Heading off to Sri Lanka, my 18th country - can't quite believe it!
Really cold this morning...well, it was 3am! Got a taxi to the airport...saw so many people on the streets, some sleeping, some sitting chatting.. its like a completely different, ghostly world that you don't really see during the day... and as I've bored you all before, I've seen my share of early mornings on my travels! But really, this would break your heart to see how these people have to live, literally at the side of the road, with nothing to shelter them, until they get up and do another day of hard work. For me, it's yet another example that makes me realise how incredibly lucky I am, and how much I have - definitely humbles you. The taxi driver told me that apparantly there is alot of drug use in Calcutta...so sad...and these people have pretty much no resources to help them with the poverty issue never mind drug rehabilitation.
I arrived at the airport and for it being so early, it was pretty busy. Chatted to the chai men over a cuppa then checked in. No probs at all on the flight . Arrrived in Chennai around 8ish - ahhah now i had to wait around for a mere 13 hours till my next flight which only takes bloomin' 50 minutes to get to Sri Lanka...ahh the joys of cheap flights! But as i said - i realise i have absolutely nothing to complain about!!!Hmmn what do to with the time...let me think? Well, its me - so obviously I had to partake of some of the airport's delicious food stalls! A few veggie samosas and pakoras later i settled down to catch up on my journal and find a comfortable place to have a snooze. I know, i know i should have made a mad dash into town to check out the sights of Chennai but for once, i felt a bit knackered and just wanted to sit in one place - ok, maybe not for 13 hours but you can get a multitude of things accomplished in that time! So off to the viewing gallery for me! I remember this kind of area from my childhood - ok those who know my memory issue are laughing at me trying to say i remember being a child. Anyway, somehow i do remember seeing people off or meeting them and visiting the viewing gallery and watching the planes - exciting stuff when you are a wee thing! Well - this gallery was PACKED! I mean packed! There were people crying, saying goodbye, others in suits and beautiful saris dressed up to the nines, waiting for people to arrive....so much activity in this place. One of the reasons being that Chennai is a hub for many Indians who work abroad (99.9% being men) - the key travel point to Dubai and Singapore primarily! Then it quietened down and i thought, ah , a good place for a wee snooze.... well, it was until i was woken up by two (very attractive i might add!) airport policemen with giant guns asking me where i have come from and where i am going to....gulp! Even when you know you havent done anything wrong, you do feel a bit guilty for some reason! Anyway once i explained they applauded my choice of sleeping area, and left me to it!
I had a wee surprise when i got on the plane to Colombo. For some reason i was in business class! Yah! I was of course the only woman with the rest of the cabin being Indian men, every single one of them with large moustaches! What is it with the moustache in India - its everywhere!!! Very quick flight and then hurrah, I was in Sri Lanka - country number 18! Met Terry, who owns the place i was staying at! Lovely man and we had a great chat about the current political situation in Sri Lanka, and how it is ruining the tourism industry as so many people feel it is too dangerous to visit - absolute rubbish by the way as long as you stay away from the areas of conflict! I felt like i was living in luxury - especially compared with my skankville room in Calcutta. This place reminded me a bit of an old colonial home ...and the garden looked right onto the beach.. so beautiful! Met "Peru" who works there who showed me around. Off to bed in my luxury room and off to sleep ...soooooo tired!