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Published: February 7th 2020
Wednesday 5 February 2020 cont'd
A quiet afternoon, as we were both weary. I had a kip.
Lights out 10 pm.
Thursday 6 February, 2020
A reasonable night's sleep. Alarm set for 7.00 am. Both of us awake just before.
We packed and readied ourselves to leave. Our plan was to leave our suitcases at the rooms and travel light to the visa office.
A 10 minute walk to the Immigration offices. The area of Battaramulla, was all hustle and bustle.
We went through security and followed directions into the adjacent building up to the fourth floor.
We found the first desk we needed and they told us to go and stick our pictures on to our visa applications. Glue was provided! Back again and we were issued with a number to go and sit and wait.
The offices are kitted out with refreshment stands and coffee places.
After a while our number came up and we were directed to another office. We queued and went into that office, he took our passports and visa applications, wrote on our number ticket and told us to go to the payment counter.
At the payment counter you have to wait until your number comes up. Looking at our ticket it said the visa should be ready at 12.35 pm! Which is four hours from our arrival in the building.
More time passed and our number for paying came up. We paid by credit card the amount of USD108.00 (54 each).
On to the next waiting area, the number screen was broken, so they were shouting numbers out. We talked towards the end of our waiting with a girl from France. In due course our number came up and we had our visa's. The time was 11.30 am, so, three hours in total.
We took a Tuktuk back to Dumi's shelter to collect our luggage, then dragged them to the bus stop at the top of the road.
Our bus to Colombo fort train station came shortly and cost us LKR 74.00 (GBP 0.31) for two. At the train station we were directed to counter 17, again and bought our first class tickets to Aluthgama, costing LKR 400 each (GBP 3.36 each), which is the nearest station to our next location Bentota.
The next train was at 2.25 pm, which was perfect as we were queuing to buy our tickets at 1.00 pm.
Off to platform 5, for our train. As we had time, I went to visit the gents, which was amusing. They have toilets for Foreigners, ladies and gents, but they are locked. The key is with the station master, who is not far away. So I got the key, did my ablutions and returned it.
The station has some very dodgy characters about.
Train was on time. The first class compartment was excellent, filled with tourists. We sat in our allocated seats and away we went. The journey took just over an hour. The ticket guy was very smart in his uniform.
At the train station we tried to contact the room guy, but no joy. So, we took a Tuktuk to the house. Along the way we saw our first elephant, we were told it was one of two temple elephants.
We arrived and a lady came to the door. She rang her son and he turned up about 15 minutes later. We were shown the room and were unimpressed.
The guy, Rohan, also has a restaurant and offered to take us there in 20 minutes so we could get something to eat, we accepted, as this place was miles from anywhere, not as stated. We quickly showered and changed and went with Rohan and his mate in his minivan.
The restaurant was new and basic. We ordered chicken fried rice and chicken noodles. No alcohol, ginger beer and water. The food was fine.
Rohan showed us a beach bar where we could have free sunbeds, and then we left him.
There was a fairly long list of things we didn't like about the room, so between us had decided to move on if we could. Rohan was on the face of it being very accommodating, but it was very self-serving. Everything involved something he could make money out of us.
There were hotels all over this area, but things were spread out. Our thoughts on internet access in the room weren't hopeful, which would have helped us to research and make a booking.
As we walked down the beach there was a resort ahead of us. We tried to skirt round it to continue walking. We had to walk through hotel areas to get off the beach. At which point, I had a lightbulb moment and thought to ask about rooms, cost etc. It looked expensive, but it was worth an ask.
They were very helpful and had rooms available We looked at a room, which seemed suitable. It was more expensive than our current rooms, but in the circumstances, after a little chat we went for it. We booked in for the next three nights.
The hotel arranged for a tuktuk to take us back. His name was Ruwan and we took his number to use in the morning.
We got back at 6 pm, and lights out was 8.30 pm, as we were both knackered.
What a day!
Friday 7 February, 2020
Dogs barking in the night interrupted our sleep, until we were woken by Rohan at 7.30 am to see if we wanted breakfast! I declined, rather ungratefully.
We packed and readied our stuff, then rang Ruwan at 9.45 am, to come and get us. He said he would be about 15 minutes, which he was. Straight to the hotel, no problem. We were hoping for an early check-in, but we could wait if we had to.
As it happened our room was ready, so after filling in forms and paying we went up to room 103. Time was 10.20 am. We sorted out the suitcases and settled in, leaving the room about 11.30 am.
We needed a few things so decided to visit the nearest town, Aluthgama. We planned to go by bus, but bumped into Ruwan outside the hotel and let him take us.
We wandered through the town and purchased a few items from our list, here and there.
We spotted a Domino's pizza and decided to have lunch as it was 12.30 pm. A medium simply cheese pizza with drinks, LKR 951 (GBP 4.00), very tasty and ideal. May also have been my very first Domino's pizza.
We had spotted a Keell's supermarket and bought our final few things.
Our plan was to return on a bus, but after a runaround at the bus station we gave up and got a tuktuk.
Back at the hotel, a beer for Pat was the first order of business. Then Back to the room, for a quiet afternoon.
An observation we have made - some of the Tuktuk's play a particular tune, which informs you of their presence, they are little mobile bakeries. Three large towns have all had the same.
Pat went down to make enquiries about a tour tomorrow and it has been arranged with Ruwan, our current go to guy.
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