai and Colombo was a bit cramped, and every plane came with a crying baby, but the former was to be expected and the latter just happens some times.  So great flights.
2) Brussels Airport is basically a long glass box that gets humid and gross when it’s hot outside, as it was when we were passing through.  Not the best.  Also, airport water bottle prices in Euros.  Ouch.
3) Mumbai’s new international airport is AMAZING, complete with gardens, a waterfall a spa, Hindu art, gates and escalators made up to look like temples, and good eats.  And, unlike almost every other airport in the world, they don’t seem to want to fleece you.  We also had a “celebrity sighting”, as “some guy that I recognized from either a Bollywood movie or music video” and his friends were getting photos taken with various fans.  Again, no idea who he was but memorable face.  So it was kind of neat to watch people lose their shit to varying degrees.
Touching down in Colombo was pretty easy, aside from being shuffled from one visa line to the other.  D and I hooked up our visas though their ETA service ( http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/) and got through customs and into baggage in a little under twenty minutes.  Changed money, figured out a SIM card and then, of course, there was the prerequisite “Do you need a taxi?”
Original plan involved getting from the airport to Colombo Fort railway station and taking the train to Anuradhapura.  This would have involved an hour and a half taxi to Fort, waiting for a train that may be standing room only at 8:50, and then getting into Anurahapura around 2 in the afternoon.  The cab from the airport would be about 3000 rupees, and the train ticket a few hundred.   Meanwhile, a car to Anuradhapura would cost us 9000 rupees for a four hour drive.  
I “slept” for maybe two of the 25 hours we spent flying and Daina started to get a pretty solid migraine, so if there was a time to splurge a bit on the budget, this was it.  
Our driver was a guy named Risi, and he was pretty solid, got us where we wanted to go, didn’t run into any of the crazy drivers on the road – spoiler alert, some people drive like crazy here – and talked to us a little about the social history of the island before we ended up in Anuradhapura at around 10 am.  At which point we slept.  Pretty ride, not the biggest first day we’ve ever had in terms of sights, but considering how darn tired we were, good to go.
Tomorrow, temples and/or monasteries, and the possibility of seeing a very old tree.  More later!

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