Saturday, June 4, 2011

First View, First Impression!

It would have been amazing if I could have posted a picture of my first sights of Sri Lanka but alas that was not possible due to the elderly couple sitting next to me in my flight from Chennai to Colombo. When the aircraft landed I was sure I would be able to see something of this pristine land. Hardly a glimpse I managed to catch before the high humidity outside caused the windows to mist up as if telling me to wait for the proper time. I walked down the aisle and onto an aerobridge of the Bandranaike International airport and yet I could not see anything outside. Finally after getting through with customs I went down the escalator and was greeted with a expansive view of the city ahead, Sri Jayawardenapura, the new capital of Sri Lanka. My ride from the airport to the Clarion Hotel took about 45 minutes and took me through Negombo,Welisara and Colombo to reach the outskirts of the Colombo city to an area called Kiribathgoda. This bustling suburb of Colombo holds the distinction of having one of the oldest Pizza Huts in the subcontinent, according to my taxi driver(I did not bother researching this aspect, so please dont quote me anywhere on this matter!!).
The weather has been merciful as it had rained the entire night yesterday. Humidity is the only downside. In fact everytime I walked out of a store, it would become more sultry. By evening it was wonderful which is when I decided to explore further. I walked about a mile and for some reason Kiribathgoda has a lot of shops selling footwear. In any case, I bought myself a pair of rubber slippers.

Lunch at the Tulips Restaurant in the hotel itself was standard fare and I was longing to leave the hotel as soon as possible and roam a little bit into the bustling Kiribathgoda town to find something more authentic. I wasn't disappointed as a vegetarian as there was a pure vegetarian restaurant just a short walk from the hotel. Oddly, this restaurant only provided soy products. A small mom and pop store, it provided me the best food I had the entire day for a fraction of the price of my other meals.
Handling Sri Lankan rupees was quite tedious. Since the Sri Lankan currency shares its name with the Indian currency as well, I was quite worried by the prices that most people were quoting for everything. Eventually I realized that each Indian rupee is twice as much as an LKR(lankan rupee). Made me feel wealthier for a little while.
Tomorrow, I will be driven down to Galle where I will commence my volunteer work at a rural school teaching kids various subjects including English. More updates and photos of the sights tomorrow!!

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