24.10.2010 - 04.11.2010 29 °C
After I left Delhi, Mila still had to wait a week for her stamp so she could get out of the country. She´s back home in UK now, thank god. If you rent a scooter or bike, never leave your passport as deposit. I highly regret doing this in Goa, apparently it’s normal pretty much everywhere on the subcontinent. When I returned the scooter, which was shit, my passport looked like someone had been tampering with it. The laminated first page had been starting to come off just a bit in one edge before, but it was hardly noticeable. Now the entire page was coming off, barely hanging on to the rest of it.
Of course the guy claimed he didn’t touch it. Reporting it to the police was just going to be a bureaucratic nightmare with no real solution to my problem. I knew I was to get in trouble with this. When I was about to leave the country the customs in Chennai wrote, next to the Indian departure stamp, that I was not allowed to re-enter India with this passport, regardless of my visa. After coming to Sri Lanka (yes, they actually let me in), the first page broke in two and came off completely from the passport. The passport itself is a Swedish one from the early 00’s, the series of passports that apparently are known all over the world for its tremendously bad quality. It was worrying that Sweden doesn’t have an embassy in Colombo; they have a consulate that stopped issuing passports in March earlier this year. After checking their website out, I was told to contact the embassy in Delhi (a city I already was fed up with, due to Milas paper work, and a country I was not allowed to enter).
Thankfully, the consulate could received the documents by courier for the grand total of equivalent 160 €. This is what I’m waiting for right now, a temporary passport which I only can travel one month with. Swedish embassies only issue ordinary passports if you can physically identify yourself, so the first thing I’m going to do in Kuala Lumpur is to find the embassy. It apparently takes two weeks to get it for no cost at all since it’s a production failure, the fast talking woman at the Delhi embassy told me.
In the meanwhile, I’ve been hanging out with locals a lot and learning to surf. After travelling around like crazy in India for two months it’s nice to finally find myself a base. That base’s name is Hikkaduwa, a surfing hang out spot since the sixties. It’s not the season yet, but one can find some really good waves anyway. I rented a nice room with ocean view and huge breakfast, a dirt bike for transport and a surfboard for a grand total of 17 € per day. It’s not Indian prices, but still impressive. Staying at this base, I plan to do some day trips with the bike in the Southern Province but most importantly dedicate myself to learn to catch beautiful waves. Hopefully three weeks of body torture gives some results. Have to be ready for Bali in December!
Speaking of waves, Sri Lanka still has scars after the tsunami back in 2004. The locals tell the most terrifying stories. Over 2000 people died in a train that was heading up the coast.
In some places the memories of the tsunami are very obvious.
Apart from that Sri Lanka is quite different from India, people are more westernized here. I got surprised of how clean it was when I left the terminal in Colombo (too much time in India?). In Colombo people actually respect lanes and stoplights, highly unthinkable in India. The driving here in Hikkaduwa and all along the coast is quite different though. The long distance bus drivers have competitions with each other (for money?), this means overtaking other buses in bends without a clear view. They can easily overtake each other on a road through a crowded village in 70km/h, no problem. I saw some really crazy things in India and heard breath taking stories, but normally the buses have the lowest rank on the streets. Not here.
Most of the bus drivers in India are drunk while driving at night, there are actual bars along the roads (in the middle of nowhere) that open up after sunset full of bus/lorry drivers. If they’re not drunk, they fall asleep some locals told me. I don’t know what’s worse?
Anyway, I’ve booked some flights online a couple of days ago. The fixed dates are as follow:
Nov 16, Colombo to Kuala Lumpur
Dec 9, Singapore to Jakarta
Jan 22, Jakarta to Manila
Feb 10, Manila to Bangkok
The average price for these flights is 40 €. You can get great deals throughout Asia if you book in advance.
Thank you for reading about my travels, it feels worth keeping on writing!
Everything is possible if you put your mind into it…