The D- Day finally dawned! The flight time was 3 am the following morning, the excitement of course started a day in advance. Frequent con-calls flew between us to discuss how many sets of clothing we’d need, the type, as Mr. G the beach boy mentioned that entry to casino was subject to a dress code. And as for water sports, we needed to have a hybrid shorts that keeps one dry even underwater.
The biggest challenge was to carry everything we needed but within the stipulated 15 kgs if we didn’t want to pay for excess baggage.
4PM. I started for home from office, since I had some last minute purchases on the way. I reached home by 5.15 after picking it all up on the way. I started my packing ticking things off my check list one by one. .
6PM. Finally I was all set to go but damn! it started to rain. Mr.G started feeling restless. We might get struck in the traffic due to the rains he felt. He forced me to start early to be on the safer side. I was feeling lethargic but nevertheless when I surfed to book a cab, I managed to find one only after a long time of surfing.
My wife gave me a strange look. Probably thinking if I’d lost it since I was rushing to the airport 6 hours in advance. But then the rain made me anxious and it definitely was better to start early. The cab guy thankfully rescued me from more such stares and glares.
It was time to start! Never mind the usual fears. What if I did not return home? What if there was a flight hijack or terrorist kidnapping or anything equally bizarre?. Not wanting to express anything and scaring my wife, I gave her a quick, tight hug. I would be in touch through Whatsapp everyday I promised.
Starting from home, I picked Mr.G from his residence and reached the airport by 9PM, feeling that it was sensible of Mr.G to urge us to start early as there were traffic jams everywhere.
Its just 10.28PM
Mr.H joined us around 11PM. Kept staring at the announcement boards for our flight status.
We got the announcement for the security check by 12.00 AM. We completed the stamping and other procedures
and boarded the Mihin Lanka flight by 2AM.
“Āyubūvan” – was the first Sinhalese word I heard, meaning “Hello” and that’s how we were welcomed by the cabin staff!
Seated in our seats, I peeped out and saw it was raining heavily outside!
Being a first time flyer at night, flying over the Indian Ocean leaving behind the distant lights of Chennai was a great experience! The turbulence of course was scary.
The flight landed at Bandaranaike International Airport within 60 minutes which is 20 minutes earlier than the scheduled travel time.
Warmly welcomed by Buddha, We completed the Visa stamping and entry formalities in no time. We were given a SIM card free and the activation was quite simple by just inserting into the mobile and typing the passport number as Identity. Only the SIM card came free. One needs to topup to make calls.
As I had already spoken to one of my college junior, who lives in Colombo he agreed to organize a cab for us. He received us at the Airport. Meantime, the other guy Mr.S who was supposed to join us from Abu Dhabi also landed.
Thanks to my collegemate, a massive Toyota Dolphin, which was more than enough for 4 of us picked us up.
We got in and started towards our first destination of the day Sigiriya Fort!