Monday, March 26, 2007

Composure and Small Talk

Saturday, August 12th: Day 4 (Part 1)
We woke up for breakfast Saturday morning and packed up to be able to leave following breakfast (by 8am). Mr. Cinder and I walked around and took some more pictures of our new found surroundings...knowing that we wouldn't be back to this seaside location before we left. It was nice to drink in what we were blessed to be experiencing as a couple. It continually felt a like a 'dream' throughout the time we were there...didn't possibly seem like it could actually be happening and that we were some of the players in it.

As it drew closer to breakfast, we quickly took advantage of the access to a telephone and made a call home to my sister. Because of the time difference, it was actually Friday parents and our kids had just arrived at my sister's house. So where we thought we would give her an update, we were blessed to hear everyone's voice that morning. Up to that point I hadn't had a chance to miss anyone very much, but after that call it hit really hard. The reality of being completely around the world from my kids came down upon me. As we sat down to have a morning devotion and prayer before breakfast, I struggled to choke back tears and keep composed. It was one of few very difficult times for me on this beautiful journey.

We enjoyed our first Sri Lankan breakfast...fresh fruit that was out of this world (especially when you are Saskatchewan bred), toast and jam, eggs and MILK TEA...oh how I would come to love that form of tea!

Our driver ended up arriving a little past the decided time of 8am. This was our first encounter with the Eastern way of "throwing away your watches" - I came to like this, as for me it was more peaceful and calm. I found the stress a lot less, as the time frames were flexible and I observed people living and enjoying life in a way which was very contrary to the Western way.

While we waited for our driver, a bunch of the team ventured out walking again. A few Tuk-Tuk drivers along the way asked if we were interested in a ride, but we said that we were waiting for our driver to arrive. One very friendly Tuk-Tuk driver came right up to the hotel and tried to persuade us to go for a ride. He talked with us and told us a lot about Negombo and what happens there on the weekends. It's a very family orientated time...according to him, the beaches would be flooded with people in a few hours, as they enjoyed some relaxation, sun and time together...and probably a little shopping and sight-seeing as well. The driver tried extremely hard to get our business if we happened to get back to Negombo before we left. He was a very good sport...He let us use his Tuk-Tuk to take a couple pictures! He possessed a smile, was eager and proud to talk about his country and wanted to know more about our country. It was a great experience and we talked at ease with him.

As we were talking and taking pictures, our driver pulled up to the hotel. Then began the task of packing the luggage for 7 people into the van. Matthew, our driver, had an amazing knack for being able to use every little bit of space to get things in. Around 9am, we all piled into the van to begin the drive up into hill country.

The Journey of the Luggage

Friday, August 11: Day 3 (Part 2)
Once back from shopping, we had another nap...seemed we did a lot of that the first day or so. When we woke up, we found out that some of our luggage had came in, so we all hopped in the van and our driver took us to the airport - Sri Lankan driving - I will talk about this in another entry!

We experienced our first two roadside checkpoints on the way to the airport. Being that the airport is a high-risk target, security is extremely tight as you draw closer to it. What seemed a little scary at first, actually became second nature after the first few were under your belt. The van door was opened and we had to be prepared to show our passports. But we were blessed with an awesome driver...both times Matthew said that we were tourists from Canada and talked with them a little more and then they let us through...hassle free!

When we got to the airport, it was not just a simple task of showing up to claim our baggage and then go back to the hotel for supper and sleep. We had to present our passports, fill out a form and wait to be granted permission to have a one hour security pass to enter the airport, so we could make our way to claim the luggage. Once we had passes, we proceeded through countless security checkpoints, some where we just had to show our passports and security cards, but also some where we had to walk through a metal detector and be patted down - one even checked through the contents of any purses!

Once we arrived at Lost Luggage claims, we had to get a form, take it to customs and have it signed and then proceeded back to Lost Luggage. They then took us to a place to get our luggage - there was quiet praise being lifted up for the fact that all the luggage was there! Then we had to take it back to security so they could break the seals they had put on it and then we examined it to make sure everything was there. After this, we had to return to customs and have a form filled out and then signed. That form granted us financial means of retribution for the trouble caused - we received this both in the morning and evening. Then we were allowed to leave and go back to Negombo for supper.