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Hectic Colombo and the Department of Immigration and Emigration

06/12/2017

We got some cheap flights Berlin > Colombo with  a stop over in Viena with Austrian Airlines, and they were wonderful! Punctual, nice staff, tasty food (for a plane food) and in the second flight we even got a 3 seat row for us 2! But I was too excited to sleep anyway...

We arrived to Colombo airport before 8 in the morning, and the first thing we saw: Palms everywhere. Instant vacation feeling! We went through it fast got some money from an ATM. Since we were going to stay for more than 1 month, we had to extend our tourist visa, and since we were jetlagged and tired, we decided to use our first morning to go to the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Battaramulla.

And the madness started: I knew we can reach it with 2 busses, changing in Colombo, so after rejecting several taxis (one of them offering to ride us directly there for 2500 rupees), we got into the first bus. The lack of sleep, the warmth, the backpack, and the culture shock overall kicked in and what would have been an easy task any other day, felt impossible: after 20 minutes of not finding the second bus stop, we surrendered to the most annoying tuktuk driver that took us there for 2200 rupees. At least the ride was fun: the guy told us he participated in tuktuk races, and totally probed it to us. Free adrenaline kick with the ride!

We arrived at the Department of Immigration and Emigration at 11:15 and went out at 16:15. It was basically getting a number and waiting until it shows in a screen to proceed to the next step. In the last one, the payment line, our number flashed for about 2 seconds, and the guy in the counter refused to let me pay because "it was not in the screen" at that moment, so I had to wait for it to show again. Half an hour later, still not showing, Alex asked another worker, and that one said that was a bug and of course we could pay... In the end we got our stamp, and everyone happy.

After asking around we managed to get two simcards and stopped a metered tuktuk to our guest house, which was SUPER FAR AWAY!! It looked ok, but not nice. The owner was not there, neither when we arrived, nor when we came back from shopping, nor while we were having dinner in the terrace (320 rupees for both, rice and noodles to take away), nothing. Luckily, another guest was a friend or something and showed us the room. We fell asleep at 8:30 or so, and woke up 12 hours later!

Sleep: White Villa

Published: 24 February 2018, by susana

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I travelled to Sri Lanka with Alex, and spent December 2017 and January 2018 there. We travelled with our laptops and worked in the afternoon and/or evening, so we had time to see a lot of places, but took it slow.

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