Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sri Lanka

My first break from the rigors of school brought me on vacation to Sri Lanka, a country I admittedly knew very little about. A large group of people from my school were headed there, so it seemed like a good place to go and unwind. The plan was to spend a lot of time on the beach and just relax.

Most people I knew started off in Hikkaduwa, a beach town a couple hours south of the capital Columbo. To be different, and to get a chance to venture out on my own I went my separate way at the airport. Instead, I went to a smaller beach town even further south, Mirrisa.

I arranged before hand for a driver to pick me up and take me to the place I was staying. I could not find anyone holding a sign with my name despite there being so many named. I figure I didn't confirm in time, so I needed to explore other options. I walked out of the airport and someone asked me where I was going and offered to take me for 10,000 rupees. I did the conversion rate in my head (although I was converting from rupees to KD and then from KD to $USD, so not overly accurate) and determined he didn't want too much if any more than the driver that was supposed to pick me up.

Off we went, and after maybe a minute he took out a piece of paper and looked up Mirrisa. He had made a mistake, Mirrisa should be 11,000 rupees. It annoyed me a little as I felt like he may be trying to take advantage of me, but I continued on anyways. I figured he just wouldn't get a tip. Then we arrived at a gas station and it seemed like he wanted me to pay for gas as well. He saw that I was annoyed and asked for the 11,000 rupee at that time. Fair enough, I guess. I was not giving him another rupee though.

After that I saw the good side of Sri Lankans. The cab driver ended up being super nice. I had no idea where in Mirrisa my accommodation was, just that it was in Mirrisa. He took me to an internet cafe where I looked in my e-mail, he took the phone number and called the guy directly for me, and then took me right where I needed to go without asking for anything more. I also did not have any small bills and the internet guy could not make change so was allowed to check that e-mail for free.

The ride in was interesting. I was very tired so was falling in and out of sleep. It wasn't overly busy out because of how early in the morning it was, but there were still a lot of people and vehicles on the road. I woke up several times to us being on the wrong side of the road and headed straight for a giant bus, just to move out of the way at the last second in order to pass a tuk tuk or scooter.

The thing that stood out most to me was all the green. Especially coming from the desert in Kuwait. Perhaps it has something to do with how it rained in a 5 second span there more then it has in the 2 months I have been in Kuwait?

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