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Published: August 16th 2018
Commuter train heading into Colombo Fort Station
So every day has been off to work by taxi and back by tuktuk, or today, as I finished early, it was time to give the local bus a go. My colleagues were finishing ,after and prefer the far more relaxing option of a taxi home too. I am determined to try every transport option going. The taxi this morning took a detour over to the beach road, as it was rammed on the one way system. The train line runs between the road and the sea, and a commuter train came by, literally with people hanging out of the doorways. It was amazing to see. The sea has been very rough the whole time I’ve been here so far and now is the start of the rainy season.
I’ve been practising the head wobbling (ear towards shoulder) which seems to mean either I Get It or No Problem or Yes, according to the office ladies. It doesnt mean No or I Don’t Know, although it looks like it might. It’s really hard to do quickly. I feel like a right numpty trying!
i asked the office ladies a million questions about the bus procedure. It didn’t seem too
hard. Get on at the front or back. Pay the conductor about 20 rupees. Ring the bell when you want to get off. And after 5pm they are super busy and it would mean standing and jostling. 2.30 seemed an OK time for my maiden voyage. I headed off walking towards the centre to find a bus stop. They look like you’d imagine but there is no information on them. I’d seen a number 100 going from outside the hotel and my workplace, so that seemed like a safe bet. Along it came, about half full. I could sit at the front. Nobody took any notice of me, which was a little disappointing. I offered the ticket man 20r and said Crescat Mall and he took it. It seemed to be the right amount, 10p! I need to say Kollupitya, the area the hotel is in. I didn’t get a ticket though, so I will just have to Let It Go on my expenses. It was worth it for the experience! Also there was no bell to ring for getting off, but this wasn’t a problem at all, but it might be if it was packed and you were squished
in the middle. The bus was ancient and grubby and the driver was like something out of a dark episode of Harry Potter, the gear stick was about 4 feet long. He honked loudly just before each stop, although it looked like if the bus stopped anywhere you could just get on or off. But he got cross if he was about to move off and people were still trying to get on. I got off at a zebra crossing just before the hotel, triumphant. Definitely I’ll do it tomorrow too. Safe as houses inside, nothing on the road argues with those babies. They do what they want!
Last night I carried on past the hotel in my tuktuk as it looked like I could make a timely arrival for happy hour at the Galle Face Hotel. The actual timing of this seems to change depending on who you ask, but it was 4.50 pm and we’d been tod it was 4-5.30. The waiter did ask me what time it was. Happy hour time, buster, that’s what time! I ordered 2 glasses of Pinot Grigio. At the same time??? Yes please, I said, and some ice to go with
it, which came in an ice bucket with a snowy serviette and a pair of little tong thingies. I was well happy, apart from the snacks they serve are When Crisps Go Wrong, to quote my colleague, James, he of a witty turn of phrase. You could see a wall of rain coming in from the sea so there was a lot of scurrying around to drop the plastic curtains. It was apocalyptic for about 10 minutes and then all was calm again.
Finishing early again tomorrow and then a weekend off, plans to visit the Gangaramaya Temple, walk around the large and go to the posh shops at Independence Square. Maybe the market.
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