December 16, 2014

Dambulla, Sri Lanka

I woke up at 07:30, packed my bags, and left the hotel; I then caught a bus to Colombo (I was in Seeduwa, about twenty-seven kilometers north). This bus was slow. It took two hours to reach the Colombo Central Bus Station, making me wish I had stayed in Colombo last night (I would’ve too if the internet hadn’t betrayed me with misinformation – I thought the Katunayake bus station near Seeduwa had buses to Dambulla; good thing I talked to the tourist office in the airport last night). On the drive to Colombo, I was impressed to see that Sri Lanka is a pretty modern and clean country with many convenience and grocery stores; something I had not seen since leaving Southeast Asia. At the Central Bus Station, I soon found the bus to Dambulla, bought some snacks and water to keep me company on the journey, and then found seats for my large backpack and I. I ended up paying for two tickets on account of my luggage and I taking up two seats, which I was perfectly fine with; besides,  it only came to 380 rupees (i.e. 2.90 USD); in other words: still cheap. The bus soon became crowded with passengers as we started our exodus from Colombo, heading northeast to Dambulla. I had thought this bus journey was going to be from “Point A” to “Point B” (or “C” or “D”), not “A” to “Z” with all the letters and some scattered in between; we kept stopping to pick up and drop off passengers along the way like a city bus, not like an interstate bus; actually, the bus became more and more crowded and the aisle was filled with passengers standing, pressed up against each other and everyone else. After exiting the metropolis that is Colombo, we entered in to the country and I was glad to see lush green vegetation everywhere; it reminded me of Laos and it was like an overgrown, well nourished garden; a garden isle in the Indian Ocean.

After five and a half hours of driving (with one ten minute stop at the five-hour mark), the bus reached Dambulla and I departed (the ground was wet from rain having fallen just a few minutes ago). I then got my bearings and walked to the hostel I had booked with online. I reached the hostel, checked in, and then talked with a man from Portugal who is currently working there and he told me everything there is to do in Dambulla (as well as most of Sri Lanka) and how to do it. I then dropped my bags off in my room and walked back in to town; once back in the center of town, I ate at MyBurger, where I had a double decker burger and a regular burger (both using ground chicken patties . . . I think) with fries and a 7-Up; this MyBurger restaurant (a chain of family restaurants in Sri Lanka) serves other dishes as well (such as Arabic and Indian), but their sign shows a giant burger with “Arabic”, “Indian”, and other ethnic styles of food written on it – this got me to thinking, “what if a burger restaurant offered different styles of seasoning for their burger patties instead of just different toppings?”; they could offer “Italian Herbs”, “Zesty Barbeque”, “Cracked Peppercorn and Habanero”, “Masala”, “Coconut Curry”, etc. to flavor their burgers. I wonder if such a thing would be feasible and profitable for a fast food restaurant? Would the consumers want something like this? I know that when I grill burgers at home, I always prefer to add plenty of seasoning. Anyway, after dinner I stopped at a convenience store, bought some T-I-guh-ER beers and other snacks before walking back to the hostel. Once I made it back inside the hostel, I chowed down and typed out some journal entries. I then went to sleep hoping that I would manage to wake up early enough tomorrow to see all that I have planned to see.

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An open journal or an exercise in narcissism.