6/27/18: Traveling to SRI LANKA!

I did a huge loop around the neighborhood for my morning run, ending near the big morning market by the hotel.

I went up to the same coffee lady as the day before. There two girls were ahead of me ordering coffee. Once they were done, I didn’t even say anything and she started making my coffee— she remembered me and my order! It was so sweet.

Iced coffee in hand, I walked over to the sweet potato lady and got my bag of assorted steamed sweet potatoes.

I walked back to the hotel, showered, and ate breakfast with Adrian downstairs. I cut open a couple of my sweet potatoes, spread them with almond butter, and then ate them with a side of some leftover papaya and banana.

Adrian needed to get his glasses fixed— one side was slightly higher than the other so it just needed a bit of adjusting— so we got a Grab to take us to the Silom neighborhood where there were bound to be at least a few optic stores.

Once we were there, we walked into several stores but none of them could really help us— the lady at the first store had no idea how to fix them, the second lady needed her technician who wasn’t available until later that day, and the 3rd place was closed. We decided we’d just try again once we got to Sri Lanka.

We drove back home, packed up, and checked out.

We walked down the street to Saijai for one last meal before our flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka at 4 pm.

I ordered fried noodles, Adrian ordered fried curry with chicken and rice.

Adrian loved his food so much that he wanted to order another. It apparently was one of the best meals he’d had in Thailand, which was funny because he was hesitant to go to the cafe in the first place, thinking it wasn’t that special.

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My fried noodles
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So happy

My fried noodles were good as well, but nothing exceptional.

I went to the 7 Eleven next door for one last popsicle: this time I bought a triple coconut one, which was made with coconut milk, coconut cream, and coconut meat. It was a great call— such a simple treat, but so delicious.

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Triple coconut!

Once we were back at the hotel, we asked the receptionist to call a cab for us since it was slightly cheaper than a Grab.
She told us he’d be there in 15 minutes, so we sat down and waited.

15 minutes passed and there was no cab.

Ok, no worries. We just needed to get to the airport by 2.

20 minutes passed. No cab.

25 minutes. No cab.

I was starting to get anxious. What if the traffic to the airpot is really bad? What if we miss our flight?

At 1:30, I was starting to really get worried. I tried to be cool, reminding myself that there was nothing I could do and I’d just have to wait it out and see what happens.

The receptionist could see that we were nervous and told us not to worry– the driver was almost there and he’s a really fast driver.

Finally, at 1:40, 45 minutes after the receptionist called for him, the driver arrived.

We got in, relieved to be on our way.

Despite the traffic, we were at the airport by 2:10.
She wasn’t lying! He really knows how to get through the city quickly.

The airpot was insane. I’d never seen so many people all trying to check in at once.

We got in the back of what we thought was our line. It went on forever: there were at least 50 people ahead of us. I knew there was no way we’d make our flight if we waited in this line, so I went up to an AirAsia employee and asked if this was the right line for the flight to Kuala Lumpur at 4 pm.

She pointed at a different, much more empty line. Relieved, I ran back to tell Adrian to get out of the line and into the new one up ahead.

A few minutes after we got in the new line, there were suddenly so many people behind us. I’m not sure if we got lucky, or if people suddenly realized they were in the wrong line, but I was happy to be in the front.

We got our boarding passes by 2:30.

Adrian went to put his checked bag through security before it could be loaded onto the plane.

The security people told him he needed to take his power bank out and put it in the hand luggage.

When we went to get the power bank out of his bag, we realized his shaving cream had exploded all over the bottom compartment of his backpack. Everything– his blanket, pants, various toiletries, the inside of the bag itself— was completely covered in shaving cream.

We spent the next 10 minutes cleaning up his stuff. The staff only offered us a roll of toilet paper to clean, so it took forever to wipe everything down.

Once that was finally cleaned up, we proceeded to immigration. This was a whole new source of stress.

The line was once again super long, and we realized midway through the line that we needed to fill out the departure card.

Neither of us had a pen, so we frantically tried to figure out what to do. Do we ask one of the airport employees? Do we get out of the line and fill it out? Do we just hope for the best and stay in line, hoping that the immigration officer will be nice?

I saw a white guy filling out his card in line. I came really close to asking him for his pen when we passed him, but chickened out when I thought about how I was going to give the pen back to him— the line was a winding one, and he was quite a few people behind, so I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to return the pen to him. However, a few minutes later we ended up close to each other again.

I quickly asked,

“Hey, can we borrow your pen real quick? We’ll probably see you again before the end of the line anyway and I can give it back to you then.”
He looked up at me, and after a moment of hesitation, he handed me the pen, saying,

“Sure. Here you go.”

Adrian and I quickly filled out our forms just before we left the big winding line and got into one of the smaller lines just in front of the immigration officer.

I saw the white guy getting close to us again, so I handed him his pen back and thanked him. Phew!

Once we were done with immigration, next was security. It wasn’t too bad, and we were at our gate 15 minutes later.

We had 10 minutes until boarding, which was just enough time to use the bathroom and get a water bottle.

We left on time and were in Kuala Lumpur at 6:20 as scheduled.

We had to go through two different security screenings: the first one was right after we got off the plane, and then once more before we entered the gate area.

Adrian got some pastries from Gloria Jean’s and I ate my leftover sweet potatoes with some chili sauce that I stole from Gloria Jean’s.

When we boarded the plane, there was more security yet again.
The normal airline employee checked our tickets, and then right behind him was another guy checking identification and tickets.

Then behind him was another guy checking the tickets and passports again. Crazy! I’ve never had my ticket/passport checked 3 times before entering a plane. I wonder what happened to cause such tight security.

We landed in Sri Lanka around 10 pm.

By the time we got through immigration, got our luggage, and got in our Uber, it was 10:30.

The city turned out to be quite far from the airport— it took about an hour to get to our hostel, Evergreen Colombo.

There were a lot of people out and about even though it was quite late, which surprised me.

I couldn’t believe I was in Sri Lanka! I had spent the past 8 months in the usual SE Asia destinations, so it was exciting to be in a country a bit out of the way.

Our Uber pulled into our street, but we couldn’t find the hostel. Everything was gated and nothing really looked like it could be a hostel.

We went down to the end of the street and turned back around. We got out of the cab and walked, hoping we’d find it somewhere. Eventually we found it at the very front of the street. There was a sign for the hostel, we just couldn’t see it from the car because it was too dark.

We were greeted by a South African guy named Grady who showed us to our room.

I was exhausted, so I went to bed pretty much immediately after.

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