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This post is a little long and rambling. I've left out stuff that should go in, and I'll edit it later. Just needed to get most of it down.
So for Christmas, my parents were going to Sri Lanka. Lana's never been, nor met most of my rellies. Last time I went I was 15 (so 17 years ago). So off we decided to go.
Plan was a couple of days in Colombo for a big family christmas with the extended family, fuck off down south to laze around on a beach for a few days, then back to Colombo for another week of catching up with everyone.
To start with, I will never ever fly Sri Lanka Airlines again. Only people who fly direct to Sri Lanka though. We bordered the plane an hour late, and were then stuck on the tarmac for another 4 hours. This was due to non of the toilets working. Of course they kept on handing out free drinks. I ended up sneaking in and pissing in the sink.
Apart from that, the airline itself was fine.
And the day before I had the runs and was throwing up, due to a bad reaction to the swine flu vaccine.
Got to the other end, out the doors into the chaos that is Sri Lanka. They are recently recovering from a civil war, so tourism is down. So the touts are fairly aggressive. And for whatever reason, not once was I mistaken for a local. This is the first time that's ever happened to me. Normally I blend right in.
Airport is a good hour away from Colombo. My cousin had a car pick us up, and off we were whisked to the number 1 hotel in Colombo, Cinammon Grand. This hotel was fantastic. Huge entrance room, live band playing, a dude making crepes. Complimentary drink on arrival, the whole nine yards. And dirt cheap. Think we paid $US55 a night, including breakfast. And breakfast was great. Both Sri Lankan and Western & Japanese, all you can eat.
Christmas lunch was good. Apart from my cousin, no-one else knew me and Lana were coming, so it was a surprise. Just a usual day of lazing around, eating and drinking too much.
After that, we headed down south to Weligama. About a 4 hour drive. Stayed at a place called Weligama Bay Resort. Owned by a Czech couple. The resort was in a great location, own pretty much private beach, with soft waves. Which was why I picked it, so Lana wouldn't get swept out to sea. Only downside, was a bit of a hike to any stores, no real other places to eat around there. Plus while it's been open for a year, they hadn't got everything down. For example, they run out of towels a few times, still trying to fine tune the menus. But when they had BBQ's for dinner, with a view of the ocean, you could put these minor complaints to rest. Fresh lobster whacked on the BBQ. Delicious.
And the room itself was huge. The only other downside was there were no blinds for the curtains, just those roman slat blinds. So I was getting woken up pretty early.
The hotel was also very expensive for Sri Lanka. Cheap compared to anywhere else in the world, expensive for there. All in all I wouldn't recommend it.
Here's a picture of Lana asleep....at about noon...
And some cows just wandering past the beach.
Lana was also highly amused at the fact the resort had a bunch of Russians there. She did end up swearing at some of them who were having a late night party on the balcony. The balconies are also cheaply done, no walls between apartments, just a blind. So if one person is noisy, the whole row can hear.
One day we did a trip to Galle. An old Dutch Fort town.
Just did a bit of wandering around.
Lana bought some old (200+ year) dutch coins. At a vastly inflated price. But hey, who cares?
Did a walk around the wall, which was pretty cool. Then ended up at some military festival. Finally got some groceries, and bought some fireworks. Which at a later date I took great pleasure in shooting them at lana while she was swimming Bloody hilarious when she stormed out of the water to yell at whoever was doing it, only to realise it was me.
Went out to Udawalawe National Park.
On the way there, saw this cool 50 foot Buddha statue.
Great trip, got in a 4wd, drove around with a tracker looking for animals. Saw lots of elephants. Even had one baby one charge the car. The driver gunned the engine to scare him off, then he turned around and tried to kick the car.
At one point the 4wd drive got stuck. I debated getting out to push, but decided my sitting on the back wheels for extra weight was probably best.
The funny bit is the place we got stuck, we spent 30 minutes helping another car get out. Of course Lana said we'd get stuck, of course we did.
Also saw lots of peacocks, a few eagles, a turtle or 2, a hyena, a wild cat, spotted deer, and prob a few more I missed. Great trip.
That was about it for Weligama. Mainly a lazy, get your bones warm before London week. I did teach Lana how to surf....well enough that she caught 2 waves
On the way back to Colombo we stopped off at a turtle hatchery. Basically these places buy/find turtle eggs, hatch them and release back in the wild.
There's a lot of security checkpoints in Colombo. Mainly get your passport checked and away you go. 90% of the time if they saw Lana's white face they would wave us through (unless the President was in residence). So I had great fun telling Lana to poke her white face out the window. Mainly as I'm normally the only brown face on our trips.
Back in Colombo. My mum arranged with the hotel for some goldfish to be in our room instead of the fruit bowl.
She even named them "Bonnie and Clyde".
Sounds like a good idea? Except they didn't change water, so one ended up dying. Leaving Lana rather upset.
New Years Eve had an all you can eat sea food buffet. Which was good value for £25.
But it was a "poya" day, or a buddhist holy day on New Years Eve. Which meant no booze until midnight. My Dad and mate kept running back to the hotel room for a quick nip. I ended up eating too much, that as soon as midnight came and I skulled a beer, my guts felt like they would explode. Plus I was taking immodium due to a bad reaction to the swine flu vaccine.
Next day headed off for a wander around town. I kept getting busted just strolling through military checkpoints without showing any id.
Ended up on some peddle boat swans. These peddle boats always seem cooler than they are. Too much hard work peddling.
Ended up in a buddhist temple. Cool King Elephant outside. King Elephants need to have 7 points touch the ground, 4 legs, tail, tusks and penis.
Now I was slightly pissed at the buddhist due to them stopping me getting pissed on New Years. But then we went into the temple. The head monk gave me and Lana a present. It was a picture of the buddha, lucky coin, 20 rupee note, 1 $US dollar picture of the buddha and some scripture. Which was cool. $1US dollar is prob the equiv in buying power of $US10 over there, so I was happy again. I do rather like the buddhists (apart from the reincarnation stuff). So ended up at the airport buying a few books on buddhism to read.
Back to the Hotel. Fantastic chaos going on again inside. Some dancers going on.
Final big trip, a trip to Pinnawala elephant orphanage and the Temple of the Tooth.
Not at the orphanage, my Dad tried to sneak me in as a local. Locals pay 100 rupees. Tourists pay 2000 rupees. Didn't work. They picked me straight away. I acted dumb, Dad tried to say I was a student (a great damn big one). I kept my mouth shut, but we ended up paying the 2000.
Orphanage was great. They feed the baby elephants, then take them down to the river to bathe. They just wander around playing. Spent a good 2 hours watching them.
Then we found a place that had elephant rides. Lana wanted to ride one.
Granted she wanted to ride one, but she was petrified on top. So she's in front of me, my cousin Shamara is behind me. Lana's screaming at me to hold on to her, Shamara is hanging on behind me for dear life. Was rather amusing. Good fun though.
Here's the youtube video of a bit. Lana screaming at me to hold her.
Temple of the tooth was a bit of a let down. 1000 (£5) rupees to get in. But you don't get to see much.
And that's about it. Lots of other family dinner's and get togethers. But I don't think anyone wants to read that apart from me Good to catch up with ppl I haven't seen in over 15 years.
Lana reckons it was the best holiday she's had. I'd rank it up there in the top 5.
BTW, there's also lots more pics on facebook.
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