Landing in at 11.30pm I heard that the Taxi to Colombo is $25 so I set out to find a “taxi buddy” around the luggage claim, after being heavily brushed off by some not so open backpackers I come to terms that I’m going to get ripped off by the locals.
I figure the smart thing to do would be get an Uber, to get an Uber I would need data, to get data I would need a sim card. Unfortunately during this I also found that I didn’t transfer money to my account, at 1am in the morning I was stuck in the circle of to get money out I needed data to get data I needed to buy a Sim card… while getting hammered by all the taxi drivers. Luckily the guys selling the sim cards let me use data on their phone to move money, one mistake I wont make again.
While this was going on I had teamed up with an English girl Nicole who was also heading my way, the taxi driver offered us $30 because Nicole was going double the distance of Colombo, in my 1am delirious state I had been offered $16 to Colombo earlier? So with Nicole going double the distance I managed to haggle $15 each and he agreed, …leaving the airport I realise we just agreed to the starting price and once again this wasn’t a taxi driver but a guy in his own beat up old car. Great start Jon.
The train journey
I checked into Bunkyard hostel as it had been reccomended by a couple of friends, but at 2am it was stright to sleep.
The next day I asked if there was much to do around Colombo and pretty much everyone I spoke to said no except from the museum, so with that I teamed up with Aziz, Chris and a group heading south straight away. Anyone that goes to Colombo I reccomend stopping here just for the fact ‘Aunty’ cooks the most incredible food, it’still one of the best currys I’ve had in Sri Lanka.
The train station was hot, sweaty with people running everywhere, we actually watched one Chinese guy run down the centre of the tracks to jump on the back of a moving train he was late for.
We got on the already full train and instinctively I had people grabbing my backpack and shoving it onto the over head storage to make more room, we managed to find a nice spot pinned between the toilets and door.
The 2 hour train honestly felt like it lasted all day with each station creating a wave of people pushing their way off and people forcing their way on.
We Arrived in the little sea fort town of Galle, this was a nice excuse to just chill out for a few days, teamed up with Chris and Aziz we spent the day cruising about and later met up with Everyone in Pilgrim’s hostel where we met Sofia who was doimg a work away in the hostel and she became our guide showing us the local beaches (as above), one included a place you could just swim straight off the beach and be surrounded by giant turtles.
Release the turtles
Nicole the girl from the airport taxi had met up with us and on her to do list was the turtle releasing, I’m always a bit unsure whether these things are ethical, on arrival everything seemed ok, it was Sri Lankan Independence day so they were releasing the turtles today.
When we arrived we were given a tour by one of the german volunteers and he showed us different turtles (not baby’s but 3 years olds) that were “being treated” a lot of these places I read kept them in concrete tubs just for show for visitors so we were a bit weary.
We were shown the collection of eggs waiting to hatch, these were brought by locals that would dig them up to sell on the black market to combat thisnthe hatchery offered them more money than the black market so the eggs would be brought to them instead, (a broken system but a start)
Next we were taken to the beach where we were all handed a turtle each to place in the water, the trick here is to place it as the water pulls out, taking the turtle with it, this descended into chaos from turtles getting washed up the beach to the local children throwing them in like grenades, my favorite quote was from the volunteer “the waves are good today, last time we did this the waves were so big they surely all died” well reschedule it for another day then??
Two english girls asked what happens to the other half still in the bucket and the lady was excited to tell them that for another $2 they could put another one in “and if we don’t?” well we keep them for next week, the girls quite rightly saw red and accused the woman of putting profit before their welfare, after 10 minutes of this she asked her volunteers to go place the rest in the water. And from what I heard this is one of the better hatcherys?.
In chase of surf my next stop was Marrissa this awesome little beach town, we had heard of a hostel called Colours hostel that was set up by a lovely Sri Lankan lady, the hostel was just being finished with paint everywhere and mattresses just being taken out of packets. Absoultely loved my stay in Marrissa, small beach town, cheap, nice beaches and good surf around the corner, this is what I had come to Sri Lanka for and I ended up spending four nights there and our little group began to split up as the boys headed north, luckily joined back by Hilma a legend I first met 2am in bunkyard the first night.
Tune in next time as we Follow Jon Along as I try to find some work for accomodation as I try to plug my spendage, with the rule the longer my bank account lasts the longer I can travel.