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Published: August 7th 2018
So this is the start of my 4 week experience working In Sri Lanka. I must say, Sr Lankan Airlines provide a painless experience. The flight went in a flash. So much easier to sit for 10 1/2 hours rather than the usual 13 to Singapore etc. Boarding was interesting. The announcement said please remain seated until your row number is called. Everyone immediately stood up. I was in 22,meaning one of the last. The seats are 2-4-2, and I was quite disappointed to have a buddy next to me, although he was a very p9lite medical student going home to visit his family. He shook my hand, bless. Everyone I’ve met so far has been unfailingly polite.
On arrival I was disappointed that the immigration officer took no notice at all of my business visa, just stamped me through without a glance. And the stamp is not an interesting one. Bags took ages as there were many. Coming out there are money changers right in front of you, the rate seemed fine at 203 rupees to the pound. I asked for small notes and got a few 5000s but the hotel gladly changes them. Clutching a huge wadge I
saw my driver holding a card with my name, so did not have to employ Plan B, which was the 197 bus to the city and then a tuktuk. I saw where the buses were, turn left as you come out of arrivals, and saw a bus en route. It would be an easy thing to do and there were a lot of backpackers around. Sorry not to be one of them this time, although of course financially coming here for work is an attractime option!
I asked if I could sit in the front and we sort of chatted for the hour long journey. The freeway was empty and he drove like a snail. Once we hit the city it was busy, tuktuk, buses, motorbikes, lorries. But if you are brave/mad, changing lanes I’d possible. The cab booked for me Was a Kangaroo cab, more reasonable apparently than the ones which hang about outside the hotel. The agreed price was 3200r. No idea if this is reasonable. The bus is about £1. The driver had worked as a housekeeper/driver/handyman in Hong Kong where the pay is much better but came back as he has 3 small children. His
English level was perfectly good enough for us to have a conversation.
The Cinnamon Grand is.......grand! It’s the one my company uses, if I was here for myself I wouldn’t be spending 130$ on room and breakfast, I’d be in a private room in the Clock Inn , 40$. But hey ho, mustn’t grumble! Too many services for me, including a turn down/chocolate thing which happens in the evening which I have CANCELLED! Not relaxing to think that any time someone could knock on the door when I could be in the shower or dossing about in my undies. I cancelled it yesterday but he came anyway. I took the chocolates but didn’t let him in! The room had welcome fruit in it, just for the first day I guess. Very spacious and quiet. I asked for a high floor and got the 6th with a view of the rooftop pool (the other on the ground floor is nicer) and the sea, between the buildings. I had a quick meeting and then knocked on the door of a colleague who has been sick with a flu thing.
There are so many restaurants and bars here in the hotel.
Centre of the Cinnamon Grand, being set up for a wedding.
Prices look OK compared to the UK, the noodle place has mains for £10, but there are cheaper options in the shopping mall next door and apparently you can eat there safely. See pics of stalls and prices. To get to the mall is super easy but don’t get too excite, it’s very small. Turn left out of the hotel and there it is, attached. There are 2 ATMs which were in working order. Inside the shops looked clean and dull. Clark’s shoes. #shudders! Down the escalating there is a supermarket and the food court. The supermarket was good for snacks and fruit, and has a lot of western brands like Heinz tomato ketchup.
Too too tired to go out and it was dark at 6. Exploring can wait until tomorrow.
Breakfast was amazing. A 10 minutes walk round the buffet revealed Unknown Items as well as the usual western fare. I had curry and egg hopper, a bit pointless the latter apart from the egg part. The curry was delicious. I was disconcerted not to get a good spot for lunch concealing and in the end had to Just Do It, or eat the rolls I’d made.
Plan for tomorrow is to sit in the window section, less obvious. Back to the room and the guy was in the process of making it up, I said not to hurry and sat at the desk. He practically raced round, poor thing, and i was depressed to see that the sheets and towels are changed every day, that huge bed I only slept on a little bit of! I tried to talk to him about it but he looked all worried, like I was saying he wasn’t doing his job properly, so left it. No note here asking if you want clean towels, you get them anyway. And he tried to leave me 2 more bottles of water when I hadn’t used the ones from yesterday. Hope the message got through on that one.
A day by the pool after a 10 minute deluge. WiFi works everywhere. Trying to remember I’m not here for a holiday. It’s my rest day before starting tomorow.
More when I’ve had a chance to explore. Woohoo, how lucky am I!
PS CAREFUL WITH DATA USE. My phone contract with 3 lets me use my data etc here with no extra
Cakes in the coffee shop in the lobby, macaroons are £1.
charge. Yesterday afternoon I had a text saying I’d used £5.32 outside my allowance. I called them and they said that happen sometimes when you arrive by ferry. Had I been on a ferry? No, you dougnnut, I just said I’d arrived at the AIRPORT! No problem, they will take it off my bill.
Tot: 2.731s; Tpl: 0.071s; cc: 11; qc: 56; dbt: 0.061s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb