The flight lasted an hour longer due to having to fly around some weather. No problem, as I actually slept through most of it, including the meals! Quickly passed through immigration and customs with no problems. Then spent nearly an hour trying to find the Emirates desk and arranging for a taxi into the city some 20 km away. I was looking for the desk to confirm my tickets - it's in the Departure lounge and the military will not let anyone in without tickets for an immediate departure so I'll have to confirm in Colombo. The taxi had to be bargained with then persuaded that I didn't want to hire it for a week long tour. I originally had planned on heading to the beaches first, then on the plane I decided that since I'm getting over a cold and I want to dive I should save the beaches for last so I should go into the hill country first. Well after getting off the plane and facing the heat I decided I should go and spend a night in Colombo to just relax and adjust. Plus that way I can leave some stuff in Colombo to pick up at the end of the visit.
The ride into town took an hour - it wasn't far, but the roads are small and chaos rules. I let the tax driver suggest a centrally located guesthouse - it's beautiful with tons of flowers and friendly people, it's a little expensive, but I figure I can afford to splurge and extra $5 one night. After settling in and taking a shower I set out to explore Colombo. It turns out my guest house isn't that centrally located - it's two miles into Colombo Fort (the city center). The walk was interesting and after the last dozen hours of being confined to the airport or plane it felt good to walk.
I stopped at the Galle Face Green (a large ocean front patch of dirt that should be lawn) to watch the ocean and eat some pineapple I bought from a street vender. I sat there listening to the small surf and reading the guide book about Colombo. After a while I walked over to the Galle Face - a huge old colonial hotel for lunch. The hotel is impressive it's like something right out of a movie set in Raja times. Everyone is impeccably uniformed and polite - great service and not to expensive. I had some kind of spicy curried chicken soup, and curd (yogurt made from buffalo milk) with honey. After eating I moved to the bar section of the terrace and had a beer while reading.
After leaving the hotel I wandered around a bit but nothing interesting seems to be open so I set back for home. The sun was starting to peek out and it got very hot quickly - much hotter than Singapore and just as humid, but with a nice breeze to keep it tolerable. Found out the the train to Kandy (in the hill country where I've decided to head tomorrow) leaves at seven so it's going to be an early one. Back at my hotel I spent the remainder of the afternoon light sitting on the terrace reading about the hill country and coming up with a plan for Sri Lanka. Back in my room I was relieved to discover I have a guardian gecko! I sat down intending to get up to go to dinner, but then decided against it and stayed in and read.