Sri Lanka…my arrival

April 1, 2008 at 7:04 am | Posted in Food, Friends, Health, Life, Travel | 2 Comments

Sri Lanka…the story so far

The first sight of my new country from the plane was breath taking, ,an island with mile upon mile of palm trees  edged with a strip of golden sand, this was so lush in comparison to the landing at Doha which so dry and barren 7 hours earlier.

Despite my tired and emotional state I was excited to have arrived and eagerly met Sarah Lynn and Jesse outside the plane to make sure we’d completed the immigration forms correctly so we could enter the country …god we were hot  and not wearing the right clothes for the 30c the pilot had told us it was outside!!!!

Immigration was slow but obviously successful we dragged our luggage towards the exit signs where I expected bunting and balloons to welcome us ..sadly this was not so but we were met by a tall lady with a folded up VSO banner. Anusha the VSO programme officer Mental Health introduced herself and Joanne another vol from Canada who had been  on our flight also. We made our way to the transport outside …it was humid and sticky something of a shock after the chilly Blighty we had left behind.

The journey at rush hour to Colombo took an hour, the Presidents mother in laws funeral was taking place so traffic was going to be extra slow on some of the roads. This gave me time to take in the sights of the streets crowded with shops their wares spilling out in to the pave ments and roads,terrocota pots ,statues  and plastic goods in plenty supply. The sound of cars ,motor bike , the three wheeler bike the tuk – tuk  horns  and cycles weaving there way in and out it looked chaotic and dangerous. I who have no lane discipline or road sense could not make head nor tail of right of way.I was told it was not uncommon to witness cyclists being knocked off their bikes!!! The people on foot moved fairly steadily the women in brightly coloured sari or more western style of long skirts and blouses, school children in spotless white uniforms. Stalls bursting with bananas, pineapples, orange skinned coconuts and huge papaya.

Our destination was a suburb of Colombo, Borello a guest house which was to be my accomadation until the 15th of April. I was shown to a fair size room with basic clean furniture over looking the roof terrace and washing line,bathroom with shower and toilet was next door. It has a beautiful garden with terraces brimming full of large plants and palms which reminded of a certain spot in Northern Tenerife (the home of Andy and Jack in Puerto de la Cruz,who interestingly love SL.)

The staff were all smiley and welcoming – heads nodding!

A brief intro from Angela a VSO support worker was received along with our allowance of 15,000SL rupees which equates to the equivalent of £3.50 per day for the training period, for an evening meal and any thing else we may need. We shared a little snifter of Vodka on  the terrace before an evening meal of a Chinese take away where we got to know a little more about each other and it would appear the mossies got to know me!!!

I woke with 14 bites not a good look for the first day…

Training is provided at VSO office a short ride by mini bus or a 15-20 min walk. A full time table provided seems a lot to take in initially. Language training  will start every morning even Saturdays.

Trying hard not to think/ behave like a tourist it is part of the adjustment- and realisation that this is where I will be living, well 6 miles out side the capital…finding it all fascinating which again is part of the process.  




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  1. lovey, sounds well exciting, but please don’t get on a bike!!! xx

  2. Wow, sounds fantastic Sarah. Funny you should mention the school uniforms. We were always amazed at how spotlessly white they were despite the dust, the mud and the rain.

    Can’t wait to hear more.
    (A chinese for your first meal!!!!)

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