Friday, September 16, 2005

In Sri Lanka

Day one in Sri Lanka.

Now that i'm in an area rife with Dengue Fever, i'm getting more paranoid than normal. Mosquito net at night, spraying my clothes and body with 40% DEET, etc... you can't be too cafeful when it comes to a disease nicknamed the "Bone Break Fever". Oh, plus you can catch Malaria here too.

I'm staying in Columbo, the capital of Sri Lanka, which, like most other third world capital cities, is an absolute shit-hole. Noisy, dirty, filled with traffic, and lacking much to see. I'm taking care of business here, and then getting out as soon as possible.

I woke up at the crack of dawn, or as close to it as I could get, and head straight for the Indian embassy, where, it seems another 50 locals did the same as me. After an hour of waiting in line, I submit my visa application, and am told that I can come back after 5 days to pick it up. Success.

The rest of the day is spent running errands:

My first proper meal in Sri Lanka (but eating south Indian food): A Masala Dosai (a thin crepe filled with spicy potatoes), lentil Dhal, a samosa, a ginger beer, and a liter of bottled water. Total price: 1.3 dollars. Sweet!

I bought a new GSM chip for my phone, thus giving me a local number in Sri Lanka. Calls to the UK are pretty cheap (11 cents per minute), but I think US calls are rather expensive... however, I can send text messages at 2 cents each, and receive them.. so, feel free to send me messages on this number for the next 30 days or so. +94 72 3533972

Got a shave at a barber shop: Left bleeding from multiple spots. That'll teach me for trying to clean myself up...

And went clothes shopping:

If I were here for a month, and then going home, I'd buy an absolute tonne of clothing. Sri Lanka is home to many sweatshops, er, factories, which produce clothing for mainstream US brands. The Finn on the plane recommended that I go to the "House of Fashion", which I did. It was a huge 6 story clothing store, filled with brand name clothing, at dirt cheap prices. If I actually wanted to look professional, and outfit myself in nice threads, this'd be the place to go.. but alas, I have 9 months of dirty backpacking ahead of me, so buying nice clothes seem rather pointless. In the end, I pick up a couple of items, but not as much as I should have.

Later this afternoon, I'll catch a 2-3 hour train down to the southern coast, to the town of Galle.

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