It’s been difficult trying to get adjusted to my new life living out of a backpack when I don’t actually have a backpack to be living from. Since I’ve got here I’ve been relying on the help of other travellers for the likes of spare clothes/ toiletries and general necessities like bug spray (I’m being bit ALIVE) since all of my things are locked away in a bag that’s currently being held hostage in Sri Lanka airport…
After the luggage incident I’ve spent the last couple of days fighting with the Emirates help desks both at home in Scotland & here in Sri Lanka. The Emirates team have boarded my bag onto the next flight out here and it has since arrived in Colombo airport however because it doesn’t have a barcode tag, since the check in lady didn’t ever put one on it, it can’t pass through their customs. In other words, I’m physically going to have to go back to the airport to pick it up which is an 8 hour round trip from my current location on the island. Or my alternative is to continue to rough it till the 18th when I’ll be back in Colombo anyway for my flight to Bangkok. Yippee.
From fear of allowing this blog to turn into a total rant platform of everything that’s going wrong, it really has not been all doom and gloom don’t let me fool you ! Sri Lanka is brilliant, the locals are generally really nice and its v v cheap to live out here. There is however a stark contrast to the way people live out here, and the amount of stray dogs wandering around is slightly unsettling, wandering in and out of the MENTAL tuktuk drivers and motorbikes that zoom about all over the place. I’m booked on a tour at the moment. I opted to go for a tour for my first stop as a way of easing myself into it all, plus its a chance to meet some people as well and maybe some will be heading the same way afterwards & we could make the journey together. The tour is operated by G adventures and is called ‘Sri Lanka on a shoestring.
It begins in Negombo and ends on the beaches of Hikkaduwa, passing through ancient burial sites, temples and giving you the opportunity to opt in to jeep safaris, mountain hikes and 1600 year old palaces situated at the top of a massive rock in the middle of the jungle! I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the jeep safari, its a long long day and the guarantee that you’ll see anything other than a couple of peacocks and few lizards is very slim. The hike up Sigirya rock (lion rock) however was absolutely amazing. 1600 years ago, it was the palace of one of the many Kings of Sri Lanka, with auditoriums, swimming pools and thrones made out of solid stone, many of which are still visible in the ruins today. The climb up was HARD, and for someone who is absolutely terrified! of heights I really struggled and needed help from my friends to take my mind off it & keep the panic attacks at bay. The effort were unsuccessful tbh I cried like a big baby but that’s irrelevant. I MADE IT. And it was so worth it, I calmed down instantly when I made it to the top and took in the view that was in front of me.
Sitting on the edge it genuinely felt like I was on top of the world. You cant help but imagine what it must have felt like for the King of Sri Lanka who used to be carried to the top daily by his servants, and to be able to look out onto the view that he also once used to enjoy was some feeling. One I’m not going to forget in a long time anyway.
The descent down was much easier than going up thanks to the help of my new pals shouting words of encouragement at me… that and the knowledge that I was about to be on solid ground again was pushing me faster down the 2220 steps carved into the side of the rock. Along with the fact that when we were finished we were headed to the off license to buy our booze for tonight kept me moving along in equal measures.
Sri Lanka is a great country, not very organised and no one is in any great hurry to do anything but its a breath of fresh air to see how other cultures go about their daily lives, sitting at the roadside reading a newspaper while other parts of the world are hustling and bustling, never stopping as they chase their next pay check. It’s refreshing and something worthwhile to see for yourself however you can’t expect things to run as they do back home, these guys are on Sri Lanka time.