Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Back in May, my wonderful and beautiful super-smart engineer friend who we'll call Hedy Lamarr came to visit. As the first visitor to the Intrigue home in Sri Lanka, she won a rather fabulous prize: the opportunity to guest blog. I really wasn't sure Hedy Lamarr was going to accept it. The prize didn't come with an expiration date, happily, so when I found this in my inbox this morning, I was excited to share it with you. Oh, and no matter what she says, she's qualified to write. I made a couple of very minor corrections before posting this. I told you she was smart. Also, growing up, she and I had a series of English teachers who were very serious about their craft.

Warning: The following blog post was written by an engineer. Given the choice between classes where one wrote papers and classes where one solved difficult math problems, I always chose latter. Aside from my ability to correctly use the words their, there, and they’re, I’m not really qualified to write a blog. So when Dorothy asked me to guest blog, I laughed. Then I realized that she was serious and being the good friend that I am, I decided to give it a shot…

When I learned that the Intrigue family was moving to Sri Lanka, my first thought was, “Cool, I should go visit!” My second thought was, “Where exactly is Sri Lanka?” After consulting my trusty Google map, I was able to confirm that it is very, very far from Houston, TX. It is also relatively close to Singapore where another friend of mine is currently residing. A little coordination, and I had a trip to Sri Lanka and Singapore planned. A couple months and a few vaccinations later and I was on my way.

About 23 hours and a quick stop in Moscow after leaving Houston, my plane landed in Singapore. It was 6 am on Saturday morning. Since my flight to Colombo wasn’t until 17 hours later, I had made arrangements to hang out with my friend in Singapore for the day.

It was a busy day which thankfully started with a shower (24 hours on a plane and you really, really, appreciate a nice shower), and included cable cars, Merlions, shopping malls, a short nap, casinos, and of course, food. I did get stranded in a subway station when my friend jumped on a train before I could follow. Luckily he’s a good friend and came back for me.

Later that night it was on to Sri Lanka.

Day 1 started off according to schedule with some GoNuts donuts. (Did I mention that The International Man of Intrigue provided me with an hour by hour color coded schedule for my visit? I’m glad someone did some advanced planning because I sure didn’t!). They do know how to make some good donuts in Sri Lanka. A great start to my visit! Then on to the National Museum where I learned important things like Sri Lankan history and the proper proportions for a sitting Buddha. Later that day Dorothy, Amelia and I got to take a tuk-tuk to the Gangaramaya temple. Everyone should get to take a tuk-tuk at least once.

Day 2 in Sri Lanka started off with some shopping (I believe this was the “chick shopping stuff” part of the scheduled activities) and included a little fashion show for Amelia and Gertrude. They didn’t like anything I tried on that wasn’t pink. I bought the yellow skirt anyway. It’s cute when 3 and 5 year olds dress themselves, maybe not so cute when they dress you.

The next couple of days were a mini vacation in Bentota, starting with a quick stop at the sea turtle hatcheries. The baby sea turtles were cute but I couldn’t help wondering if they were anything like the box turtles we used to play with as kids, the ones that peed on you when you picked them up. Oh well, we played with the baby sea turtles anyway. (Thank goodness for wipes and hand sanitizer!) After that we headed for our hotel and spent most of the afternoon lounging around the pool overlooking the Indian Ocean. The day ended with the grownups drinking beer on the balcony. Vacation doesn’t get much better than this!

Day 5 was supposed to be a tour of one of the china factories but we were never able to get it scheduled so instead it was more shopping but this time the kiddos stayed home with dad and it was just Dorothy and me, just like old times! It’s been way too long since I’ve gotten to shop and spend money with my former roommate. Clothes shopping, china shopping, all kinds of fun! We did go and run a few errands later that afternoon with the rest of the Intrigue family at the local shopping mall. On that excursion I learned that there are three types of stores in the Columbo shopping mall: one third are DVD stores, one third are cell phone stores, and the remaining third are everything else. Really? How many cell phones and DVDs do people need? Of course DVDs are only $1-2 so I guess that helps. I thought the fact that they are all on DVD-R was a little unusual but apparently that’s just how it is in Sri Lanka! (I’m not sure you could buy a legal DVD if you wanted to.)

Day 6, my last day in Sri Lanka. It started out with rain and a leaking roof. Fortunately there were no leaks over my bed. Unfortunately there was one right over Amelia’s bed. Other than that it was a pretty uneventful day at the Intrigue Compound. The highlight of the afternoon was the scooter/bike/foot races around the dining room table. (I swear I would have done better if I hadn’t been scared of breaking an arm or leg and ending up in a third world hospital.)

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and late that night my visit to the Intrigue family came to its conclusion as I headed back to the airport and on to the next leg of my journey. I had a wonderful trip and can’t wait see them again!

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