The Long Journey Back – Galle to Sydney

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.

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Hikkaduwa to Galle

After thunder crashing and lightning lighting up our room through the night, I’m sat on our balcony at Thambili House, our home for last night, the rain still pouring down, the ocean crashing to the shore in the foreground, once again reflecting on our previous day’s adventure.

After a relaxing morning yesterday, we put on our backpacks and walked, once more down the railway tracks, to Hikkaduwa station for the 12:30 train, we booked two 2nd class tickets for Galle for just 40LKR each, that’s just 32 cents, and then waited, of course the train was late, but only 20 mins. The rain had stopped at that point and the sun beat down as the humidity rose, finally the train arrived our only task then was to find a seat, which unlike our last attempt was pretty easy. The journey is just 25 mins, the welcomed breeze blowing through the open window keeping us cool along the way as we bobbed passed villages and at one point we were alongside the ocean, very scenic. Once at Galle our only task was find a tuk tuk to get us to our digs for the night, that is never an issue in Sri Lanka!

Once we found our accommodation, trickier than hoped as we had been given the staff entrance address and it did look somewhat not like the fairly expensive hotel I had booked, you see it was Mr Revthreads birthday so I wanted a little bit of luxury for him, Anyhoo, staff came out and told the tuk tuk driver where to go and we made it, more on the accommodation later.

Once our stuff was in the room we went out to explore, we were inside the fort wall and I have to say it was like we’d been transported to another world, cute little streets, very tidy, very quiet, shops lining each side, tourists everywhere. It was to be a quiet day anyway, because of course today we begin to transit back, so this morning we have half a day, anyway back to yesterday. We wandered in and out of the shops before stopping at The Kitchen for a bite to eat, a salad and spring rolls to share, once again we found that most menus catered for western tourist, the only Sri Lankan food on offer was rice and curry and that would be dinner. The food, when all said and done was nice, I’ve actually missed a nice salad. We sat for a while and watched the world and people go by.

We returned to our room for a beer and to watch the sunset from our balcony. Then it was time for a bath in the palatial like bathroom with a solid stone bath, we did however run out of hot water, before heading out for dinner, yep you got it rice and curry on the roof top of Raux Cafe. This places food did give Aroma in Hikkaduwa a run for their money, the papadam was no competition, but the curries were fantastic, Mr Revthreads had a tuna curry and loved every mouthful, it’s pipped the top.

The humid night air wrapped around us as we wandered back to our accommodation, before falling into bed for a night of sleep disrupted by the sounds of thunder and flashes of light, all part of Sri Lanka at this time of year.

So Thambili House, it is very grand, private courtyard, only 3 suites, ours the Nutmeg suite eventually. I had booked the ocean view but they tried to place us in a room with a nothing view, soon rectified as we are the only people here. The staff very attentive on arrival, we were served fresh juice and towels to freshen up before we got to our room. The bed is a grand and very comfortable four poster bed complete with mozzie net. The bathroom is all stone, the bath is set with steps up and columns at each side of the steps, it is quite grand, the downsides, yes alas there are some. Woken by the thunder we found ourselves in a pool of sweat, our air conditioner carked it in the night, fortunately there is a fan and it pretty well did the trick and we were able to soon drift off. The clincher for me in my unrest is that I’ve woken up early, as always and can’t get a cup of tea, I know wrong on so many levels. There are no tea and coffee facilities in the suite, I wandered downstairs found the room Mr Revthreads had advised had tea facilities to find it dark, couldn’t find a light switch so out came my trusty iPhone. I found the kettle and found a tap, but couldn’t get the kettle to work, the plug was in, the plug was on but no little light to bring a smile to my face to suggest the kettle was working. I inspected the kettle base for extra switched, I swapped the plug  socket, which sparked at me and gave me a little fright in the dark but it confirmed there was power, still no little light on the kettle, I did wait a little while, perhaps the little light is broken, but no, nothing, so this morning I’m sipping water as the rain falls, just wrong in this amazing tea land. I’ve loved the surrounds but but I can’t help thinking this place is a 3 star masquerading as a 5, but when all said and done its first world problems, but an hour after waking I still don’t have tea!

Today’s a big day, we have our train tickets for 3:30pm, we travel back to Colombo, back to the airport for a late flight, tomorrow morning we’ll be in Hong Kong just for 10 hours so we will see what we can sort out then. Until tomorrow!

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Hikkaduwa – our last full day

I’m sat at stupid o’clock in the morning as lightening breaks the darkness of the early morning sky, thunder rolls in the distance, the rain pours down, me, I’m sat sipping tea reflecting on our adventures of yesterday.

Our first job of the day was to head to the train station to reserve our seats on the train for our trip back to Colombo from Galle on Wedensday. We wandered down our local streets with the sounds of hello greeting us from people’s houses and yards. Today we decided we would walk along the rail track, not big or clever, I’ve never walked on a railway line so it was a little exciting and we knew we’d get to the train station quicker, without a million offers of a tuk tuk. Our tickets purchased, we could rest knowing our trip back ready for our flight was sorted. Top tip, you can book 24 hours in advance where reserved seating is available, we’ll have our bags so we booked first class reserved seating for 1600LKR a whole 16AusD for both of us, and trust me, the trains get absolutely rammed so the seat is something to look forward to (providing no one claims it first!)  Anyhoo, the next plan of action was to get a tuk tuk to the Tsunami Photo Museum, and hailing a tuk tuk is not a problem, we were on our way.

We arrived to be greeted by a 18.5 metre Buddha, at the entrance, a hut. As we entered the hut the walls are filled with photo’s some far more gruesome than we’d anticipated or imagined. We were told how the sea disappeared and many locals went out to see this phenomena only to be swept away by the first wave, apparently the first wave was around 1mt high. The guide went on to tell us that this 1mt wave hit land and swept a train from the rails killing everyone on board, in fear villagers ran to hide behind the train wreckage only to be killed as the second wave, known as the killer wave, a much higher wave, as it hit land. The scenes of devastation left me speechless. Pictures of dead bodies strewn across the streets and in doorways, a photo of a mass grave filled with villagers, the local hospital, bodies laid across the grounds. The main road in Hikkaduwa was filled with destruction, people wandering, rubble everywhere, this road that over the few days we’ve been here has become our regular walk into town completely decimated. I don’t know what I expected, but I guess not this, it was a somber moment. We walked to the statue of the Buddah that had been built in the location where the villagers of Pereliya were killed, the rain poured down, soaking us as we stood silently.

As we headed back to Hikkaduwa the tuk tuk driver, who was quite young, explained he remembers that day, the sudden realisation for me that any person over the age 14 who had lived in the area had survived this disaster. The people who greeted us each day with a smile and a hello were probably living with the grief of losing someone in this disaster, that for most of us who watched from afar this was now but a piece of tragic history and in reality probably not given much of a second thought. A reminder that while for me a piece of tragic history for many it’s part of their personal story, a trauma never to be forgotten. To take it a step further a reminder that so much tragedy happens in our world and for those of us living in safety with freedom the tragedy happens around us, we watch from afar, we continue on, yet that tragedy is happening to real people, who will live with the trauma, the effects and the memories forever.

On our return we sat and sipped tea, still stunned by what we had seen, the rain stopped, Mr Revthreads and myself decided to take a walk into the now restored Hikkaduwa centre while Ian had a rest. We walked our usual walk down the streets, I dare say with slightly different eyes, meanwhile it was the Buddhist Full Moon public holiday and the road was jam packed with people on motorcycles, buses, tuk tuks zipping by, today was the day I came within about a metre of been taken out by a bus as it pulled in suddenly to pick up people on the roadside, as I began to step aside Mr Revthreads yell of “watch out” coming from behind me, disaster averted! It was amazing, there were people everywhere. We wandered along browsing in shops until we came to the main entrance for the beach, our goal to simply walk along the beach as the Indian Ocean lapped at our feet. That sounds quite romantic, the reality, the ocean was as choppy as and the waves more crashed at our feet, but chop or no chop the ocean was full of people enjoying the public holiday. At the end of the main strip of beach we headed down an alley onto the main road, Mr Revthreads needing a shave he popped into Salon Majestic for a bit of pampering before heading back for a mid afternoon rest.

Dip in the pool, afternoon drinkies, dinner called, so it was back on our merry way to Aroma, a local organic restaurant for dinner. What can I say, the best papadam I ever did taste! The food was amazing, I opted for the Sri Lankan Rice and Curry set menu of; Dahl, Vegetable curry, wambatu morju (eggplant), mango chutney, coconut Samble rice and papadam, 750LKR, amazing, all vegan, too much food, I couldn’t eat it all but I did my best, seriously the best meal so far in Sri Lanka. Mr Revthreads opted for Indian Chicken curry, Ian opted for Tandori Chicken, we all left filled to the brim very happy and satisfied, a must go to place to eat!

Anyway, the evening was coming to a close, time to head home, partake in a glass of mediocre wine and sleep.

Today as I wait for the storm to pass and the sun to rise we prepare to leave this home away from home, head to Galle and celebrate Mr Revthreads birthday, on this our final night in Sri Lanka.

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Hikkaduwa

Another good nights rest, another sunrise sipping tea by the pool as I wait for the sun to rise listening to the rain pour down and watch the Indian Palm squirrels scurry along the walls and up the trees its time to reflect on yesterday, our full day in Hikkaduwa. No plans had been made, we are staying with a friend in a home, so away from the tourist area and in a residential street. Rain is intermittent and arrives quite unexpectedly, but that’s ok, it calms the raging humidity, we sit to share breakfast before deciding to walk into the town centre. The streets to the Main Street are narrow, filled with people going about their daily lives, they call out hello as we pass, particularly the children, who call out enthusiastically with a wave. Tuk tuks and motorcycles scoot by, every tuk tuk driver enquiring whether we need a tuk tuk or listing of a number of destinations hoping to meet our need to be advised we are happy walking at the minute. Once on the main road we cross to walk towards the traffic which has now been joined with cars, buses and trucks, their horns filling the air just letting each road user know they are on their way and basically get out of the way.

As we walked we noticed that the local fruit and veg market was happening so of course it’s a must, in we went. I just keep thinking i so wish I had a market like this close by, jackfruit being freshly prepared, fruit and veg everywhere all fresh nothing wrapped in plastic, in fact as we entered the market people sold reusable shopping bags for people to fill with their goods. There was the occasional fresh and dried fish stall, with a household stall thrown in for good measure, people everywhere purchasing good fresh food. The air was thick and so was the crowd, we bought some vada and lentil snack to take for our lunch, with a deep desire to buy lots more but knowing we were not going to cook and having to resist the urge, particularly the jackfruit for me, I though of youngest Revthreads, also a plant based eater, and how we purchase it in a can, how wonderful would it be to buy fresh. Well the rain again showed up, but only for seconds and we made our way back to the main road to continue our walk. Shops where beginning to open, each vendor inviting us to look at their shop, obviously we popped in a few, I even bought some shorts and some more tea, purchasing tea in Sri Lanka ought to be mandatory really. We decided after a couple of Klms in we ought to stop fro refreshments, so we sat at a little place on the beach, Latte, ginger beer and mango juice ordered we sat and watched the ocean as her waves rolled gently on the shore. Holiday makers walking up and down, children digging in the sand, people swimming in the ocean, probably in a bid to cool down as much as anything, it was very relaxing.

We continued on and made a dinner reservation at Home Grown Curry and Rice Restaurant for the evening, it has good reviews on TripAdvisor so why not. Then we needed to pop to the grocery store for some essentials before we jumped in a tuk tuk back to the house. Groceries away, it was time to warm up our snacks and have a beer by the pool. You may be thinking I not much in the way of adventure, but keep the context, we have travelled 14 hours across the world for a 6 day holiday and are staying in 3 cities, rest is key to this adventure, it’s a taste for more than likely a longer trip. Snacks consumed, togs donned, into the pool, the humidity is high and for now the rain had disappeared.

An afternoon nap was called for, we had no more plans than our dinner reservation, so once we woke, it was another pleasant sit by the pool, some rehydration, water not beer, before heading out, the rain again wanting to join us, so as soon as we got to the main road we jumped in the tuk tuk, Sam’s Bar bound. The streets were pretty empty, perhaps the rain keeping people in their hotels, who knows. At the bar I ordered a red wine 600LKR, what a mistake, don’t do it, it tasted like a very matured vinegar, for some reason my very polite side kicked in, I simply watered the plants with it, poor plant I hear you say, today I will check it survived. Then it was off to the Home Grown Curry and Rice restaurant, excited at the prospect of good Sri Lankan food, the menu arrived, I opened it up to see a menu I’d not expected, prawns with chips and salad, everything with chips and salad, what the!!! Then Mr Revthreads pointed to the front cover ‘three veg curries with red or white rice, additional chicken, prawns available, mmmmm not quite what we had expected, but I guess the clue is in the restaurant name, rice and curry! We ordered the veg option to share, Ian ordered the garlic bread as someone on TripAdvisor had raved about it. The garlic bread, apparently nothing to write home about but pleasant, the curries again nothing spectacular but tasty and filling, while a little disappointed we did leave satisfied and quite tired.

Tuk tuk back through the quiet Main Street, this time dropped at the doors the rain began to poor again. mr Revthreads retired for the night, Ian and I sipped a glass of red wine by the pool catching up on life since we last saw each other and putting the world to rights before turning in for the night. As I laid in bed the room lit up, lightning followed by the crashing of thunder, tucked up in bed as the storm rolled in I drifted off to sleep.

It’s early again, I’m sat sipping tea by the pool, the rain is still falling lightly and a new day is ahead, who knows what it will bring, maybe a tourist activity, maybe a slow meander around town, who knows, who cares, I’m relaxed and at peace with all that is around.

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Colombo to Hikkaduwa

We had decided that the 10:30 train would be a good time train to catch, alas while waiting to leave it became apparent that Mr Revthreads had not brought food poisoning with him but a bug, and so a long day commenced for me. We checked out and headed off to the train station with me feeling quite sick. After about 10-15 mins walking Mr Revthreads points out that nothing looked familiar, we asked a local who indicated we were heading in the right direction, so we carried on. Eventually we decided to stop a tuk tuk and get a ride, it was then as we got in and started to move that we learned we had walked 10-15 mins in the wrong direction! Anyway we finally got to the train station and stood in the queue at the bustling train station to purchase our tickets, easy as, head to platform 5, we were almost an hour early so we were in good stead to get on the train. I collapsed on the floor of the platform praying that I wouldn’t vomit, I have some dignity, and we waited. Guys in white shirts and black trousers kept coming over and being very suscpiciously nice, I don’t trust over nice, anywhoo a couple with young children decided they would stand with us and said safety in numbers, the same guys had been on at them too. We chatted to this lovely family and waited, and waited, the train already 20 mins late, finally a train with people hanging out of the doors arrived. I watched as quite a few got off, but not enough to leave a seat available for a two hour journey, the door we queued at was full, and I mean the doorway, we moved to another and that was the moment I declared we’re getting a cab, there was no way I would survive two hours standing with my new travelling companion. We went back to the hotel and they organised us a reliable taxi, the said guy in white shirt and black pants organised one for us for 20,000LKR and when we hesitated it dropped 10,000LKR such a drop in such a short time did not get my trust, anyway the hotel came through.

I spent the two hours in the car laid on the back seat, feeling a little sorry, but mr Revthreads took in the sights of rural Sri Lanka, which I have to say the snippets I saw, it is very beautiful. We arrived at my friends place, I promptly gave a hug from a distance and went to meet my new friend for the day, a gorgeous porcelain number! Mr Revthreads and friend proceeded to get to know each other, they’d met briefly once, they drank, went to the shops and swam, while I sleept the afternoon and night away, but hey, I’m sat now in the dark of the morning waiting for the sun to rise on a new day.

Top tips, Colombo to Hikkaduwa the 6:55am train offers 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class tickets, 1st class guaranteed seats 300LKR each around 2.50AusD 2nd class $160lKR each around 1.30AusD. Ticket prices are the same but on the 10:30 only 2nd class available, no reserved seating and its every man, woman and child for themselves, we weren’t the only ones that didn’t get on!

Today is a new day and Hikkaduwa is waiting for us, the sun set to rise in 45 mins.

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Colombo

After the long day of travel and a decent nights sleep we had just one full day, so it really was breakfast, shower and go. We wanted to see as much as possible, so we spoke to a tuk tuk driver in the street and asked if it was possible? Of course it was, he offered 3 hours for 1500 LKR per hour, we asked for 4 hours and offered 5000LKR, he was happy to oblige. So Anthony, our very own Prabaker for those who have read Shantram, took us off on a 4 hour crazy tour of Colombo in his trusty tuk tuk.

I can’t actually relay everywhere we visited, it was a whirlwind as we weaved amongst the bust traffic on the roads, horns blowing, the humidity wrapping around us like a damp blanket and the seasonal showers appearing from nowhere like waterfalls controlled by a tap. We stopped at landmark buildings, Anthony insisting we catch the moment with a photo, we visited the Mosquee Jamil Ul Alfar (the Red Mosque), Vajirarmaya Temple, Sri Kailawasanathar Swami Devasthanam, St Anthony’s Catholic Church, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, and so much more. The architecture is amazing, the intricate detail carved into stone at the temples in particular is nothing short of amazing. At Gangaramaya Temple there is a teeny weeny gold Buddah, as you peep through the magnifying glass on its case it reveals this amazing carving, every detail visible, I have to say though, there are display cabinets filled with the most bizarre objects, hundreds of broken watches, toy aircraft, it a bit of a “what the” moment, but no matter they are preserved for all to see. We visited a gift shop, of course our driver would get a kick back, I refused the first as it was a gem shop, I’m not a gem kind of girl, so we zipped around the corner to a tea and spice shop, where we purchase some tea to take home.

Tuk Turks definitely rule on the roads here, no gap is too small to weave through the traffic, buses, cars and tuk tuks filled every centimetre of the road, all understanding what the sound of the horn meant. The rain was on and off all day, it would stream from nowhere and then disappear. We arrived back at the hotel for a rest before we braved the local area on foot. After one failed attempt, we found Pettah Markets, the streets lined with stalls selling just about everything, shoes and bags were popular! We wandered down main streets and side streets glancing at all the wares as we went. While Colombo reminds me very much of India I have to say the difference is that you are not mobbed by the hawkers, sure tuk tuk drivers will ask if you want a taxi but they accept no for an answer. At one point the rain came down so hard we took shelter under a shop front, the water ran like a river along the path, a little rat ran from behind me dancing in the rain, frolicking under a couple of tuk tuks before retreating back towards the shops, quite cute really. Anyhoo, I have to say Colombo feels like a very safe place, we felt nothing but peace as we explored this amazing city and its sights.

So practicals, we stayed at the Steuart Hotel in Colombo 1 district, it’s very clean, tidy and comfortable. I think I mentioned there’s lots of tartan, in acknowledgement George Steuart and the fact the hotel is located in the old corporate house. Our room was comfortable and really has all you need for a short stay, including tea and coffee making facilities in your room. Staff are polite, professional and helpful. The only comment that’s probably not as positive is the lack of Sri Lankan and plant based foods on the menu, it seems to have taken quite a western approach to its menu, notsomething I was particularly looking for in my stay. Breakfast of potato curry was very tasty but the dosa and curry for dinner was not really dosa, in my experience, it was more of a flat bread and pretty average, but being time limited and still a little weary it was the option we took, if you eat meat and are happy for western food then there are plenty more options.

As for today, after breakfast it’s time to pack up, eat breakfast and head to the train station, today we are Hikkaduwa bound!

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Sri Lanka Bound – In transit to Colombo

Our day started early, 4am to be precise, we stayed at the Travelodge at Sydney airport to make it easy to get to the airport for our 7:45am scheduled flight to Colombo via Hong Kong. We arrived at 10:30pm the evening before to be told the bar is closed we needed to use room service, tried to order a 1/2 bottle of wine only to be advised that they had none but we could order a full one at almost 4x the price, begrudgingly we did enabling us to have a glass before heading into the land of nod. Our wake up call happened and it was time to get up, get our bags, have a mandatory cup of tea before heading to the airport shuttle. Following the destructions we had been given, the shuttle proceeded to look at Mr Revthreads and drive straight past, yep great start. Fortunately during this time our flight was delayed and we waited for the next shuttle. Anyhoo, once at the airport, I was shocked to find that nothing really opened until 6am so we mooched around for a little before grabbing breakfast, for a person living to a plant based diet choice is limited, avo on toast, but hey ho!

We sat at the gate and Mr Revthreads, who had decided the one thing he must take with him was a little dose of food poisoning, was not too great and we had a huge flight ahead. We’d decided that we’d fly Cathay Pacific, never flown with them before and it would give us a peak at Hong Kong, although we realised the typhoon that had recently hit had contributed to the delay and the misery of many residing there at this point. Once boarded and seated we settled for the 9 hour journey to Hong Kong. Poor Mr Revthreads had a turbulent journey in more than one respect, a few pointers about the actual airline will follow at the end. After what seemed like a long 9 hours we arrived in Hong Kong, wow, as we flew over I was go smacked at the number of high rises, high density living really took on a new meaning. We didn’t get to leave the airport, we had a 4 hour lay over, but decided we had such a big day, we had food poisoning accompanying us, so we looked around and had a bite to eat. Then it was time to board for the final 5 hour leg to Colombo. 

When we stepped off. The plane, the humidity and surrounds reminded me of India, which was very pleasant for someone who loves India, which I do. We waited patiently for passport control, a very slow process, before gathering our bags and organising our taxi to our hotel. The roads and streets were so quiet, one marked difference when comparing with India, but the street scape of Colombo looked familiar, can’t wait to get out and about today.

We arrived at The Steuart Hotel at about 1am (4am Australian time, which means we had been on the go for 24 hours for our 6 day get away!) Anyhoo, first snag, I’d booked our room for the wrong days, so that had to be sorted, but no hassle there.The hotel has tartan everywhere, which seemed strange, but it’s very pleasant as is the room. We bedded down for the night, this morning as I write this blog the humidity is high, showers are making an appearance and the hustle and bustle of Colombo is beginning in the background.

So a couple of notes on Cathay, we are flying home with them too, I don’t think I’ve experienced such a noisy aircraft, but such as life.the other thing that I encountered was that once I’d had my cup of tea with my meal, there was no chance of another unless I took it black, I found it interesting that an airline provides a vegan meal, but no further option for a hot drink on soy after that. The other thing was the inflight entertainment was touch screen only, so in the moments between movies when you want to have a cheeky game of solitaire, you have to sit up and play using the touch screen. I know first world problems, but good to know these things when you have a fairly long haul flight. On the leg from Hong Kong to Colombo, the smell of fuel was quie prevalent,annoying more than anything else, but we made it, Singapore airlines still  holds my heart for flying!

Day 1 in Colombo is coming up, so will be back with a more interesting post

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