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Published: October 8th 2016
I think the last time I wrote a blog was from Malang in Java when i'd turned up in a place that i'd arrived in and had realised there was not much to do. I was wrong. Oh my gosh, was I wrong! I had an awesome time.. in fact I had so much fun meeting people, climbing volcanoes, hanging out, eating great food, that I didn't have time to go back and update you all! My apologies. I didn't even remember to add photos such was the degree of my busy-ness and fun finding!
Anyway. That holiday proved to me that I can still go off and travel round these amazing places on my own and meet great people and have breath taking adventures, but I can also stay in nice places rather than the back packer dives i'm used to. I met friends i'm still in touch with and had adventures that I still remember fondly. Good old Java!
Moving to Singapore has had an extraordinary effect on my wanderlust: In the last 14 months I've been to Sumatra, Java, Thailand, Bali, Malaysia, Myanmar, Lombok, Philippines and now Sri Lanka. I've got trips booked to New Zealand,
Thailand and Australia. Friends have started to block my feed from their Facebook posts and I can't blame them! I would. It's ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I work hard... in fact I work harder than I've ever worked before, but there is such a culture, in International Schools, of making the most of the countries around you at every available opportunity, and so I do. And i'm as happy as a sand boy. This is why I moved to Singapore in the first place. My heart literally sings when i'm exploring new places, meeting new people and eating new food. (The food is a big part of it, unsurprisingly for those who know me!)
Anyway, I digress. I'm in Sri Lanka and had an experience this morning that I needed to share.
When I mentioned to friends that I was coming to Sri Lanka everyone seemed to have the same thing to say, 'it's an amazing country, you'll love it!' and I do. It's extraordinary. But they would also ask me where I was planning on going. Now i've only got a week so there is no way I can do everything I want to do, so
I knew i'd only be able to do a small part and would have to come back another time to do the rest. With that in mind, I decided to go to Colombo, Kandy, Mount Lavinia, Hikkaduwa, Galle and Mirissa. And anywhere in between. (Yala and Ella and all the other cool places I'd heard about will have to wait till the next trip.)
However, when I mentioned Colombo everyone told me to give it a miss. Not just to give it a miss but to get out as soon as I could. To spend as little time as humanly possible here. Everyone except one friend who had been and done a very unusual trip round Colombo in a 1948 Series 1 Landrover. (One of her sons is mad about cars and they'd all loved carting about in this unusual vehicle.) I decided it sounded like fun and didn't want to just give Colombo a miss. Especially not since the people who'd said to give it a miss had never in fact been!
I'm so glad I ignored their advice.
Colombo has a lot to offer.
But the only way to really see it; to experience
Ceylon Tea... in Ceylon!
Black and with a LOT of sugar.. it's seriously good!
the friendly people, the crazy traffic, the wonderful food, the unrelenting hospitality, the colonial buildings, the beautiful birds, the cricket which seems to be played on every available piece of land, is from the back of a 1948 Series 1 Landrover! (Edel and I even got to drive it along a river bank at one point).
"Colombo by Jeep" is a relatively new enterprise which I cannot recommend enough. I was nervous about coming to a city which has so universally been slated by friends. I am so so glad I ignored them and took a chance on Nish and his awesome vehicle. Driving around with the sun in our eyes and the wind in our hair we were waved and smiled at by everyone. We ate delicious local breakfast (we started at a fairly unfriendly but much cooler 6am!). We saw wildlife along the thorny river, watched cricket games as we whizzed past and at the most delicious daal curry with noodle type things! We drank freshly pressed mandarin juice looking out across the sea as a train streaked past filled with men hanging out of every orifice! We looked at endless beautiful colonial buildings; the Cargills old
colonial red building - they painted buildings red, white or blue to symbolise the British flag and their patriotism, the gorgeous Galle Face Hotel (apparently anyone who is anyone has stayed here, from Che Guevara to Robbie Williams, Roger Moore to Cole Porter) a very old church with memorials for men who'd died when they were so much younger than me, the Dutch hospital from the 16th century, the crazy little hut type prison that a long-ago-king had been imprisoned in by the Brits before being shipped off to India. The Castle Hotel where Duran Duran filmed, 'Hungry Like a Wolf'. These places are all worth seeing. I'm not sure i'd liked to have walked between them; it's hot here, but from the back of an open-top Landrover it's a breeze. Literally!
And now Edel and I are spending a few hours relaxing and catching up on sleep before heading out on a night time blast round this city in another of Nish's awesome classic Landrovers. I can't wait. Apparently it's even better at night! And we're going to eat some local food and go to some local hangouts!
Bring it on.
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