Colombo National Museum

SRI LANKA

1978

JOURNEY

Ben Oostdam

May 7, Sunday

(please click to enlarge)
A rather sleepless night because of cockroach concurrence. I read and wrote from 02:00 to 04:00 and then went back to bed again till 07:00. Then I shaved, packed and had a bacon and egg breakfast with bad coffee and good pineapple for R 12. Next I visited the harbor and the monument for its 1950 expansion. On the way back I dropped by Thai Airways and found out I was number 100 on their list and that they might be able to give me a ride around 09:00. Somehow I managed to reach their AC lobby at 09:10 with my luggage and some hippie couple carrying a vacuum cleaner. Together with the Dutch consul the four of us were taken to the Airport, even though we were forewarned there might be a 6 hour delay. At the postoffice on the airport I took the opportunity to weigh all my tar samples on their letter scale, unfortunately in ozs, so that I had to do separate conversions to grams. [NOTE at time of writing: I think that by now Sri Lanka, the Uk and almost all of the rest of the World has gone metric, except for Myanmar and the USA]
I passed through customs easily, but had to go back to change my remaining R 480 for US$ 33, which I used to buy some cheap gemstones and saris. During our free lunch, I studied my fellow passengers, including a group of French tourists, some more hippies and mainly Chinese. By 14:00, I wrote up my diary and financial status: 370 pounds sterling, US $ 217. I splurged $ 10 on mini liquor bottles and a spy book, which I almost finished by the time we finally took off, after some more free tea and cake, at about 21:00...We did get a good dinner served, and I did not get much sleep, anxious to see how Thailand had developed since I left it after having worked in the Dutch Bank there from 1954-7.
It was warm, Don Muang Airport had been thoroughly modernized, and customs were slow but easy. I helped a 75 year old professor and his American wife into the $ 2 minibus which took us to town - they told me they had bought a large and luxurious house in Colombo for less than $ 100K. I was dropped off at the Prince Hotel, astonished about Bangkok's new roads, buildings and modernization including pollution. I was given a nice AC room for $ 11 per night and tumbled in bed at 28:30 (aka 04:30 on Monday May 8, 1978), ready to start a new day and country.
Let me say in conclusion that I loved Sri Lanka!! but was also ready for the next , maybe even more Buddhist country experience.
SOME RANDOM LINKS ABOUT SRI LANKA's HISTORY:
Galle Trilingual Stone
Zheng He, 1411 found 1911
Zeng He
Maritime Lanka
December 26, 2004 Tsunami Damage
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Sri Lanka Civil War 1983-2009, over 80,000 killed
Sri Lanka president declared poll victor

BLO fecit 2010202_04 - contents 1978 Journey
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