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Published: April 28th 2018
We have booked flights to Colombo via Singapore but our first plane has been cancelled, meaning an earlier flight and a 9 hour layover in Singapore.
One last attempt to liberate our laundry - thankfully it is open. She looks as relieved to get her hands on our dollars as we are to get our clothes back. Then off to the airport for our first flight.
We are seated separately because the plane is full of school groups. I sit next to an Australian teacher accompanying students who have been doing voluntary work. He tells me how they have taken disabled kids swimming, brought gifts for orphans and sung with blind children. It makes my sightseeing followed by cocktails feel rather shallow.
Passengers transiting Singapore are offered a free 2 ½ hour city tour. So we sign up and set off for some sightseeing. Unfortunately, just as we leave, it starts raining. This means that, on grounds of health and safety, the scheduled stops are cancelled. So we drive round Singapore for a couple of hours, peering out of the bus window through the rain.
Once deposited back at the airport, we buy dinner. I opt for
something I know won’t contain nuts and play safe with a burger. Meanwhile the old man buys a noodle dish followed by a ‘durian iced parang’. It’s a hideous looking and smelling mound of unnatural coloured foodstuffs.
Finally, after what seems like an eternity, we board our second flight, arriving in Sri Lanka after midnight. By the time we reach our hotel (Sea Port) in Negombo it’s past 1 am and we’ve been travelling for 19 hours.
The hotel is disgusting. The a/c doesn’t work properly so the room temperature is 31 degrees. The bathroom is filthy and there is brown stuff (the old man tries to convince me it’s cement but we both know otherwise) running down the wall. Worst of all is the smell. The room smells of damp and mould and the bed and bedding stink. The bed is actually wet it’s so damp.
There are no staff, only a security guard asleep by the front door and we have no WiFi. So we lie on the damp, smelly bed where I manage 2 hours 45 of sleep until we can make alternative arrangements.
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