Sunday, October 17, 2010

First Day in Sri Lanka

I arrived into the airport at about 2:20 AM which was about 25 minutes late.  No big deal when you consider it was over 20 hours of flight total.  I made it through customs with no issues at all; there was a huge sign that said being caught with illegal drugs was punishable by death.  Good thing I’m clean.  One thing I thought was funny was that many people put their hands up when they go through the metal detector.  I wonder exactly what that does…

They had some very strange things in the Duty Free area.  I’m not exactly sure why someone would by a washer and dryer in an airport.
I ran the gauntlet of money exchange booths that literally yell at you as you go by.  Then I found my driver amid a large group of sleepy eyed locals who would prefer to still be in bed at 3 AM obviously.
When I exited the terminal, I was hit with a wave of humidity and was instantly wet.  We made our way to the car and off we went on a 45 minute ride.  About 30 minutes in, he started drinking a mysterious liquid from a green glass bottle; I didn’t dare to ask what it might be.  Shortly thereafter he decided to take a “short cut” through some back alleys that had me a little nervous but soon enough we popped out back on a major road.
Let me just say that clearly there are no rules on how to drive in this area, markings in the road are not even considered.  They just do whatever they want.
Checking in at any hotel at 4 in the morning is guaranteed to be an odd experience.  This one was no different; I just wanted to get to my room.  The bellboy showed me the way to the elevator which required that we walk through a courtyard with a fountain.  I arrive at my room #414 and find the door open.  So I pretended to be James Bond as I systematically “cleared” each room to make sure there was no one hiding on me.  Ok, so being up for way too long made me a little wacky.

I used the bathroom, showered, shaved and laid down only to find that there were no blankets. WTF?  So being too lazy and tired to call to have some delivered, I froze my ass off all night.  I was pretty curious what I would find for accommodations when the sun came up.
When I my alarm went off I looked out the window to see the ocean waves crashing like mad, I guess there is some storm surge in the Indian Ocean right now.  I got dressed and went down to find where ever breakfast was.  It turned out to be a pretty large buffet with eastern and western options.  I chose some “chicken” sausage, Swedish potatoes, toast, bacon, curried chicken, coffee, and a pastry.  I have to say that it was all pretty good.  About ¾ of the way through a wave of rain came through forcing me inside to finish. 
Yes, another "table for one".

After breakfast I explored the property to see what was going on.  I found a nice stretch of beach with some grass hut type restaurants that I guess open later in the day.  There was a tower with a dining table on the top, I guess that is for VIP diners so they can look down on everyone else.

I was stopped by a couple men trying to sell sea shells, sorry guys, no luck.

The hotel was nice enough to post a sign telling people when it was safe to swim.

Then, as you can see the flag was red = no swimming.  Then you can also see the two guys getting smashed by waves.  I guess the rules don't apply to these guys.