I’m in Sri Lanka and I’m trying a new thing with travel-blogging

Thanks to my perfectionist leanings, I have a pile of unpublished drafts from my travels. Perhaps I’ll go back and finish them later, if I can still remember the rest of what I wanted to write. This trip, I’m going to try something different. I’ll post whatever I have, every day — there’s no time for perfection when one is adventuring and living in the moment, and I’d rather have freshly-captured memories to look back on.

Today is the first full day of my first trip to Sri Lanka. I’m doing it with three girlfriends from Indonesia — we’ve been best friends for over 20 years, yet this is the first time all four of us have traveled together. Cindy, we miss you!

Right now I’m sitting on a train from Colombo to Kandy, shivering my butt off because we are in the privately owned ExpoRail car, its A.C. on full blast. Seriously, this is colder than a summer day in San Francisco. My friend Alice was right, we definitely could have skipped this tourist train and gotten seats in the 2nd class carriage where you can open the windows and feel the glorious, warm air.

First impressions of Sri Lanka:

  • Everyone seems to speak English, which is very convenient.
  • A lot reminds me of Jakarta — the interior fixtures in the airport, the streets, the Bajaj in the traffic.
  • People are incredibly nice and polite. Our Uber driver, strangers on the street giving us directions, the hostel workers who received us at 1am and still brought us welcome drinks and towels, and the next day made sure we were awake early enough to make our train. Even the taxi drivers who were offering us taxi rides at the airport. The girls and I are used to much more “yell-y” guys who get in your face and make you feel like a tourist for prey.
  • Air conditioning. They seem to want to make sure we foreigners have this. But it’s so goddamn cold. I had to leave our hostel room last night.

I slept the whole 15 hours from SFO to Hong Kong and the 5 hours from Hong Kong to Colombo, waking up only for meals and a 2-hour stretch where I groggily watched The Family Fang. At the end of the journey, the two girls sitting next to me (who also poked me awake every time the food carts rolled around) ask me how I managed to sleep the whole way. All-nighters for work, my friends.