After arriving at Colombo airport, we fought our way through the throngs of people milling about. Unexpectedly, I felt a hand on my behind. Thinking that my travelling companion was protectively steering me on my way, I thought ‘How sweet.’ But how naive! After I got a quick pinch I realized that this was instead a rather unorthodox welcome to Sri Lanka from one of the locals! With this many people in close proximity the culprit would be hard to find, so I thought it best to go with the flow – a motto that often serves me well in the world of travel!
Our driver was easy to locate as he was one of the only ones holding a placard with Western names printed across it. We soon climbed into an oasis of air-conditioned comfort for the start of our tailor-made adventure.
We chatted amiably with our driver as he stopped at several points of interest en-route to our hotel. He asked where we were from, and the response of ‘Australia and England’ was met with ‘Well you must like cricket?’ Luckily we did, for the next moment our driver took a detour to the Colombo Cricket Club Ground, announcing he was a member and was taking us for a drink! All Sri Lankans love cricket, so there was always something to talk about no matter how limited the understanding of English was! This unexpected treat, beer in hand, overlooking this relatively small ground (in fact the smallest test pitch in the world) whilst local school children practiced with the dream of becoming the next Muralitharan was definitely more my sort of welcome!