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Date : 8th November, 2015
Time : GARMIN DATA CORRUPTED
Total distance run to date : 620 km
Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/985065572 (part)
Luke, the ever patient travel agent, always books me into the cheapest possible place. That’s the cheapest place he’s allowed to book from the Trailfinders list so it’s not normally too bad. It’s not like I’m youth hostelling.
Not that there’s anything wrong with youth hostels. When I was younger, there was a gap between my travel aspirations and my budget, so I used to stay with friends or in youth hostels. I even stayed in a youth hostel in Las Vegas – a little anachronistic perhaps as hotels are sort of why you go to Vegas.
Anyway. I’ll never forget that youth hostel. We were all fast asleep in our dorm when someone suddenly shouted “You. I’m watching you. I’m going to kill you”.
The right response was no doubt to get out of bed and either :
a) Console the poor fellow who was having a nightmare ; or
b) Confront the man who’d woken us all up and was threatening one of our dorm mates.
Did any of us do that? Err….no. To a man we pulled the sheets over our heads and hoped he wasn’t looking at us. And prayed that we weren’t going to be part of the Great Las Vegas Youth Hostel Massacre.
I digress. The good thing about the places Luke books is that they’re normally somewhere central in an ordinary part of the capital city. Which gives me the chance to get a sense of the city and the country I’m visiting.
But in Sri Lanka’s case the cheapest place wasn’t in the capital Colombo but in Mt Lavinia about 10k south of the capital (and about an hour’s taxi ride from the airport). It’s a holiday area, separated from the beach by the main coastal railway line, and mostly (per a hotel employee) visited by Indians and Chinese on budget tours.
As far as I could ascertain, there’s nothing particular to see in the area and no real place to run apart from the beach. So that’s where I ran. Or, more accurately, shuffled.
I was feeling a little battered and bruised from the previous day’s fall, groggy from a lack of sleep and hungry because I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. I strolled across the rail track, ran along the beach for a bit and, when it ended, ran along the road. When I hit 5 km I turned round and ran back. It all went on far too long and I was very happy when it finished.
I was expecting to see lots of budding Jayawardenes and Sangakkaras practising cricket on the beach. However, it turns out that the beach activity of (male) choice is touch rugby. Other than that, I can’t give you much insight into Sri Lankan life.
I guess the lesson is that you don’t learn much about a country if you stay in tourist areas. (And, Myron Ratnavale, if you’re reading this, I belatedly realised I should have got in touch and seen whether you still have any Sri Lankan contacts. Hope all’s well with you and your family..)