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Published: April 3rd 2018
We were up nice and early for our walk around deck 7 – which takes us right around the ship. I worked out 7 laps is 4.5 km and took me 50 mins. As we are nearing Colombo there are many ships all around us heading for the same pier. I can also see another cruise ship behind us, it is the Celebrity X. It is quite an experience watching the city come into view and the sun rising behind it. After our walk we went for a swim and then to the top deck to watch the ship dock into the pier. The way they manoeuvre these mammoth machines is unbelievable. There were locals waiting and setting up stalls and taking pictures of the great ship at the dock.
They have positioned the ship at the further most pier, of this huge dock precinct. Due to this, we all boarded buses and head for the end of the pier, which took @ 10 minutes. We alight from the bus and there are Police and officials monitoring the comings and goings of everyone. So far they are all friendly and say “Hello”, even the Security/Police armed with their machine guns. As vehicles are leaving the pier they must park over the top of an inspection pit where there are bright lights positioned to see underneath. It is quite fascinating to watch and makes you see that they are very security conscious. We head out of the dock precinct and start to walk. It is quite a warm day. We get loads of offers from Tuk Tuk drivers, who speak fantastic English, offering us tours of the city, we decline all. We walk a little further and another Tuk Tuk driver starts to negotiate with me. He says for $5 US an hour he can show us the sights. We tell him we don’t have US $ but would he do it for $8AUD/hr, he agrees. Rohand is his name and he has been driving Tuk Tuk’s for over 21 years. He has two kids, 23 y.o. boy and 16 y.o. girl. His English is terrific and he tells me he just picked it up over the years. Rohand knows his history and gives us an overview and shows us many tourist spots. Colombo was originally known as Ceylon, you will sometimes see either name on the old buildings. It is a big city and very busy with Tuk Tuk’s and cars. There is a lot of beeping going on and no road rules, it is crazy. Rohand shows us temples, an elephant, the green lake, a big structure that was built to commemorate their independence from the UK, the Colombo Museum and of course the cricket grounds (including the SSC). Sri Lankans are <em style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">crazy about their cricket and keep insisting that Craig looks like Ricky Ponting. Rohand knows everyone, which is good for us, as we can enter places other tourists do not. We go and look at the SSC cricket ground and there is a match on. There is a man watching his 17 yo son play and he greets us, shakes our hands, and then talks cricket, they talk about the naughty Australian cricketers and the scandal that has been happening. He is so delighted to meet us. On our way back to the Tuk Tuk we find out that there is an Australian school playing a Sri Lankan school. We ask one of the boys where he is from and he told us they are from Brisbane and are there for 2 weeks.
On our 5-hour sightseeing Tuk Tuk ride we meet many interesting Sri Lankans. They all speak very good English and are so very friendly and not pushy. We have been told that you need at least 2 weeks to see more of Sri Lanka and to experience what it can offer. There are many new Hotel’s being built in the city and following on from Dubai’s footsteps they are constructing a huge man-made island from the sand. I believe that China is funding many projects here! Our experience of Sri Lanka is a positive one. It was very humid, 32 degrees but felt like 39 degrees (per Craig’s iPhone). We are finally dropped back to the dock precinct and thank Rohand with a tip for which he was very grateful.
We came back to the ship hot, tired, hungry, and thirsty. After an Iced coffee and a swim, we went for early dinner and bed.
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