7/25/18: The LAST Day of Backpacking! 😨

I did my very last run of my backpacking trip. I ran through the quieter village streets of Mirissa, and braced myself for one more chance at getting bit or attacked by a stray dog.

I managed to survive. I am SO happy to be able to run without being stressed out about dogs. That is one positive about moving back to Japan.

We had one last breakfast feast and then hit the road to make our way back to Colombo.

We drove for about an hour and a half before stopping at a turtle conversation & hatchery place in Hikkaduwa that Adrian wanted to visit.

I could see that they meant well, but it was a bit sad to see. There were HUGE turtles living in tiny spaces. And some of them were only there for “educational purposes,” i.e. so that tourists can see them up close. Some of them were there because they are handicapped and need help re-learning how to swim, but I’m even a bit skeptical of that. I felt like we weren’t really helping them much by having them live in a tiny pool, all alone and constantly being bothered by humans.

We were there for about 15 minutes and then continued on our journey.

People here drive like they WANT to get killed— backing out on to busy streets, overtaking when another car is already passing someone, driving on the wrong side of the road, turning without looking… and so on.

Before we started the tuk-tuk adventure, the tuk tuk rental people said the chaos that you see from the outside would make more sense and have more of a flow once you’re in it, but I disagree. I didn’t experience that at all. People drive senselessly here.

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Was laughing at this man sleeping in the back of the truck

We eventually reached Colombo safe and sound at 1:30. I was starving.

First order of business was Smokey’s. It’s a vegan cafe that sells really amazing, cheap brownies. Once we had those boxed up, we went to a local place for lunch. I got rice and curry. One of the curries had a strange vegetable that I’d never had before. It looked like okra but was not. The outer layer had a super hard texture, like lemongrass, so I wasn’t sure if I could eat it. I ended up just scraping out the inner parts, which had soft pods, and left out the outside.

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Weird veggie on bottom right

We had to figure out how to get to our guesthouse, which was near the airport. We decided to take the public bus to Colombo Fort and then find a bus from there.

It took over an hour to get to Fort. And it’s only 10 kilometers away. 10 KILOMETERS. THAT’S 6 MILES. The traffic here is so insanely horrible.

When we got off the bus, we had to find the big bus station. I wasn’t sure who to ask, so I just started walking. I eventually asked a tuk-tuk driver, and he pointed us in the general direction. We were going the right way, so we kept walking.

About 5 minutes later, we hit the station.

I asked a guy working there if there was a bus to Seeduwa, the town where the guesthouse was located.

There was a bus right by us about to leave for Seeduwa, so we hopped on. It was really crowded— I got a seat, but Adrian had to stand.

I looked at my phone and realized that Seeduwa was 24 kilometers away. I had no idea it was so far!

Man, the backpacking Gods weren’t going to let me off easy on my last day. They were really testing my patience with all this transport.

We arrived at Hotel Dinara about an hour and a half later.

It took us 3 hours to get from Colombo to the hotel. THREE HOURS. Under no circumstance should it take that long to get from the city to the airport. And it’s only about 35 kilometers (21 miles). This city has a serious traffic problem.

We checked into our room, and the owner brought us tea and cookies. I love how that is such a norm here— it’s so nice!

I needed to pick up a couple things from the drug store, so I went out while Adrian took a quick nap.

I was out for maybe 30 minutes, and during that time I was catcalled by several men. It’s so crazy to experience how different men treat me when I’m with another man versus when I’m alone. It’s truly disgusting.

We went out for dinner around 7. I got roti and curry; Adrian got rice and curry. It was a really good final meal. I’m definitely going to miss the food here. I think this was my favorite country in terms of food.

When we got back to the hotel, an overwhelming fear suddenly came over me.

I’m going back to Japan. I have to start life again. I have to find a job. I have to make money. What have I learned in the past 8 months? What is my career going to be? What’s the best next move for me? How long am I going to stay in Japan?

For the past 8 months, I could live my life how I wanted and just concentrate on the days as they came. But now, it was over. And I had to figure it all out again.

Everything moving forward would be a complete unknown. I had no idea what was to come. And that was terrifying.

I got a tuk-tuk to the airport at 11.

It sucked saying bye to Adrian. The past 6 weeks together FLEW, and it’s going to be so weird to return to normal life without him. I tried my best not to think about it too hard— I didn’t want to be that weirdo crying by herself at the airport.

The airport lines were INSANE.
First, there was a security check to get into the airport. Long line number 1.
After that, there was another security check to get to the check-in counters. Long line number 2.
Then, there was the Singapore Airlines check-in. Long line number 3.
After that was emigration. Long (super long) line number 4.

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My vegan meal!

And then I was finally able to get to my gate. I’m not sure if it’s always that crowded or if I just got really unlucky, but that was insane.

My flight boarded on time and I was on my way home.

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