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Departure and arrival

My 20 minute flight from the airport second-closest to my home to the airport closest to my home was delayed by about an hour (after we got on the plane) so I got some good sleep. However, in order to catch the next flight, I had to do the airport dash. I'm seriously considering changing my morning runs from a 5k jog to a 3 minute sprint carrying a backpack full of bricks. I seem to run the airport dash more than official 5 or 10ks.<br style="line-height: 15.86px;">When I got to Doha, it was hella hot, despite being early in the morning. Fortunately, we weren't outside for long, and the inside was well air conditioned. The airport itself isn't that different than any other airport- duty free shops, some food, etc, but I did enjoy playing with the legos at the toy store.<br style="line-height: 15.86px;">The men look like men anywhere else in the world, and there were plenty of women who did aswell, but also, there are a LOT of women in hijabs. Some were wearing typical western clothes-jeans and long sleeve shirts, but some were in full-length dresses. What amazed me about the dresses was that some were more body-hugging that the t-shirt and capris I was wearing. For being so covered , some of those girls sure show off their figure. Also, their personalities still shined through. Each hijab was a different color and pattern than the others. Some were plainer, some had lace, others came in crazy colors and patterns. Each girl was showing her personality by what she used to frame her face. And like a picture, some of them were really pretty with that frame. Some were even wearing a lot of makeup. In the west, we usually think of hijabs as confining and bland, but this was a rainbow of expression. I'm certainly not supporting forcing anybody to wear something they don't want to, but I can also see how some women would be happy to feel protected and still be able to express themselves. There were very few in full-veil burkas, and even those were usually embellished and not just plain black.<br style="line-height: 15.86px;">Unfortunately, I didn't have time to get out of the airport (not that I'm positive I legally can), and my views were all from the airport and plane. It was kind of cool to see all the planes in livery that I am not accustomed to seeing.<br style="line-height: 15.86px;"><br style="line-height: 15.86px;">Getting through the Sri Lankan airport was easy, although they don't give you the landing form on the plane- you have to get it at a desk inside. Duty-free is a bit unique. They have fridges, washing machines, and huge TVs in addition to the usual chocolate and perfume. It's on the way in and not the way out. I can't imagine carrying a full-sized refrigerator through customs, but I guess it's common enough here that there are multiple stores selling these types of goods.<br style="line-height: 15.86px;">Upon exiting this area, there are a ton of stands selling cheap SIM cards, an ATM center, and very clean toilets. Exit left to get to the buses. The one I got on seemed to be the type that leaves when it's full, not on a specific timetable, so I waited a bit, but not too long.<br style="line-height: 15.86px;"> The ride started out with a variety of green scenery- green plants by the shore, well-tended gardens by nice-looking houses, plants sprouting up in the middle of industrial areas, and trees just cleared enough for corrugated metal shacks to srping up in between.<br style="line-height: 15.86px;">At some point, it turned into city. The city overwhelmed me with sights and sounds- buses with heavy engines, tuk tuks revving, honking everywhere, and the chatter of people all fought for attention. Like many Asian countries, traffic rules are different here. Lane markings are just a suggestion, and certainly don't apply to tuk tuks or motorcycles. To cross the street, you just sort of go. But, I did see quite a bit of respect for red lights, which doesn't usually go hand-in-hand with the "no rules" style driving. People really did stop and let traffic cross at the red lights.<br style="line-height: 15.86px;">The bus dropped us in the middle of a huge outdoor market, not too far from Fort. It was starting to get late, I had luggage, and I hadn't yet gotten oriented to the hotel, so I grabbed a tuk tuk. Plus, I really enjoy tuk tuks. <br style="line-height: 15.86px;">They're not as cheap as you'd expect- something like $1 per km (or maybe he overcharged me, highly likely), but it was well worth it to get dropped right at the door to the hotel, especially considering I hadn't been here before and the train station was an unknown walk away.<br style="line-height: 15.86px;">After a good cleanup, I met my friends for dinner and a walk. We stopped in the first local place we saw for dinner and got a few traditional dishes.<br style="line-height: 15.86px;">First we got hoppers. They're kind of like if somebody made a really thin, crispy crepe in the shape of a bowl, and then filled it with stuff. The egg hopper wasn't super flavorful, but it was tasty, and great for those with delicate tastebuds. The second thing I got was a kotta. Basically, they take roti and vegetables, chop them up, and stir fry them together in a spicy sauce. It was really good. I will definitely be ordering this again somewhere. <br style="line-height: 15.86px;">On our post-dinner walk, we found a dessert place. The more interesting thing we got was some sort of fruit and grain mash that had been cooked in a big leaf. It was ok. <br style="line-height: 15.86px;">Again, the city as a whole was a bit of sensory overload. Neon lights were flashing, stores were lit up, cars and motorcycles were speeding by, and every tuk tuk driver was stopping to offer us a ride, then triple-checking that, no, we really didn't need one.<br style="line-height: 15.86px;">This was a great first evening in Sri Lanka.

Hopper

Hopper


Streets of Sri Lanka

Streets of Sri Lanka


Market

Market

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in Sri Lanka

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