I told you previously how my first impressions about Sri Lanka were not the best possible ones. I managed to get my blood pressures up for the first time before even making it out of the airport. Little did I know back then that this would not be the last time in the country – infact, also the last time ended up being at the airport. And what an airport it was. To be honest, I never thought I’d write a full post about an airport, but I really have to tell you about this place. It was a place that left me confused, irritated, shocked and annoyed. I even named it the ”WTF-airport” in my mind, as this was one of the few places in my life, where I’ve really been sure I was on candid camera or something. So why was this? There really are around ten different things I could say were super strange, but let’s stick with the top 3 in order to keep the length of this post within reasonable limits.
1.Washing machines anyone?
So, You walk through the immigration and head towards the baggage claim. On the way you are used to seeing the usual taxfree shopping area, you know, booze, chocolate and cigarettes. Maybe a few cafes and smaller shops with different clothes or something similar. Well, not in Colombo! The first thing you see after the immigration is washing machines! And refrigerators, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. And there are about a dozen shops full of these. I mean, how often do you feel like buying a washing machine at the airport? Or how much do you have to regret your behavior after a boy’s trip in order to feel like the best thing to do is bring your wife a new stove on the way home…?!
2. Sri Lankan rupees not accepted in Sri Lanka – Say what?
I thought it was a bit odd seeing the prices in USD in the duty-free when I was walking down the alleys, wondering on where to spend the last rupees we had. After finding all we wanted, we proceeded to the cashier, only to find out they did not accept the local currency – at all. The cashier pointed up towards a sing hanging above my head, listing 20 different currencies – with those I could pay, I was told. Omani Rials, Jordanian Dinars and even bloody Swedish Crowns were ok, but not the country’s own rupees! I was sure this had to be some sort of a joke, but it was not.
Pro tip – make sure you use all your rupees BEFORE coming to the airport.
So, they scan your tickets at the entrance. Still pretty normal. Then, you and your bags are checked twice before even making it to the check-in. The alarms go off with two out of three passengers, but no-one cares. Happened a few times elsewhere too. In the Immigration the officers are not interested about your visa application status and at the emigration they ask my opinion about the tv-show called The Little House on the Prairie (I guess my name had something to do with this…despite my last name not being Ingalls.) I’m sorry, where is the camera?! And then, at the actual security check,you realize you still carry a full 1,5 litre water bottle with you, decide on trying your luck and place it on the belt… and no-one is interested about it! Yup, have a safe flight and so on..
After this, together with all the things we had experienced during the past 1,5weeks, I surely was not too sad boarding the plane and taking off to Maldives, leaving Sri Lanka behind.