Arriving in Colombo
After a quick stopover in Dubai, complete with extravagant fountains, lavish mocktails, and a failed bus stowaway attempt on my part, Sid and I were on our way to Sri Lanka! Navigating the Dubai International Airport was a breeze, especially considering Emirates has an entire floor of a terminal devoted to first class passengers—fully segregating plebeians from the patricians (and the savvy points and miles aficionados).
After arriving at Bandaranaike International Airport, we grabbed our bags, withdrew wads of Sri Lankan rupees, and thrillingly negotiated our taxi to Colombo. As we neared the city, we adjusted to the endearingly third-world smog and stared out of the taxi windows expectantly. After checking in at Ellen's Place, we grabbed a tuk-tuk to the more central part of town, stopping to visit Gangaramaya Temple and walking onward from there. Drawn toward the iconically colonial Galle Face Hotel, we caught an Indian Ocean sunset before our stomachs beckoned us on to our first taste of Sri Lankan cuisine. We opted to dine at Chutney's, an upscale, but very affordable (for foreigners) restaurant located within the Cinnamon Grand Colombo. Needless to say, we over-ordered and underestimated our ability to handle Sri Lankan spice, but loved our meal nonetheless.
The next day we jumped eagerly into our prearranged hired car (a common transportation choice in Sri Lanka given its affordability and flexibility for tourists), made a quick visit to the Old Dutch Hospital, and were on our way north to Sri Lanka's famed Cultural Triangle.