7/18/18: Tuk-tuk Road Trip, Day 1 (Sri Lanka)

I went for a 6-mile run and somehow found a lake and dirt trails in the middle of Colombo.

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We bought breakfast from a local restaurant— paratha and daal— and ate it at the guesthouse. It was really good and really filling.

We walked over to the Tuk Tuk Rental office to get our tuk-tuk. We were renting one for our last week in Sri Lanka.

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Our instructor took us to a quiet street to do a short lesson. On the way, the fuel ran out completely so we had to wait for someone to come help us. That was a fun start.

After the lesson, we went back to the office and had to wait for them to inspect and clean the car for us before we could hit the road officially.

We finally got the Tuk Tuk around 11:30 and then had to go back to our guesthouse to check out. By the time we actually started our journey to Unawatuna, it was around 12:15.

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wooooo!

The car engine kept turning off every time we’d come to a stop, and so Adrian had to restart the engine (which took a couple tries) many times. The first time it happened, we were right in the middle of Colombo traffic. Cars were honking at us from behind, telling us to move out of the way. Oops. The second time also happened in Colombo while we were stopped at a traffic light. Another tuk tuk driver saw that we were struggling and helped move our car to the side of the road so we could restart our engine without being a nuisance to everyone else.

So things started out really well.

It was also really funny to see people’s reactions to Adrian driving a tuk-tuk. Some were really happy and gave us thumbs up, and some just looked so confused. Why is a white guy driving a tuk-tuk? What is his deal?

Tuk-tuks are a working class vehicle here, so seeing a white guy driving one could either be perceived as 1) A positive thing because he’s “one of us,” or 2) A negative thing because he’s just mocking us.

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Big Pagoda in the distance!
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Coconuts everywhere

We stopped in Kosgoda for lunch.

When we got out of the tuk-tuk, there was a random guy there who showed us into the restaurant. He then started communicating our orders with the owner, so we thought he worked there.

But at the end, when we were getting back into the tuk-tuk, he kept telling Adrian to give him 200 rupees. We weren’t sure why, but we told him no and drove away. I think it’s because he doesn’t actually work there and “helps” tourists by communicating with the restaurant owner. But it’s totally unnecessary.

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We kept driving along the ocean. The cars here are insane with their overtaking. It is especially scary when a car overtakes a bike while the bike is overtaking a different car, so you have 3 cars lined up, all trying to overtake each other. There were multiple moments when my heart nearly stopped beating.

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We stopped for a coconut from a road-side vendor. My coconut water was so sweet, it was one of the best I’ve ever had.

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One random guy pulled up on his motorbike. He seemed like another customer, so I didn’t give him much thought. He came over to us to chat, and then pulled out a ginormous glass jar. At first I thought it was liquor, but then I realized it was honey. He told us it’s good with the coconut meat, and poured a little bit of it into ur coconuts for us. It was indeed a nice touch.

Then he asked us if we wanted to buy the honey. First of all, the jar was way too huge for us to be carrying around in our backpacks, and second of all, we just didn’t need that much honey for any reason. They really love to pull money out of you here.

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Tuk tuk modelin’

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We got to Unawatuna around 5:30. We checked in and then quickly walked to the beach. We had a swim and then sat in the sand.

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We got beers from a restaurant nearby and sat in their chairs overlooking the ocean, chatting and chilling for a while.

We went back, showered, and then went to find dinner.

We couldn’t find anywhere cheap. We were used to paying $1 or $2 for a meal, but all these restaurants were asking for $3 minimum. I guess that’s what happens when you go to touristy, beachy places.

We eventually sat down at a cheap-ish restaurant called seafood something and I got veggie chop suey. It was way too salty and actually pretty horrible. One of the first bad meals I’ve had here.

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We stayed there until around 10:30. I was exhausted by the time we got home.

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