Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thirty-five Hours to Colombo

business time
As far as traveling for 35 hours straight hours goes, it wasn't that bad. I left Sacramento at 7am on a Tuesday and arrived in Colombo a couple of days later on Thursday morning. I had cashed in 80k miles for a business class ticket, and that made the two longest legs (Seattle to Frankfurt; Frankfurt to Chennai) bearable - seats that reclined all the way flat, a nice big screen for movies, and decent food. Then came the 5+ hour layover in Chennai, India (note to self: avoid long layovers in Chennai, India) in what can only be described as hell's waiting room. Because we landed just after midnight and the Air India counter didn't open until 3:30am, and you need a visa to enter
Hell's waiting room
India, and about 15 of us didn't have visas, and you need 'clearance' (like a visa or a boarding pass) to get past security to get to the terminal, the group of us connecting to Colombo were herded into a holding area to wait. And wait. AND WAIT. We waited for over three hours for the airline reps to return, take our passports, return with boarding passes, escort us through security (major pat-down; sensing a threat, they confiscated my tiny manicure scissors), then trotted us through the underbelly of the airport to "identify our luggage," this involved a crazy jaunt down an elevator, through cement hallways, into a giant, hot basement where the belts for the luggage transfers take place. We pointed out our checked bags, which then were rolled away to our next flight, returned from the under-belly, were patted down AGAIN -- this time ladies went into a small, windowless, cinder-block room which looked like a good place to kill someone, and we were finally allowed into the airport terminal around 5:30am, just in time to board the short flight to Colombo at 6:15.

But that's what it takes to get here and you gotta just roll with it. Landed in the morning in time to hit commuter traffic into town, and an hour later arrived at my late grandparents/current brother's house on De Fonseka Road - site of very early childhood memories and a very nice guest room. Nilan had arrived a couple of days earlier from Christmas in Bangkok and it was a joy to unpack and take a shower. I took a short nap and then ended staying up until 3am working, slept for a couple more hours until 7am the next morning when Nilan and I went to the family coconut estate to visit relatives there. Got back around 7pm last night, fell asleep for about five hours, woke up around 1am, got up at 9am, and am hoping I can stay awake until midnight tonight, since it's New Year's Eve.
the family business