Today we begin our long journey home, but not until much later; we leave for the airport at 9.30 pm. First a day in hot, dirty, polluted Colombo. We decide to pay for another night at the hotel so we don’t have to check out until evening.
After breakfast we plan a walk along Galle Face Green. It’s a British style seaside prom. There’s even a memorial from its opening by Sir Henry Ward in 1859 where it is ‘recommended to his successors in the interest of the ladies and children of Colombo’. Poor Henry would be turning in his grave if he could see it now; it’s a stinking mess of garbage and sewage and makes me long for the pristine beach of Bournemouth.
Next we head for the lake, in theory. In practice, the old man has counted that it’s 4th on the left on the map, but upon walking, he only counts the major roads. So we massively overshoot and have to double back. It’s very hot, so the extra walking is not appreciated. The lake is pretty (if you can look past the line of rubbish around the edge) and has two islands; one is
a Buddhist temple and the other a park.
We take a Tuk Tuk back to the hotel (thankfully our last of the trip). Again, the driver has no clue where he is going and we stop 4 times while he flags people down for directions.
We pause for a while in the Dutch Bar for a pitcher of beer to cool down and rehydrate. Then it’s back to our hotel for an $80 (the cost of a late checkout) nap.
The hotel has a cultural show on Thursdays in the road outside. It’s a selection of dances and martial arts performed to the rhythm of drums. It’s both entertaining and mesmerising. Added interest stems from watching cars trying to weave past the performers in the street. We watch until our taxi almost arrives to take us to the airport – I can see it stuck behind two men having a musical sword fight.
Colombo airport is being renovated during the day, so flights only operate at night. It feels strange to arrive at an airport in the middle of the night and it to be so busy. It’s our 12th flight and we haven’t been asked
to show airline tickets once before today, when we have to show them at two security points to even gain access to the airport. Luckily I find copies from the depths of our luggage and we are allowed in. Then there’s just two more security points and emigration between us and a plane to civilisation.
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