Thursday, November 19, 2015

Christmas Holiday 2015

We have finally booked our Christmas holiday!  Guess where we're headed?

...Sri Lanka! 

The Wikipedia page alone gives me shivers of anticipation.  "Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), a tiny island nation south of India in the Indian Ocean, is a rugged land of rainforest, diverse wildlife and endless beaches."  Mmmmm.

Doesn't Ceylon just conjure up vivid images of tea, steamer trunks and sepia toned photographs, and birds and elephants roaming verdant jungles?  Maybe a spot of yellow fever? Or is that just me?

In any event, we struggled with, and considered, and hoped to book, New Zealand, Austria, Japan, Thailand, Italy... but in the end this seemed the right pick and I couldn't be any more excited.  It will be very nature focused, with a stay in Yala National Park (where elephants, leopards, and birds of all kinds roam free), followed by a visit to a world class bird sanctuary in Kalametiya, then a whale watching tour in Mirissa, and finally culminating in a few days of relaxation on a beach to ring in Christmas.

So far the planning of this trip seems to have caused more frustration and bickering between Michael and me than for our wedding, so that might give you an idea of the trials and tribulations of trying to piece together an itinerary in a country that is decidedly not logical.

For example, my personal favorite: there is an airport (Mattala) right next to the Yala National Park, which is where we would like to go upon landing in Colombo... but there are no domestic or international flights that fly to this airport, except for one direct flight from Dubai (um, okay) or else by private charter.  Do you know how much it costs to charter your own plane? It is not cheap, even in Sri Lanka.  The drive from Colombo to Yala ranges from 5 hours on a good day to 8 hours on a bad day. The flight would take 45 minutes.

Then we realized that the Sri Lanka flights from Hong Kong into Colombo, while billed as nonstop, actually contain a layover... in none other than Mattala!  However, no one is allowed to embark or deplane because it is a "technical layover" (what does this mean?) and, after everyone idles on the runway for a bit, the plane takes off again for Colombo.

What?? Am I right?  

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