Made it to Japan and Sri Lanka from San Francisco
San Francisco Travel Blog› entry 1 of 10 › view all entries
April 19th, 2008 – by: mdove
Well, I did leave on April 19th from Travis Air Force Base. The first flight to Yokota, Japan had 50 seats, and I was number 51, so I didn't make it. Then a plane that was broke the night before got fixed and I was lucky to hop on that plane. It was making 3 stops. Hawaii, Guam and then Korea. At least it was going in the right direction. The plane was a C5 aircraft with cargo on the first deck. Had to climb a ladder to get to the top deck where we sat. In Hawaii, when I landed, I checked the board and noticed that there was a plane leaving in 30 minutes to Okinawa, Japan. So I caught that one, hoping it would be the right move. It was a KC135, refueler plane. So incredibly cold. Oh my God! A nice crewman lent me his sleeping bag so that I could be warmer. I also had Vinita's handy dandy emergency blanket that she so nicely gave to me before my trip. Came in handy! The trip was 9 hours long. Not comfortable, but free! :)
Once in Kadena, Okinawa, I checked on a flight that was going to Singapore. I waited, but then they said it was confirmed that they had zero seats available. So I checked the next days planned departures, and there was one to Yokota Japan, which is where I had a good chance of going to Singapore. Spent the night on base for $28 a night. Very nice room, living room and kitchen. Had internet connection in the lobby. Had a two hour walk at 5 in the morning to the air terminal. Was tropically hot, but with a nice warm breeze, so very nice. So glad I bought a spinner luggage that wheels and spins any which way. Looked at the travel schedule and things had changed. Now there was a flight to Phillippines, Singapore and Yokota. I decided to try for the Singapore and Yokota flights. I could have got on the Phillippine flight since there was room, but I chanced it and opted for the other 2 options. Wrong move. The Singpore flight was diverted to East Timor, and no passengers allowed, and the Yokota flight had too many duty passengers wanting to get on so they ran out of seats for me. :(
So I thought about it and decided to purchase a regular airline ticket to Sri lanka and Maldives. Was so happy about my decision. I had already wasted too many days trying to get there free. At least I got 1/2 way for free!
Took a commercial Airline flight to Fujioka, Japan and had to spend the night there before leaving on my flight on Thai Airways to Bankok, Thailand. The food was yummy on the plane. Had a long layover in Bankok. Ten hour delay. Then flew to Sri lanka and landed at midnight on the 24th. The funniest thing I had never seen was that when you depart the plane on the way to the baggage claim, there is a section where you can buy appliances, like washing machines, etc. Very weird and exciting. Across the street from the airport was a park with a lot of people in it. I asked the driver why they were in the park so late, and he said only certain amount of people are let into the airport in Colombo, so the rest have to wait in the park. I guess it is all the families waiting to greet their loved ones, etc. Very interesting. So luckily, the man with the sign for the hotel was there. Staying at the Amanwella hotel in Sri Lanka. The drive was 5 hours long. The streets are dark mostly with closed up 3rd world country type of stores, etc. Much of the trip was on the side of the beach which was beautiful. The man had very interesting Tsunami stories to tell. He was a hero in my eyes. He had been driving the day of the tsunami, and had a young couple with him in the back seat. The first wave came and he didn't think much of it , but after the second wave, he knew they were in trouble. God sent him a miracle. The car was floating on the water about 30 feet high and bumping on the palm trees, and debris when another car hit is car in the water and they smashed into a building. There was a nail hanging from the building and the driver hung on to that nail to push himself out of the car and into the building platform, and used his leg to get the young man out and then they helped the girl to go out. Incredible stories! The man is greatful to be alive now and lives his life for God now. He pays money to the Buddist temple on the road down to Tangelle to thank God for his kindness and miracle that he is alive.
Once in Tangelle, we pull off into this alleyway that is worse than a dirt road. No sign, no nothing, so I wonder what the heck! I asked the man, and he said this is the place. I was scared for my life. I prayed and thought this might be the end of me. But thank God, he was telling the truth and it really was the Amanwella at the end of the road. They don't pave the road to keep it natural. The hotel was simply breathtaking. It's the nicest room I've stayed in all of my life so far. It is huge, with my own plunge pool, big bedroom, bath, shower and a toilet with a floor to ceiling window view of the gorgeous beach and palm trees. The balcony overlooking the beach and palm trees is so beautiful as well. The balcony had a lounge sofa and a table for breakfast to come to your room. The Sri lanka breakfast is to die for and right up my alley. Today I had string hoppers, beef curry, and coconut sambar with some fresh squeezed orange juice. It was heavenly! Visited the safari at Udawalawa State Park. Saw the sweetest baby elephant only about 2 feet high. It's truck was only about 12 inches. Lots of elephants, monkeys, beautiful birds, lizards, jackel, and buffalo.
The hotel staff is the nicest! Befriended a young man named Priankara who was nice enough to agree to take me outside of the hotel. They say it isn't too safe to go outside alone in the evening. We went to another Sri lankan restaurant. It was delicious. Also down one of those dirt roads. Was very interesting to hear this young man's story about life in Sri Lanka.
Spent the rest of the time not doing much which is the best thing I could do right now. So nice to be able to rest after working so hard all year. I finished reading a book, and I'm on my 2nd book. It is just fabulous. I thank God so much for this time. Of course I miss my honey, at home. Luckily, I have my cricket so that I can call him on the internet free every day. I miss him and love hearing his voice.
On Monday night, I will be off to Colombo again to go to the airport to the Maldive Islands.
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