Peter Falk wouldn't be impressed
Colombo Travel Blog› entry 4 of 48 › view all entries
Arriving into Colombo, Sri Lanka's biggest city, felt like the start of mini-trip for me. The past few days were nice, skipping through a few places, but this was my destination and where my sub-continent journey really begins. The flight getting in at 7.15am was a blessing I think, as the hawkers and tuk-tuk drivers weren't yet out in force outside the airport and without too much hassle I was able to find the free shuttle bus to get to the airport bus depot. It was a short ride, and there we met the public buses that ran into Colombo. Didn't have to wait long as a no 187 was ready and waiting and the few tourists were hurried on. It was my first glimpse at the cost of things here - the hour or so ride into Colombo was 70 rupees (LKR) (70c/40p) - oh it's great to be back in Asia!! It was a slow ride as the distance couldn't have been much more than 30km - the traffic is so congested and everyone and everything is trying to get somewhere - buses honking constantly, new cars, old cars, motorbikes, cyclists, pedestrians and the ubiquitous tuk-tuk - all vying for space on the same road.
I got off at Colombo Fort, the main transit area in the city, and as I had already decided I didn't want to stay in the polluted, grim city centre, I jumped on another bus down to the Mount Lavinia area. It's on the main Galle Road thoroughfare, so there are loads of buses going that way (LKR20/10p/20c), but again it took a long time to go the 10km. I was a bit blind as I didn't have a guidebook with me and the tourist map I picked up at the airport only had the city centre covered....hmmm, so I was just looking for signs saying Mount Lavinia and jumped off when I saw one. I knew that the Tropic Inn was on College Avenue, a side road to Galle Road, but I couldn't see anything obvious after walking around for about 10 minutes.
I probably would've spent less time in Colombo were it not for the fact that I needed to get my Indian visa at the embassy, so I had to wait round until it opened again on Monday. I spent Sunday looking round the main city, although the sights are pretty poor I have to say. Not a great introduction for people coming to Sri Lanka really, but still I went to the Pettah market (crowded and crazy), Independence Hall (underwhelming), Galle Face promenade (with lots of Sri Lankan couples making out underneath umbrellas!) and the fort area. Although, fort area is a bit misleading, because there isn't really a fort there now, its just the main commercial and harbour area with nothing really to see.
I decided not to stay any longer than necessary and after getting my Indian visa application in, I jumped on the 11.38 train bound for Hikkaduwa...