sri lanka or bust!
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”
John A. Shedd
Our mosquito bites since our trip to Australia hadn’t even healed yet but once again Katja and I found ourselves in another airport ready to visit another country we hadn’t been to before. The difference this time was that we were traveling as a family with Cathy. In fact, you could probably say we were traveling as a rather large family as most of Qatar Academy seem to be on the same flight. For some bizarre and unplanned reason, traveling as a family is relatively rare for us. For some inexplicable reason we tend to travel separately and meet up in our intended destination, it usually ends up happening that I drive and pick the girls up from an airport and go on from there.
This mini holiday was a countrywide holiday which meant that every man and his dog were on a week’s holiday and more than likely traveling somewhere out of Qatar as is usually the case. Cathy finished a tad early from school so we could make our way to the airport with plenty of time. I had already booked Jamaal quite a few days earlier to make sure we got him first. We left home at 15:45 (flight time was 19:30 hrs or thereabouts). We hit the road and just before the roundabout we realised we hadn’t packed our return flight tickets, so it was back home to pick them up. Once you hit the dual carriageway by the compound it’s a bit of a pain to go back, but that’s what we had to do. Soon after we were back on the road and as usual and as expected, we hit heavy traffic soon after. However, much to our surprise, as soon as we hit the ring road it seemed to fizzle out and made it to the airport in about the same length of time as normal which meant we were there quite early!
We met with numerous people from Qatar Academy at the departure lounge as well as with our traveling companions, Eric, Alyssia and baby Bryce (10 months old). We had mentioned to them about coming to Sri Lanka with us after one of our camping trips, we are glad we did as they were great people to travel with. We waited in the departure lounge ready to board our flight chatting and starting to enjoy the start of an adventure. It was all great other than a Belgian family who decided to entertain their kids by playing silly games and having no respect for others there. This involved running around with them (the tags on their bags said Belgian, it’s not that I decided they were), even after several dirty looks from me after being bumped into by them they carried on…anyway.
Soon after, we boarded our flight and were once again up in the air. It was an OK flight other than poor service by the cabin crew and not having any children’s meal for Katja which was a disappointment for her. We have done a lot of flying over the years and cabin crew has always been very good in most airlines, best one so far has to be Etihad and the worst crew award goes to a certain Hungarian airline we had the displeasure of having to fly with on many occasions when living in Eastern Europe. Anyway, cabin crew on this flight was far from great!
Welcome to Sri Lanka
We landed in Colombo bang on time, just a small matter of going through immigration, collecting our suitcases and meet up with our driver (we had one booked). The driver was there as agreed and soon set off to our first hotel which was (meant to be) approximately 2 km from there. We left the airport and one of the two very noticeable things was how dark the streets were and oh, hang on, they drive on the left hand side like in the UK (this made us feel at home right away!). The main road turned into a smaller road and then eventually into a dark narrow lane. At this point I was beginning to feel a little concerned. The driver seemed to have no idea where we were going (neither did we) and this was now certainly a lot further than 2 km. After a couple of hundred yards, we reached a big gate and a dead end. The driver sat there tooting his horn but to no avail. (it was approximately 3 am by now). he made a couple of phone-calls and we were eventually joined by someone on a motorbike. I must admit I did feel a little uneasy, had we just been kidnapped or something? The driver made a very tight 300 point turn and we were back onto the sort of main road. Not long after, we were back on another narrow track with another gate at the end. This time our escort on his motorbike opened the gate which lead into a courtyard and then through another gate to a parking lot. We had arrived…..not sure where but we had arrived somewhere.
The man on the bike introduced himself and soon put us (me) at ease. we were shown to our accommodation which was basic but by now it was pushing 4 am, all I wanted was a bed. The bed wasn’t exactly comfortable but who cares, the worse bit of it was it absolutely stank of bug spray and chemicals, as did the pillows.
Part II – Waking up in Paradise