We awoke from our slumber knowing we had a long day and some ahead of us. After my reflection on the previous day it was time for a shower and to head out for breakfast, our accommodation provides breakfast but the prices are quite ridiculous and in USD, I suspect they think guests are fooled by the double figure costs, but we’re not! Anyhoo we stopped at Pedlars cafe, Mr Revthreads had the Sri Lankan breakfast with fish curry and I ordered a vegan version, which I must say was delicious, Dahl, Beetroot Curry and bread, the only thing I would change is the bread, it really was sliced white bread of door stop proportions, but delicious all the same. The spices in the beetroot curry exploded in your mouth to give a wonderful experience of Sri Lankan food. After breakfast it was basically an opportunity to walk along the fort wall and take in the sights. We wandered around and arrived at the Magistrates and District Courts, now because I had up until recently spent some time working in the Supreme and District Courts I was a bit curious, Mr rethreads suggest we walk and have a look, now at the stairs it said no entry, so we wandered along to a spot where we could step up, well when I say where we could, we still, as we soon found out, shouldn’t have, the not so happy police officer soon moved us along! So it was back to wandering, we had to have our stuff out of the room by 12 noon and so a little saunter back to our accommodation was now called for, to pack our gear and wait to leave for our train.
Once sorted we sat by the pool with a beer and reflected on our whirlwind trip, chatting to the manager who was absolutely lovely. 2:50pm soon arrived and it was time to summon a tuk tuk and load our gear in for the final hoorah. We had booked first class on the train back to Colombo, the train due to depart at 3:30pm. While first class isn’t much to look at, it had no A/C, no bells or whistles, it had seats and seriously you can’t ask for much better than that when you see trains passing you by with people hanging on for their lives at the door and really, it cost us 1600LKR about $13Aus for both of us. We hopped on board for the 2 hour journey to Colombo. At some points the train runs alongside the ocean, pretty spectacular views. The nearer the city we got shanty villages/housing areas began to crop up, some really were beachside, we’d moved from the holiday sights to the reality for many Sri Lankans. The sun began to set on the horizon, I didn’t take any photo’s I just watched as the daylight came to an end. Again so close to the city the fumes from the train and the masses of traffic began to float indiscriminately into the first class car through the open windows, that up to this point had provided a wonderful breeze of fresh air for the journey.
Now in my sickness when I left Colombo, I had left my very beautiful meditation ring in the bathroom of the Steuart hotel, while no expecting it to still be there, we did have a couple of hours to kill before our flight, so we hopped in a tuk tuk and went back to the hotel. We were received like royalty, presented with a fresh juice when they saw us, the manager coming out to greet us, they had read my review on trip advisor and were very happy obviously. My ring was lost forever, but we got to sit with another beer and ordered a meal. Having become rice and curried out, the only Sri Lankan food thats been available to this vegan traveler throughout the journey, I opted for the kofta wrap, chips and salad, what can I say, I’m adjusting for the return home. It was very tasty, and I did not succumb to the Heinz Tomato Ketchup that had been placed on the table.
Alas, it was really time to head to the airport, the ever helpful staff at the Steuart organised us a taxi. The traffic even at 8pm was horrific, it took almost an hour to get to the toll road, mad I tell you, mad! Once on the toll road it was a pretty quick journey, during which our flight was delayed yet again. So we had a few hours in the airport, where we got to drink what seemed to be the most expensive tea in the world, almost $7Aus it worked out at and it was nothing to write home about, again all prices were in USD.
Quick mooch around the shops then it was time to be loaded on to the flight. Mr Revthreads quite distraught, so far 3 sections and each time his header jack was faulty, this time no sound at all and quite unlike Mr Revthreads he complained. The staff were great and offered us alternative seats at the back of the plane once we had taken off. 5 1/2 hours to Hong Kong, one meal, nothing to shout about, pretty average food again, but this time no soy milk even on my tray. Not even a full movie in I nodded off and got a couple of hours sleep before landing in Hong Kong.
We had hoped to get out and about in Hong Kong, we had 9 hours, but alas we were weary, we looked at the transit hotel options, my oh my they’re expensive, so Mr Revthreads took up residence in a chair at the ‘caring corner’ and I opted to lay out on the floor. Once awake we wandered for some food and a drink, grabbing a couple of presents for the grandies as we went. Our flight soon came around, and there we had it on the last leg, 8 15 hours we’d be back on Australian soil. Morning warning – the vegan option food was crap on this section of the flight, the main meal was rice with all that can be described as some tinned tomatoes with a couple of teeny mushrooms, and I mean a couple, wit a side of undercooked carrot and broccoli, I like veggies al dente but my knife and fork found it difficult to penetrate either. The staff were run off their feet, making getting a drink pretty tricky. I reckon Cathay need to lift their game and employ more cabin crew, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such low staffing numbers on a long haul flight. Anyway moan over, we touched down in Sydney, I headed to the domestic terminal where I would once again kiss good by to Mr Revthreads, leaving him in Sydney for his work as I went to board my domestic flight to Brisbane.
A whirlwind journey, finished, real life encountered once more. It really has been an amazing journey, Sri Lanka is beautiful and I look forward to a longer trip to explore much more. I’ll be back a little later with an easy read practical tips for the areas we encountered. Meanwhile I just keep pondering on the adventure we just had.