Sri Lanka – Nuwara Eliya – Hatton – Colombo

Day 6 (Nuwara Eliya – Hatton – Colombo)

Day 6 started with a big mistake. We woke up late, and reached the bus stand at 8.30am. The breakfast before that is worth a few lines. Breakfast in Sri Lanka is an interesting affair. Most people eat a lot of bread, and I mean lot! It all starts with the waiter bringing a large tray having 5-6 different types of baked goodies, vadas, a pizza (yes!) and some egg/veg rolls. The way it works is that you eat whatever you want and the waiter takes back the tray and bills you for what you ate. Our Indian tummies could not tolerate so much of refined flour and we stuck to either dosas or vadas.

Then we made another mistake by looking for a direct bus to Colombo. We were forced to let go 3 buses since they were jam-packed. Ultimately we got into the 11am bus to Hatton in a bid to catch a bus to Colombo from there. Had a hard time getting on but were fortunate to get 2 seats right behind the driver so we had some room for our luggage as well. Bus stands in Sri Lanka are a mess, worse than those in some Indian cities. Language is another problem with the other person hardly getting your brand of english. Hatton is 2 hours from N Eliya and also one of the places from where you can begin your trek to Adam’s Peak. We unfortunately missed this trek due to lack of time. The bus arrived in Hatton just before 1pm and we rushed to have some lunch. Once again, we had rice and curry with the same types of curries and a piece of chicken. I was enjoying this food, since everything was accompanied by meat, however Manali felt otherwise. She wasn’t enjoying the rice, particularly due to a pungent taste of the preparation.

YWCA International Guest House, Colombo

About an hour later we were again hunting for a bus to Colombo and it seemed frustratingly difficult until a couple of gentlemen asked us to be patient and wait for the 1.30 a/c bus, which we were fortunate to find a place in. Our journey resumed and soon we realised how traffic in Sri Lanka can get slower than an old snail. We were stuck in a small town traffic jam for about 2 hours and ultimately reached Colombo only at 6.30pm! We knew that the train started from N Eliya at 9.30am and reached Colombo at 4pm.  It felt like monkeys when we realised that. Then we spent another half an hour haggling with the tuk-tuk drivers who had decided to take us to take us for a ride, unfortunately – not literally. Manali was quick to snap “We Indian. Trip end. No money. Charge less” I think the guy understood that and he just charged us 180LKR to take us to our hotel. We had booked the YWCA guest house for the night. Its a big Dutch mansion, converted into a guest house wit about 10 spacious, tall ceiling rooms, though we paid 4400 LKR for just 1 night.

After dropping our luggage we sped off to the nearby Mango Tree hotel where we paid a hefty 1600 LKR for a parcel of paneer tikka masala, 4 rotis and a bowl of chopped fruits. Probably the most expensive dinner in our trip! We ate in the huge verandah of our guest house and said good night to the friendly lady who was the guest house caretaker.

Day 7 (Colombo – Pune)

Due to yesterday’s travel fiasco we left early and caught the 8.30am bus to House of Fashion. This is where Sri Lanka shops for cheap “branded” clothing – usually surplus or export reject garment is available at massive discounts. The shop was closed when we arrived, and we weren’t hungry either, since we had a lot of breakfast at the hotel. Elephant cola was inviting so I downed almost half a litre of cream cola and we spent some more time strolling the streets and looking into other shops. Just before 10, HoF opened their doors and we started our shopping marathon, which had to sadly end at 12pm since we needed to leave for the airport. A bus wasnt going to come soon, so we hired a tuk tuk to take us to our hotel, pick up luggage and take us to the airport, for 1600 LKR. On the way we stopped at McDonalds to get something to eat and finally reached the airport at 2pm. The flight to Chennai was at 4.30pm so we ate our burgers, and did some more tea-shopping. A pretty girl in a red top and really short pants (much to Manali’s dismay) kept me refreshed throughout the trip to Chennai. The pretty girl and her man then flew to Delhi so the flight back to Mumbai was boring, but I managed to squeeze a few hours to complete the blog. Finally we reached ‘Amchi Mumbai’ at 11.45pm and it was 12.30 before we could grab the taxi back home.  Sleep finally came at 4pm and we made the most of the 6 hour sleep and dashed off to office at 11am!