21 June #savvytravelerJ124asia2016

21 June

Rise & Shine at 7am ready to start the day. We ventured out to breakfast together to deliFrance for a vegetable pastry and coffee for Sarah and fresh pineapple juice for myself. We caught a tuk tuk to the train station to explore different trains to different areas in Sri Lanka.

Did I mention I showered this morning? For the past month in India, I haven’t showered with hot water or a showerhead. I’ve used cool to cold water to clean myself. This morning, I stood under the showerhead with hot water. However, I had to turn the hot water off as the hot water was too hot for me. Therefore, I showered with a shower head and cold water. Thankful for showers.

We explored the area a bit when an older man approached wanting to practice his English and telling us all about his family. He told us that his daughter collects stamps from all over the world. We continued walking and talking with him for 15 minutes, then he flagged down a tuk tuk to take us to one of the 200 year old Hindu temple. We arrived at the temple, looked around, snapped some pictures, then we were off. He took us to the first Buddha temple in Gamapapa, a city outside Colombo. The first Buddha temple standing for the past 2000 years. We took a leisurely stroll throughout the temple exploring the intricate details of the artwork and hand patient murals on the walls. After the temple viewing, this man took us to a friend’s house who served us tea. We drove through a small & poor village to arrive at his friend’s house, We wanted to show our appreciation for his kindness by treating him to lunch. He said the most famous lunch in Sri Lanka is rice & curry, which we’ve read about. We ate. We thought the price was steep for the food, but then Sarah thought I had incorrectly converted the currency exchange rate. When we finally arrived back at the AirBnB, he charged us an enormous amount of money for a 3 hour taxi ride. I paid him for what I thought was a fair price. Sarah was tired, weak, irritated, so she paid him as well. He finally allowed us to leave. We talked about the price, and I thought it was way too much. As I went out walking to the beach to compose myself about the amount charged to us, Sarah had a conversation with our AirBnB host. Yes, we were scammed! It all started because I didn’t trust my gut instinct about asking about the price of the tuk tuk before driving away the first time. The tuk tuk also didn’t have a meter, which I’ve always been told never to load into a tuk tuk without a meter. As I’m not as seasoned of a world traveler as Sarah, I followed Sarah’s lead. At first I was a bit nervous, but Sarah was with me. She made the comment of ‘this is why I don’t make plans when I travel’. Even though my guard was up before this, I let my guard down because I thought Sarah had experienced this before. After we learned from our host, we talked. I explained my feelings. I know I’m a frugal traveler while Sarah is more on holiday. I told her I didn’t want to ask about price because she would have rolled her eyes at me, which she admitted she would have done if I inquired about price at the beginning of my ‘gut instinct’. We also discussed my comment about the tuk tuk not having a meter. Sarah and I disagree on comments like ‘it’s what happens to every traveler’.

Note: if you plan to travel, always ask price before! NEVER load into a taxi/cab/tuk tuk/auto/rickshaw without a meter. ALWAYS trust your gut instinct.

As Sarah has become more weak and tired with all of the activity today, we just lounged around. I walked up and down the street for an hour before we caught a FairTaxi to Rakshi’s house. Veva and Nadia were preparing Borsch soup (a common Ukraine meal) for Rakshi, and they invited us. We arrived at Rakshi’s house, exchanged our traveling stories, asked for advice, and became friends by the end of the night.

Bed time: 11pm.

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