Tag Archives: hotel

Mike Cathy and Katja in Sri Lanka Part 1 out of 7

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.

Carmageddon?

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!

Sri Lanka or Bust! asia-map

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

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Mike Cathy and Katja in Sri Lanka Part 2 out of 7

welcome to paradise!

“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.”
Rudyard Kipling

This quote by Rudyard Kipling couldn’t be truer! A good friend of mine always said, every country has a distinct smell. Not something I had paid too much attention until then but after he told me this, I started noticing that each country has a very distinct smell. I am not being rude or disrespectful, it is just something you notice…or I do anyway.

Waking up in Paradise colombo

Sri Lanka is 2.5 hours ahead of Qatar, I had one phone which had set itself automatically, my other one hadn’t and neither had Cathy’s phone. We had set the alarm for 11 am; we had gone to bed at 4 am after all. By 8 am we were awake and ready to explore our immediate surroundings before being picked up at 11:30 to go to our main Hotel in Waduwa. we hadn’t noticed any of our surroundings before going to bed; come on, after all, it was 4am and pitch black. We realised at this point that we hadn’t really stayed in a hotel but a house which is rented out, we were the only people staying there. It was basic as I remembered from a few hours earlier before going to bed but at least it was clean(ish). The chap who met us earlier on was already there and wandering around the place. It was at this point which I noticed how friendly everyone is. There were a few maintenance people there too. First thing he did was apologise as there was no electricity at the moment, something I hadn’t noticed but also didn’t really care about too much as I was simply amazed by our surroundings. We walked up to the water’s edge, we were mesmerized by the wildlife as well as greenery all around. Yes, it was basic but truly beautiful. As we chatted away with our host (man on motorbike from the night before) we were joined by a fisherman on his very simple boat, I politely declined the offer of jumping on the boat with him as we had to have breakfast and head off, otherwise, I would have been very tempted to do so!

Breakfast was provided by the restaurant next door, I must admit it was a bit of a weird breakfast as all they had was sandwiches, but hey ho, it was food. a little later I popped over to the restaurant to buy some water for our trip, it was at this point in which I failed to check on currency conversion and accepted the price told….big mistake! I had been warned to be on my guard when it came to prices as they will try and pull a fast one if they can. In western terms I had a bargain, in local terms, I had been overcharged considerably, lesson learnt.

Driving to Waduwa

Our driver picked us up not long after breakfast and we were back on the road. The drive to Waduwa took us on the expressway and then a little across country which gave us an opportunity to take in some of the sites. Mile after mile we were falling in love more and more with the place. Its beauty, its smells and everything about it, we simply fell in love with.

Welcome to the River View Hotel DSC06047

We arrived at our hotel about an hour and a bit later. To one side there was wide river and at the far end the sea, perfect combination! We received a warm Sri Lankan welcome by friendly and helpful staff, we immediately felt at home. We were shown to our rooms and soon settled in. The room was basic but it had air con and an en-suite, had our own terrace to the front leading to beautifully manicured and well kept gardens with a wide variety of shrubs and trees.

We had a look around and familiarized ourselves with our surroundings; then sat and had some food in the restaurant accompanied by several Lion Beers, what a great way to start our holiday!

Part III – Exploring Waduwa and Panadura