Decisions, decisions...

Trip Start Nov 02, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Thursday, June 14, 2012

My plan was to return to Colombo to get my Indian visa for my flight out to Chennai, so I jumped the local bus back to Colombo which takes around 5/6 hours.  The route takes you past miles and miles of stunning golden beaches and palm trees and with my window seat I enjoy the wind blowing through my hair, the taste of salt in the air and all the locals kind of laughing, thinking I look funny with a stupid big grin on my face!  Ahh it’s the life really…  I love all the transport, the plastic garlands or flowers and the flashing lights showing Buddhas,  and love the looks I get:)

This time when I arrive in Colombo I head to a hostel as it’s a good bit cheaper than the hotel I was in, hopefully I won’t be here too long.  I’m pretty exhausted though after my trip and I crash out early, it seems a nice enough place although the girl minding it is a bit of a grouch… oh joy!  There’s wifi here which lets me check out flights/visa stuff etc. but it looks like I would need to buy another six month visa into India when realistically I only want to stay a month also I’ve been looking at flights to Beijing from Mumbai and oddly enough the cheapest go via Colombo, my mind starts working overtime… maybe I will stay.
I managed to find the Indian Embassy after quite a long walk and they were just closing, typical but it does seem like I would need to get another six month visa.  I decide to head to Jet Airways office in Colombo to see if my flight can be cancelled or changed before I can anything.  This proves to be not quite straightforward as they need to contact Mumbai then get back to me in a few days as I bought my ticket in Kathmandu, meanwhile I start looking at flights from Colombo to Beijing and Air Asia have a flight which goes via Kuala Lampur (where I’ve always dreamed of visiting).  So despite everything I think I’ve changed my plans and I’m going to extend my visa in Sri Lanka for another two months and go direct to China, it’s funny once you’ve made a decision everything seems to fall into place.
I met a lovely young guy Reza at the hostel, he’s from Iran (although brought up in Sweden) and before I know it we’ve headed off down the beach together where he heads off swimming, I love his spirit and sense of fun, and we enjoy each other’s company for a few days travelling together.  He started off on his travels walking, but kind of gave up when he reached Turkey and fell in love with a girl who he returned to Germany with, although it is his dream to get to India.  He got a cheap flight out to Sri Lanka and is planning on getting to India from here.  I’m inspired by his stories of walking all that way and it does make me realise that cycling may be within my grasp, I just need to go for it, worst case scenario, it’s not for me – I sell my bike and keep going, but at least I will have tried it but watch this space.
I try to show him where the Indian Embassy is and we both get photographs done for our different visas, and take in some of the sights in Colombo.  We come across an area where all the locals are swimming and enjoying flying kites or cricket after work, it’s a big park area next to the sea and we walk along the prom onto the pier.  Oddly enough on the pier I meet Raju, an Indian guy who was working in Tangalle and staying at the same hotel as me… what are the chances?  We spend a bit of time with him and his friends talking and playing cricket before heading on, I’ll probably bump into him again somewhere.  On the way out of the park Reza is stopped by a man with a tiny monkey and a snake charmer with his cobra… I’ve seen these guys in action before in Varanasi and they either want you to take pictures with the monkey, or watch the snake charmer with his cobra then charge you a fee.  The sight of the cobra freaks me out so I don’t hang around too long and it takes Reza a few minutes to get away, the cobra just scare me!
Next day I go to the Chinese Embassy for advice, although I’ve most things in place she advises me to wait until August to apply and gives me a list of things I need.  Once I’m finished I head to the Sri Lanka Immigration and have my visa extended before collecting my refund for flights from Jet Airways, it’s been a productive few days which means I’m now ready to leave Colombo and head onto Kandy.  All I need to do now is re-book my flight from Colombo, this time to Beijing stopping over in Kuala Lampur for a few days on route with a bit of luck!
I enjoy being near the beach and I know some of the locals now from wandering, one man shows me what he's having for lunch which doesn't appear to be anything I've seen before but he assures me it tasts like shrimps.  I love all the fishing here, the different types, by hand or pole, net or boat, and different catches and needless to say I try my hand at most!  I'm enjoying Sri Lanka, and glad I have decided to stay on here until mid August.

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