“Once you are on the Galle road, please cross the road at the crossing and walk to your left until you reach an opening on the road with a mural on the wall adjacent to our building”.
That was the final part of the how-to-get-to-the-hostel email.
I had eventually realised that, with not long to go to my flight to Sri Lanka, I still had no idea how to reach my hostel in the capital city of Colombo. So I emailed them and they sent me a set of instructions that involved catching a local bus, asking the driver to drop me off at a specific location, identifying a couple of supposedly easy to find landmarks, and looking for a mural on a wall. The map app on my smartphone (maps.me – highly recommended) helped fill in the blanks. I was ready to go!
Visa checked, currency exchanged (you cannot buy Sri Lankan Rupees outside of the country), then air-conditioned bus to the city (fare: variable depending on your bargaining skills. I paid R 200).
At the main Colombo bus station the unbearable heat, the colours, the noise and the smells hit my senses all in one go. Excitement kicked in: Sri Lanka, here I am!
I eventually reached my hostel after a ride on the overcrowded local bus (fare: R 15), only foreigner on board, and with my uttermost gratitude to the Sri Lankan girl sitting next to me who answered all my newbie questions.
And now after an evening stroll around the area and my first trip to the local shops, I am sitting on my bunk bed typing this post and getting ready for more.