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Published: March 9th 2020
Saturday 7 March, 2020
A good nights sleep. Plan for today, try to find a cricket stadium.
The England cricket team are playing two test matches against Sri Lanka in late March just after we leave. However, they are playing two warm up matches, one not to far from Negombo and the other in Colombo, while we are still here. After doing some research, we have been able to find out some details and the first game is at Katunayake stadium near the airport.
The information is sketchy and not wholly encouraging me as how accurate it might be. However we thought we would at least try to find it.
Stirred at 6.50 am. Left at 9.50 am. The first step was to get to Negombo. So we went to the bus stop and a blue 240 came along at 10.10 am. Fare LKR 70 (GBP 0.29) for both. At the bus station we didn't see it at first but there was a stand for the 240/3 airport bus. A lady in uniform helped us and said to take a seat while we were waiting. The bus came in, smaller than usual buses and we had a seat. It got busy. Fare LKR 30 (GBP 0.13) each. The bus goes near the airport not directly to it.
According to our research the stadium was near to the bus station and within walking distance, about 400 metres.
I have to say that my expectations were set very low, firstly to find the place and then a game actually happening.
We walked along the main road to a gate, to what sort of looked like a stadium. We asked about cricket and were pointed further down the road. As we walked along the ground came into view through the fence and there was indeed a cricket match being played.
I sort of expected a turnstile or pay entry set up. But at the next manned gate, we again asked about cricket. They searched our bags and we were in! No charge, nothing! The ground was just a few yards ahead with people sitting on plastic chairs watching the game. We had a look, found a spot, collected a couple of chairs from the pile and sat.
It was mainly locals, but the odd Brit, was in attendance.
England were playing a three day warm up match against a Cricket Sri Lanka invitational XI. I don't know the match format.
As we arrived about 11.30 am England were batting and were 111 for 2 after 23 overs. It was magic, the guy in front of me left and we moved to the front with nothing between us and the cricket. There was a canopy, so Pat was in shade and enjoying the moment as well.
It was all very surreal and low key. At 12.00 pm, they left the field for lunch. Pat got some snacks and drinks from the little cafe for us.
Play recommenced and a few wickets fell. About 2.00 pm we headed off. A walk back to the bus station and there was our bus. Managed to get some of the last seats. Very busy on the way back and squashed in like sardines and hot and sticky.
Made it back to Negombo bus station and took the easy option of a tuktuk. He wanted to charge 500, but told him no and that we paid 300 before. He agreed. Back to the hotel for 3.15 pm and straight to the bar for beer and coke.
In the room for 3.45 pm. A very special morning and the first time I have watched England play cricket live.
After a quiet afternoon we chose a restaurant across the main road to have dinner, leaving the hotel at 6.45 pm. An Italian called Bacco. We sat out by the beach. Pat had spaghetti bolognaise and I had a pizza diavalo. Pat had her first gin and tonic for a while.
The meal was a bit of a rip off with the price they charge for water being extortionate. Back to the room for 8.15 pm. Lights out 9.50 pm.
Sunday 8 March, 2020
A good nights sleep. For some reason yesterday was especially tiring, so didn't stir until 7.50 am. A quiet day planned. Packing later.
Left the room at 10.15 am for a stroll Northwards. Ambled along until we reached The coffee bean & tea leaf cafe. Several foreigners in today. I had seen a breakfast I fancied and Pat had eggs Benedict. A cappuccino and a chai latte.
Pat's food arrived, then my ultimate breakfast arrived and looked really nice. Another plate full of food then turned up which was also part of mine! I had two large slabs of toast, with butter and jam, a large pile of scrambled eggs, some salad, two sausages, three pieces of bacon, baked beans and two big hash browns.
Pat finished hers, helped with mine and we still left some. A lovely Sunday morning brunch.
Popped into foodcity supermarket next door at 11.40 am and bought some fruit. Pat was amused by the shop Tecso (same letters different spelling) nearby and we had a look. A strange array of items.
Then down an alley and on to the beach. Barefoot we ambled on the shoreline getting wet as the waves came in. Then we saw a boat being pushed ashore and sat watching the world go by for a while. At 12.52 pm, we realised the time and headed for drinks. The backs of the restaurants that we knew were in sight and we went in the Oasis resort, for a beer and a coke. Back to the room for 2.00 pm.
An afternoon of sorting and packing. Went out for dinner at 7.00 pm, we thought we would try Cilantro, another local restaurant. We arrived the options looked good and we sat and studied the menu.
Pat ordered Tuna steak and I ordered Thai green curry. Both duly arrived and we enjoyed our food. I ordered chocolate brownies with ice cream for dessert and Pat helped a little. Not our cheapest meal but very nice. The bill was LKR 5247 (GBP 22.14), including service charge which most do.
The main road and pavements outside were very busy. It is Poya (full moon) day tomorrow, a Buddhist festival, which is a day off, so lots of locals will have a weekend break.
In the room for 8.30 pm and lights out at 10.08 pm.
Monday 9 March, 2020.
Change hotels today.
A good nights sleep. Stirred at 7.10 am. Check out at our current hotel is 12.00 pm. Our next hotel is around the block and check in from 2.00 pm. Because it is all so close we haven't worried about extending or trying to arrange an early check in.
We finished packing and went down to reception at 10.15 am. Paid our drinks bill and asked if they would look after our suitcases for a few hours. All no problem.
We had some more dirty washing by now, so we thought we might as well take it to the laundry, as it would also be a good use of our time. The only question might be that they might be shut for Poya day. We had nothing to lose so off we went.
Ambled along on another very hot day. 32°C feels like 39°C is the forecast. Arrived at the laundry and they were open. Dropped off 3 kgs, pick up tomorrow. Then headed back.
As we had walked down we noticed that Pick & Mix cafe was having work done outside. He was in the doorway as we walked back and checked he was open. He was very honest and said it might be noisy, we were fine with that. We had a western breakfast, omelettes, toast and sliced fruits, with a tea and a coffee.
Then continued our walk. To kill more time we popped in to a number of shops. We reached our favourite Coffee bean & tea leaf cafe. An iced latte and an iced macha were very well appreciated.
We slowly walked back to the hotel and collected our suitcases. Confused them by walking away. Turned left and left again, a slow trundle and we reached the next hotel, it was probably about 1.30 pm. A ring on the bell and entry gained. A flurry of activity by staff and a short wait by us, then off to our room.
A quick look around snd a suggestion to have a drink. The hotel doesn't have a bar, so off out to the main road. Zand restaurant was in front of us, and was fine for a drink. The waiter and I started taking about cricket, as we we're from England. Sadly Poya day meant no alcohol here, so two coke zero's. Back in the room for 2.30 pm.
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