Sri Lanka – The Arrival

As we were feeling hungry, we reached a nearby restaurant, which was not so great, but still hunger beckoned. It was a Saturday. S briefed us on the plans for the following night, as he would be leaving that day itself for Abu Dhabi, since the Arabic weekends are only Fridays and Saturdays.

Only G, H and I were to stay that night. As our flight was at 6 AM the next day that  meant that by 3AM we had to be in the airport. G suggested that we not look hotels for tonight as we could spend the entire night in dance bars and casinos and go to the airport directly. It sounded like a great idea and we agreed.

The Nightmare starts!

We ordered for food. S was checking his emails for his ticket confirmation status or any changes. Likewise H also tried to do..  

The news was that Chennai airport Authorities had declared that Chennai airport was closed due to floods till December 9, 2016 in the wake of the rains and floods that have left the facility unusable!

SriLankan Airlines cancelled four Chennai-bound flights — UL121, UL127, UL123 and UL125 The airlines said it would resume flights as soon as Chennai airport resumes operations. A few extra flights might be operated to facilitate the stranded passengers in Chennai, the carrier said.

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It was definitely not good news! When we called Mihin Lanka  they too gave the same message that the flights were cancelled and the next scheduled flight was likely to be after 9th Dec. That too after confirmation of re-opening of Chennai airport.

S – was safe. He could fly back and resume work. But we 3 were stuck! We were of course desperate to go back and resume work on Monday irrespective of the situation. As the tension mounted, we looked for other ways and means to reach Chennai. We thought of somehow reaching India first and then finding our way to Chennai. On enquiring we realised flight fares to Delhi and Mumbai were costing bombs! Even if we reached there, how to get to Chennai was a million-dollar question!

We surfed for flight availability again and found a Mihin Lanka midnight flight to Bangalore. We thought it was a sensible option but how do we get the tickets?

The food we ordered was left untouched. Frankly none of us were hungry anymore. We left the hotel and decided to go directly to Mihin Lanka’s office at Colombo and talk to them. But again if they were of no help what next?

Suddenly S suggested that we try calling Makemytrip through which we booked the tickets. Since we were on the last day of our trip, we had exhausted all the balances on our mobiles. Luckily H had some skype calling currency through which we called MakeMytrip. We explained our situation and that we were calling from skype and hence it would be difficult to call back and that we’d hold difficult to call back.  We also said that we were open for destination changes.. God answered our prayers.. Finally Makemytrip accepted to offer tickets in Mihin Lanka midnight flight to Bangalore. We accepted that and asked them to confirm without disconnecting the call. S was parallelly checking the emails for their confirmations and thankfully got it.  After an hour of that uncertainty which came to end by getting our tickets transferred to another flight that landed in Bangalore, we realised that he flight time now was closer by 5 hours. Instead of next day morning 6AM our flight was now at 01.AM for which we had to be in the airport by 11PM. And the time now was 4PM. Big relief though.

We realised that we were in Bentota beach as we had requested our driver to stay put to ensure continuous signal to make plans for our departure. G lowered the window with a big smile to find a girl playing football in her swimsuit in the beach.

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Deciding to relax in this beach for a while, we walked around for a while.The next question on our minds was how to reach Chennai from Bangalore. While I was about to check-in on facebook I saw a notification that there were about 20+ cars carrying relief material starting from Bangalore the next day to Chennai. Most of them were my friends and I called one of them and requested to pick me up. They were glad to be of help. That too was thankfully taken care of.

This Bentota beach was going to be our final point of the day as the rescheduled flight trashed our dreams of Casinos and dance bars hopping at Colombo. The driver was the happiest as he would be relieved of his duty soon.

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We spent some more time in beach and started moving towards Colombo. We reached my college junior’s restaurant as he had invited us for dinner. We reached the restaurant. We had just 150 minutes left, in which we needed to finish a quick shopping too.

At 9, late in the evening we went for shopping! We decided to quickly pick up a couple of dresses for kids and wind up. Most of the dress materials there were made in India. We couldn’t logically buy a dress abroad that carried the label ‘Made in India’. Finally we somehow managed to find a few without the labels and bought them. It was 9.45 and we had to be in the airport by 11.

We went back to the restaurant. My friend tried his best to explain about the different kinds of food, but none of us were in a mood to listen, although we just nodded our heads. Settling the  cab bill, finishing the selfie groupie formalities and bidding a goodbye with a big thank you to Mr.Haran ( my junior) who had arranged the cab, that too with a very patient, Tamil speaking driver who put up with our nonsensical chats in the cab.

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We were tensed as we rushed into the airport, with a million questions. What if the ticket was not accepted? What was our Plan B? What other options did we have? S’s flight was as scheduled and he left for the check in formalities.

 

In the waiting hall… like refugees…

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We sighed in relief only after boarding the flight…

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Our flight was delayed by an hour but finally took off by 2AM and landed in Bangalore by 3.10AM. Mother India! It was good to be back! The Yummy break fast that gave a bigh relief 🙂

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As planned we joined the relief material team and reached Chennai.

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