Chapter 1 – Negombo/Colombo – Creep or not!

By noon, I was ready for a short stroll along Lewis place to have lunch and start my exploration. I planned to stay in Negombo for two nights, despite being advised not to. So rest of the noon was to be spent in an uneventful manner and the evening on the beach, which was hardly a hundred meters away. The plan was to do something on the second day. I stocked up myself with enough water and snacks to last the day if in case I ran out of options and was forced to skip lunch. But I very well knew, that’s not going to happen after the stint, last night(I had to eat). Despite being mid-day, the walk was not as strenuous as I expected it to be.

A substantial portion of rice and two vegetable curries were part of my lunch. The vegetarian dishes are pretty simple here, nonetheless tasty.  Having regained some energy and enthusiasm, I continued to roam only to find myself at the Negombo Fort, which is by no means an attraction. It is a place in ruins, where a bell tower stands reminiscent of a fort used by Dutch/Portuguese. It has been converted into a prison by the Srilankan government. I decided not to venture anywhere near to prison, pretty sure that it is easy to mistake me for a local rather than a foreigner.

A quick search led me towards pursuing a boat ride in the lagoon. After noticing a bunch of boats resting in their berths, I ventured closer to enquire. Before I could make any progress, a strong stench and piles of garbage made me retract my decision. I was already on my way back to the dormitory.  In hindsight, my friends were right. Two days was a stretch. What am I going to do tomorrow? Later I found out that the ride is a lot better than the entry points and the berth itself. But no regrets on missing a boat ride at 2 ’o’clock in the afternoon.

After reaching my dorm, I found that I have to share my room with a British girl, who is starting a 14-day trip from Negombo. We didn’t face each other until early in the evening, as I had crashed out in my bed, sleeping like a baby for a solid two hours. I woke up to the customary greeting that is standard among fellow travellers sharing accommodation. I headed to the beach, waited till the sunset, had dinner, explored the livelier side of Lewis place filled with restaurants and hotels catering every kind of traveller (budget to posh). After a short conversation with the roommate, we both retired early.

Earlier during the day, one of my towels went missing from drying stand. I had a bad feeling about this(bad omen). As I was gradually falling asleep, I remembered my plan to dry my clothes inside the room in my bunk bed. Screeching noise from the bunk bed woke up my roommate. She noticed me climbing up the bunk bed and went back to sleep or I thought so. I was drifting back to sleep within a few minutes, only to be woken up again to the noise of the girl packing up her things to move out of the room. It looked like she was in a hurry. She moved to another room in the same place. But why? I have no clue (The bad feeling got justified). I fell asleep with the thought lingering in my head  “Did I creep her out? or Was it just a coincidence? ”

I spent the next day in Colombo, which was rather uninspiring unless you are chilling out in a posh hotel facing Galle face green promenade and witnessing the sunset, followed by a sumptuous seafood dinner in Ministry of Crab at the Dutch Hospital. Dutch hospital, now a shopping precinct, was formerly a hospital established by Dutch East India Company, hence the name. I spent the rest of the evening back in Negombo, lying on the beach. Later found out that there was a new roommate, a 25-year-old German (Ethnic Indian) at the fag end of his trip, who gave me a valuable tip to carry my passport around to popular destinations to avail a discount. Yes, people travelling from SAARC countries can get a discount at places like Sigiriya, Kandy etc.

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