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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Trip Part 1 - Sinharaja Rainforest

The trip began promptly on sat morning, at around 8am. We travelled 54KM on the Southern express way. Videos of which will be posted once I am back in Colombo. Below is the route map, google maps did not like E01 that much.

The Trip went smoothly with lot of pictures along the way of birds, scenery and other animals that we could see. A few highlights below, taken on the mathugama-kalawana road.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Kan Day 6 and Amy Day 1 in Sri Lanka

Kan Day 6

The day started with cleaning up and moving out of my room, in prep for Amy. Followed by a meal with some friends at Coco Veranda in ward place Colombo.

I also had some time to snap some quick pictures of birds and squirrels in the garden this morning. Pictures below.

Coco Veranda seemed like a nice place to chill out, amazingly comfy seating, good all round menu and reasonably priced. more information here . I also found a amazing blog on this place, that really does take you through the ins and outs find it here

Had a good long catchup with the friends about their plans and generally how life has been over the past year or so.

Amy Day 1

After enduring 1 hour delay in the flight Amy finally landed in Colombo @ 4:45PM SLST. It was around 5:30PM when we saw her bobbing out of the arrivals into to the concourse.

The delays did not stop, we then had to make our way to my house, which was 34KM from the airport, and we had dinner arranged at a Chinese place in town called peach valley @ 8:00PM.

As today was the last day before the holiday season, everyone was rushing to get home to either travel out of Colombo or generally to do what ever. Hence the traffic on the roads were immense, I have never been stuck in traffic for so long before. The 34 KM took us from 5:30PM till 7:40PM a whopping 2h 10min, where the first 25KM took us around 1h 50min and the remaining 10km took us around 20mins. It was a right disaster, cars, vans, buses, bikes, tuk tuks, coming at me from all angles. Also concious of the time I decided to speed things up as much as I could, which meant some speeding (by which I mean around 50KMPH rather than 5KMPH) when possible, zig zagging,  and the occasional use of the horn to get people to move out of my way.

None the less, after a nail biting ride home, Amy was finally at my place, all in once piece. We then had a 5 min turn around time to start our treck back into the city, where I had to brake really hard as I nearly ran a red light. But we made it to the dinner in the nick of time, in fact 2 mins early. Though I am rather keen on taking pictures this time I completely forgot about it all and went head long into the muchies.

The selection of dishes were not too bad, we had a wide selection of foods, and as Amy found out the food does get spicy even for Chinese food.

Following a rather successful dinner, other than one miss hap, of a toppled soup bowl. Everything went fine.

Finally we went for a tour of the city of Colombo at night, which gave Amy a chance to witness the well decorated city, which in fact was more lit up than London for a change. Way to go SL.

Poor Amy was rather tired by around 10:50PM she started to drift off to sleep. We reached home for around 11:10PM.

The adventure starts tomorrow at 6AM which is wake up time. Set off time is at 7AM. A Sri Lankan Breakfast awaits Amy at 6:40AM. Which is Kiribath, Sambal, and Fish.

With that note I think it is time for me to head to slumberland.... and a good rest before the long 115KM trip into the rainforest begins tomorrow morning.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finally the epic trip is set to commence on Sat the 24th Dec 2011, Route Maps Below

Day One

Sat the 24th of Dec 2011, we will set off from Colombo around 6-7AM hoping to reach the Sinharaja Rainforest area for around 9AM. We will utilise the newly built Southern Express Way for the first 40KM of this 115km Treck, the rest of the journey will be mainly through B graded roads, which I suspect will make our journey up to Sinharaja much slower. In my next post you will find out more about the rainforest and our experience which I will post at the end of the day on Christmas Night. We will be staying at the Blue Magpie lodge, for which the details can be found at this website 

Also be sure to look out for the pictures, for which the highlights I will post on the blog at the end of each day (If I can get internet connectivity via my trusty steed, my Nokia N8)

More interesting stuff regarding the rainforest can be found here  

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A drive on E01 the new Southern Expressway from Kottawa to the First Exit

Driving From Rajagiriya to Independence Square Colombo Sri Lanka

Driving Around Galle Road and Galle Face to Beira Lake , Colombo at Night

Cattle Own the roads - You only see this happen in south asia - fact

Day 2 and 3 in Sri Lanka

The second day in Sri Lanka was very uneventful, mainly consisted of meetings for work related issues.

Day three too started off with many meetings, however, the latter part of the day consisted of taking pics of Colombo, Going to watch the 3 musketeers at the new 3D Cinema at majestic city.

Managed to drive around to city of Colombo at night and record most of it. The first highlight of the day here  where a SUV driver decided to use the pavement to get past a bus that was blocking his way, interestingly it seems that such actions were endorsed. As you can see the poles on the pavement to stop vehicles using it have been laid down. only in that spot. So I decided to follow suite!

Following this we headed towards Colombo, my whole journey can be seen on this video here

The highlight was the newly renovated Independence Square and Beira Lake pictures I took of these places can be seen here 

Colombo is really changing, and much for the better, the city is slowly coming to light a good example is how lit up the shops on the galle road were my drive from Majestic City to 
Beira Lake  can be seen here , and the intense construction work and modifications can be seen in every corner. In fact, only 11 months ago when I was last here, things were much different.

The development of the Galle Road stretch between Bambalapitiya and Kollupitiya was rather well done, although I must say the drivers were rather scary!

There are still some remanence of the old war time Colombo, but very little check points or army posts remain, infact I had to look hard to see any of these. Almost all places that were locked off as high security zones in the city are now open to the public.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 1 in Sri Lanka

The Day started at 10:30 AM with meetings with various Contacts as pre arranged. However I did not account for going to bed at 6AM. Thus the day was long, and little did I expect it to go on till 3AM the next day!

Interestingly though the BBQ took place amid the backdrop of lightning and rain, it was lots of as such... the charcoal kept not lighting... thank god for lighting fluid...

The BBQ was not as epic or should I say eventful as previous years but none the less it was to some degree a whole lot of banter as usual!

Almost 4 KG of chicken and sausages went into the BBQ, and experimental home made garlic bread, the guys manned the kitchen with the frying of chips...

Of course as usual the point of the whole exercise was mainly the banter and the resulting yearly gathering of all

The guys informed me of a bachelor party for one of the guys who is getting married in Jan. Most of the discussion centred around this.

Currently though no such serious decision has been made regarding this matter, several good ideas were mentioned.

Some thought was given to the fact that Amy was still stuck in the UK... No chance of pictures of Colombo yesterday unfortunately. Although some excellent Dog on Dog action was captured... please await the uploading of this. See the Video here -

Some videos of driving about were taken, however I need to edit these.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Finally in Sri Lanka

Following the 10 hour flight to Sri Lanka, I am finally at home... the flight had a lot of turbulence from time to time. The day started off with gloomy freezing weather in London, and slight rain just in time for the plane to take off. As such there was a slight delay in the plane taking off.

Realised the world is such a small place when the guy who was sitting where Amy was supposed to sit knew almost everyone I knew... what a surprise...

Lunch was not great, as they had run out of one of the options, and it was either Veg or Fish left... so ended up deciding to go for the Fish... which I must say was not that bad...

Continued to annoy my fellow passenger by being a non stop chatter box, finally I realised I had been talking to this guy for almost 3 hours, but never bothered to introduce my self...

The skies cleared up slightly as we travelled over the middle east, and you could see the lights from the isolated townships below and the beautiful sight of stars in the sky above... truly amazing

Landed in  Colombo on time, I guess the pilot did a bit of speeding, going over 1000kmph to catchup for lost time at London.

Was a pleasant 25 degrees in Colombo, got some chocs at the duty free and proceeded to the checkout where to my horror my card got declined, I found out later that it was due to the man who operated the till not knowing what to do.

Got into the drivers seat to start driving as soon as I got out of the airport as usual... and also to test out the car, the final verdict on the car, need to change it.

It seems that my first day in Sri Lanka will be a busy one.... one meeting + changing the car + BBQ in the evening.

Next Update latter today!

Friday, December 16, 2011

20 Hours till the trip starts!

Finally after much drama, Amy has her passport however now needs to wait for her ID card to arrive, fingers crossed the trip will go as planned and on schedule..

Await amazing pictures from Sri Lanka on the blog over the next few weeks and a journal of my time in the Isle of Lanka...
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