We had a couple of big suitcases and a small one with my work stuff in it. Flyers, training material and a laptop.
It was our first long haul flight. 9 hours in a confined space. To be honest it was easier than I expected. The time flew between naps, meals and movies.
Passing immigration was a breeze. I had my visa sorted so no issues there and anyone can get a 30 day visit visa without many questions asked.
The airport is pretty small and walking outside you go through this corridor of shops. Mostly appliances like washing machines and refrigerators. Not your typical airport shops.
Due to the high humidity levels breathing outside was not easy . The weather was hot and sticky.
Once our cab driver found us, or we found him, can’t remember. We got into the car. The drive down to Colombo was long. The traffic was crazy.
We sat mostly speechless just watching the unfamiliar surroundings. Men on bikes with no helmets carrying large objects, the rickshaws zooming past us, army men with automatic guns on the streets, poor housing conditions and so many people.
It was such a culture shock and we hadn’t even step outside for more than a few minutes.
Finding our accommodation was not easy but we got there in the end. My manager’s brother was there waiting for us. We met him and the landlady at the flat. We were staying in a two bedroom apartment in the outskirts of Colombo (the capital).
The payment had to be made in cash. Including the one month deposit required. Over 600 pounds in total. Bills were not included and we had to pay for the bed linen. My manager’s brother bought that for us and we found out later he ripped us off by overcharging for those.
To start things well there was no electricity (quite common in Sri Lanka) and we had no bottled water yet. Because of all the things we had to pay in cash we ended up with barely any money left.
We were tired and hungry. Had no electricity, no water, no food and were in an unknown place so far from home.
I regretted saying yes to working in Sri Lanka immediately! I cried my eyes out.
Afterwards I realised that that was not going to help sort out our problems so we went out to look for food, water and a cash machine.
We struggled to cross the road as no one really stops to let you cross. So we dodged the cars and made it to the shops’ side of the road. We bought some biscuits and bottled water. That was our dinner! We failed to get cash as we didn’t know how to use the cash machine.