Heading into Colombo I started to get a bit of a sore throat, even though I was steering clear of the Coughing Garden Theatre. All good though as we are well equipped with a wide array of strepsils, butter menthols, cold & flu tablets as well as antibiotics.

We arrived in Colombo early in the morning and were allocated departure times for our tour, which was to be a city tour by Tuk Tuk. To kick this off we needed to locate buses 69, 70 & 71.  There was little direction provided by the cruise team when we disembarked so we wandered around looking for our bus.  On the dock was an Elephant, sadly chained to a bollard and looking very sad.  Everyone was taking pictures, which is to be expected.  I took one but only felt sadness for the pour beast.

We found our bus and waited outside it.  Strangely there was only a hand full of other people there and considering this tour was booked out, we expected to see many more people.  Then all of a sudden bus 69 just drives off with only locals aboard, this left us wondering what was going on.  We found someone to talk to and it turns out there was a change at the last minute and we were now on buses 40,41 & 42.  We rushed to our bus, late, and copped a few glares from the people who were already on board.
None the less all was well and we were off on our tour. We had to exit the port area and then drive only a short way to where the Tuks were waiting. Along the way we could see the massive port works that are happening apparently all funded by the Chinese.
We all piled off the bus and into the next available Tuk Tuk. Ours was number 38 of 55 I think there was.  Each Tuk had a Sri Lankan flag tied to the side and although they were just dodgy out Tuk Tuk’s not part of any specific company or chain, they looked wonderful as we took off down the road.
There are two key points I learnt from the Tuk Tuk experience. 1) the white lines on the roads in Colombo are a suggestion only and have no bearing on where or on which side of the road drivers may travel; and 2) spitting in the street or footpath appears to be an acceptable habit. I saw this quite a few times on our short journey.
Along the way we visited some key sights, a large park with a budda statue, the Sri Lankan independence memorial and a Buddhist temple.  At each of the sites here was either a guy with a large carpet snake, a cobra in a basket or a monkey on a leash or a combination.  Again, this just makes me sad.  At one point the carpet snake made a break for a tree at 0.5 km/h.  The handler let him get close but then picked him up again. So close buddy, keep trying!
The temple was interesting to say the least.  Attached was a ‘museum’ which housed what can only be described as a collection of items you would find at the average garage sale.  Old broken watches, biscuit tins, classic car posters.  The only thing out of the ordinary in the garage sale setting would be the copious amounts of elephant tusks just laying around.
Upon leaving we were headed to the Kingsbury Hotel for a buffet lunch.  They put on a lovely meal of local curries, fresh fruit & veg and specialty local deserts.  There was also endless amounts of beer, although no wine option.  The yobbo’s in the crowd complained that that there was no roast or normal food on offer. Why travel if you don’t want to try new things people!!!!
After lunch we headed back to the ship.  The driver got lost not once, but twice even though he was the same one who drove the bus to the dock to pick us up!  It was all good though, we didn’t have anywhere to be.  We checked out the markets at the dock when we got back and Kath and Leanne both purchased little hand bag things.
While on the dock Gary and I watched as workers busily emptied 3 x 40 foot shipping containers.  While we watched there would have been 10 palettes stacked with 24 kegs each, and that would have only been part of it.  I heard that they took in 60 tonnes of supplies all up.

We had our first swim in the pool that afternoon.  It’s was very hot and even though the pool says it’s kept at 19 degrees, the water would have been closer to 30.  There we were in our rashie shirts covered in sunblock, while everyone else was wearing as little as possible, and that includes the older folks.  There is no shame on a cruise boat, none.

We left port at around 7pm so we all went up on deck to watch the ship pull away. It’s amazing how such a large vessel can so gracefully pull away from a dock so perfectly perpendicular. The bow thrusters were moving so much water as were the aft engines which appear to be able to operate at 90 degrees or more.
We sailed off into the night and were informed that the outside lights would be turned off and the external deck would be closed as there had been pirate activity in the area.  Great…

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