Anyway, I arrived well in advance of my flight - only to get a text message from the airline to say that my flight would be delayed by 90 minutes due to the late arrival of the incoming aircraft!!! Bloody hell, I was so hoping that it was only going to be a 90 minute delay and not end up being cancelled! I was there six hours early anyway so the thought of spending another two hours just hanging around didn't exactly fill me with joy! But at least I had a good book so having checked in (always a positive sign when the let you check in!) I bellied up to the bar to get something to eat and nurse a glass of wine as long as I could before I got dirty looks! Not that they should be giving me dirty looks anyway (they didn't!) given the prices but … you know the guilty feeling. All in all it wasn't too bad given the wine, the book and a rather lovely young Irish lad I ended up chatting to when I paid for his apple juice!! No, no, it wasn't like that. He was about 13 I would guess and had wanted to order an apple juice when the waiter explained that while they would accept his 50 euros they would have to give him his change back in Swiss francs! Well he didn't want the Swissies because he (his family) had no use for them, so I told the waiter I would pay for it - which set us up for a lovely chat in which we sorted out Brexit and figured out who was going to win the rugby 6 Nations (we were both wrong - he said Ireland and I said England. Turns out it was Wales)! Mom and dad came over afterwards and thanked me for paying for his drink and we had a nice chat, but what a lovely young lad he was - so charming and sweetly confident! It certainly helped pass the time!
It turned out in the end that the incoming flight was delayed because it could not fly over Pakistani airspace given the current tensions between India and Pakistan! So while I was somewhat fed up of having to hang around even longer I guess it's always better to arrive late than never! The flight was a good one, almost 10 hours and I never slept a wink, although I have now learned to dress comfortably and take mini toiletries on the plane so I at least feel/smell better even if I do end up looking like Phylis Diller when I get off!
I spent my first night in the beautiful Gateway Hotel in Colombo. It was pretty expensive but an excellent choice. Indeed the whole experience was excellent and the food in the Chinese restaurant was sublime! Whenever I'm going to be in a foreign country on my own I make sure to stay in a good hotel and it didn't disappoint!
The next day I got a taxi to our tour's first hotel in Ngombo to meet the rest of my group. To be honest this hotel was a real disappointment, pretty shabby and definitely very tired. But, the bed was clean and the water was hot so I knew I could put up with it until we moved on. Later that evening I met the rest of the group, who turned out to be really nice. Well, with one exception as it turns out, but then there's always one. There was an older Canadian couple who were just great. Instantly chatting with everyone and when we went out to eat that evening the husband would sit apart from his wife and chat away to everyone. She was the same. They were obviously seasoned travellers and such good company, so a good start!
The next morning we had a short trip around Ngombo fishing village before loading up and heading on to our next hotel.
|My hotel room in Colombo|
|Can you see him at the top of that tree - not a harness in sight!|
|Temple on the way to Nuwarawewa|
|Not a good picture - but a mother bear and her cub|
|When I saw this I ran back and got my bag out the jeep - "thieving monkeys" is pretty accurate|
and I wasn't going to let that little bugger get away with my passport!