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Published: March 1st 2017
Our last day in Sri Lanka. We packed and lazed around Aditya Resort as we were going to be collected from the hotel at 2.30 pm. This seemed a silly time to go because our flight to Hong Kong was not scheduled until after midnight. Of course the airport construction project was still causing a balagan with checkin queues etc, so we agreed with Jagath's suggestion.
At 2.30 pm we said goodbye to the beautiful hotel and to the amazing staff. I said to the manager that, apart from the bookkeeper/accountant we hadn’t seen any women workers in the hotel. All of the cleaners, waiters and gardeners were men. We were told that women could work but that they didn’t want to go home by themselves late at night. Basil, our original driver told us that he had not wanted his wife to work once they had a child. She had to stay at home and look after the child even though she was a qualified nurse and could contribute to the family income. This was their cultural norm. Because he was a driver in the tourist trade he didn’t get paid when there were no tourists and so the
home finances were at times stretched. Many men had the same feelings - still this is their culture.
Pradeep collected us and we got into the car to begin our four hour drive to Colombo. The knitting needles were clacking again because the journey was long and quite boring. (Incidentally, by the end of the trip the army will benefit from two more hats!)
We met Jagath on the outskirts of Colombo just off the motorway. We changed cars (a bit like a spy movie - I was reading too many Daniel Silva books) and then Jagath took us for a ride around the outskirts of Colombo. We drove past the big public hospital. Medicine is a public service but you can wait for quite a while for routine operations. If you have the money you can purchase private insurance and we saw many private hospitals during our trip.
Jagath drove us to Crow Island Beach Park for a final break before the airport. This is a brand new area which is still being built in part. It has been set in an area which was associated with drug trafficking and gang warfare. It was built by
the army and is guarded by the army. There are food stalls there and they are building a new large cafeteria area. There is a lovely children’s area where the kids can play safely on all of the equipment. We peered down the coast to the south and could see the Kingsbury Hotel and the new Chinese port which is under construction.
We stayed at Crow Island Beach Park for about an hour and then drove to the airport. We then said a sad goodbye to Jagath (Jagathsingh Jayasingh - Managing Director of Luxurious Sri Lanka tours) and thanked him very much for the wonderful vacation we had thoroughly enjoyed. Jagath had consulted with us thoughtfully and seriously and had prepared very well before our trip. During our holiday he kept in regular touch to ensure that everything flowed to our satisfaction, and made corrective changes to achieve any possible improvements. He certainly exceeded our high expectations.
We were still hours early for our Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. Finally after the checkin desk was opened and we were able to check in and sit in the lounge for several more hours. We were eventually called for
Jagath (Jagathsingh Jayasingh) MD of Luxurious Sri Lanka tours.
with Don & Lesley at the start of our holiday ... and he delivered an experience beyond our expectations
our flight and as soon as I sat down in my seat I was off with the fairies. I woke up just to make up the bed. Don also had a good sleep.
We landed at Hong Kong airport at 8 am only to find that we had a long wait before El Al checkin opened. We were not able to check in all the way through from Sri Lanka to Israel due to El Al security policy. Eventually we checked in and went to the lounge. By this time were starving hungry. We had forgone our kosher meal on the aeroplane as we were so tired and had slept until just before Cathy Pacific landed. While waiting in the controlled transit zone before El Al opened we had managed to buy a coffee and croissant in the airport. Now that we were in the proper lounge the lounge attendant told us that we could ask for our special kosher meal! We were delighted - food at last. We were each given our lunch box, which was filled with chocolate bars, a chocolate muffin, a bag of nibbles and 2 cream crackers. That didn’t satisfy the hunger very much!
We eventually boarded our El Al aircraft and had a long flight home to Israel. We arrived at Ben Gurion airport at 11 pm and collected our luggage and our car and after 36 hours since leaving Aditya we finally arrived home! Home sweet home - cold after our vacation but home and happy.
We had come to Sri Lanka unsure what to expect. Caroline had previously spent time in India and imagined Sri Lanka would be similar, but in fact she found it interesting in different ways from India and populated by pleasant people not 'in your face' and likewise delicious food. Don and I were delighted overall with the pace, the cultural sights, the scenery, our terrific venues, and especially the friendly service-oriented population.
Now where can we go next?
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