Today is April 6th and we are heading to Sri Lanka. It will be a full day of travel with multiple modes of transportation. We started out with an almost one hour taxi ride to take us from our hotel in Chennai to the airport. As luck would have it, we were involved in our second accident. As the taxi was stopping at a red light, a motorcycle hit the taxi in the back and side. The taxi driver was very upset and immediately jumped out of his car to inspect the damage. The guy on the motorcycle didn’t want anything to do with it so just took off through the red light, no apology, nothing. I guess they don’t have Autopac to take care of repairs.
Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean located 48 km off the southeast coast of India. So the flight is short and we arrived at the airport in the outskirts of Colombo, the capital, after only 1½ hours. Once off the plane and out of the airport, I could immediately tell we were in a different country. Everything was greener, cleaner, more up kept, and there was no smell of pee in the air. It was a welcome sight from what we had been seeing (and smelling) in India.
A bit of background on Sri Lanka: this country was formerly known as Ceylon and has a population of about 21.5 million. It is known for its diverse wildlife, lush tea plantations, and miles of beaches. The country has a lot of ethnic and religious diversity and is home to several ancient Buddhist sites, Hindu temples, and impressive Colonial-era buildings. Sri Lanka has survived through Civil War (1983 – 2009) and the tragedy of the 2004 tsunami and is now steadily moving towards peace and prosperity.
Although the plane has landed in Colombo, we don’t want to stay here. We will be leaving Sri Lanka from this city at the end of our trip and will spend time here at that time. For now, we want to head to another hill station and a cooler climate. We want to head to the town of Kandy, 136 km northeast of Colombo. To get there we first take a bus from the airport into the centre of Colombo, a one-hour journey that was thankfully in an air-conditioned bus as it is really hot.
On our arrival in downtown Colombo it was a short walking distance to the train station and thankfully a train would be leaving for Kandy in one hour. Our tickets were $2.80 each. It took about three hours to get there and once off the train, we were met with the very thing we were trying to get relief from….hot air! What a disappointment!! We later learned that Kandy is not really at a very high elevation, so there really wasn’t any relief from the heat and this place really should not be classified as a hill station.
Note about the train station – there was no one peeing on the tracks!! People here use the washrooms! Yeah!
Once in Kandy we hired a tuk-tuk to take us to the area where a lot of hotels were located and found a nice place for our stay at $18 per night.
It was a long day of travel but we were now at rest and about to start our adventures in a new country. My first impressions were very good and I am excited to be here.
A comment about my previous post. I’m not sure what I did wrong from my end, but I believe in the email version of my previous post my map of India did not come through. If you are interested to see it, it is on the web version. To get there you can click on the title of this post and it will open up the web version and then scroll down to the previous entry. Take care, Mag.