COLOMBO

DAY 2

Arriving to Colombo Airport in Negombo

We landed with David sleeping last 30 minutes while landing down to Sri Lanka main airport Bandaranaike International Airport. I carried David to the passport control from the tunnel we stepped out from the plain. Many people were standing in few queues so I sat down holding him.

Passport control and visas in the Colombo airport
After a while that it seemed really slow I kindly asked the man from the airport staff if there is a way we could do it faster when David is sleeping.
He asked the police man who was supervising the queues and he went to the passport controller to make a request for us. He wave the hand at me as he stopped the queue for us. We quickly went to the man he took ours passport and checked that Jarka had written down wrong passport number for visas. He let us, me and David go, but Jarka had return back to the passport office to make it right.

I thought that she would pay again and expect her to come very late behind us.
I quickly went to pick up the luggage. A man from Porter Service offered me a help with his vest saying that he expect to be paid 100 rupees per bag for helping me to get the trolley and put the luggage there.  Our luggage was quite heavy so I needed to help him. But in few minutes Jarka came to us saying that she just needed to upgrade the passport number to visas and they let her go.

Changing the money at the airport
1€|159 LKR/Rupees
1$|150 LKR/Rs
no commision charge at each counter

Lost Taxi driver
We walked to the waiting area where many drivers held tables with names but none of them was for us.

Jarka called the lady from the hotel that we were staying one night as she was informed that we are coming late a promised to send a driver. She confirmed that the driver is waiting for us. We walked out but didn't find anybody there as well.
As there is a security point that checks who is going inside of the waiting area I had to ask them let me in back and find our driver somehow. But again nobody for us so I went outside again to report status to Jarka.

Found taxi driver, night drive and first tuk-tuk
But just on time I was walking out of the building and heading to my family, the driver approached us so we finally met. It was a very small Suzuki Alto taxi so I was thinking that we won't fit we all the luggage.

I was so wrong. I didn't expect three of us to fit on back seats and two bags to put on front seat and all sorted so we could go. As we were leaving airport we saw our first tuk-tuk passing by. I might had a bit of ironic smile at first time, but don't judge anything at first look.

This iconic machine was able later take us all three in Hikkaduwa with the luggage from the train station to hotel and than in really steep hills of Ella town safely and with no hesitation to and from hotel.

Arriving to House of Esanya in Negombo
At 2AM we arrived to the house where we booked the room for the short night stay. We were expected by Stephani, the owner. We quickly setup the morning arrangement ant went to sleep, looking forward to the morning.

Dubai to Sri Lanka

Dubai At the Top, Burj Khalifa - morning 18th March

We woke up at 7am, showered and went down for breakfast at 8 AM. took taxi in 10 minutes 20 and 1 US tip straight to shopping mall entrance close to Burj Khalifa. I
went to Waitrose to buy water and coke at reasonably prices.

Checked in for Burj Khalifa At the Top experience, I was returned back from security control with the rucksack to leave it at luggage department which is working as a ticket office hidden on the left side od the entrance. If you have more to carry this is great place to leave your luggage even after leaving premises of Top Burj Khalifa to walk and enjoy shopping.

We waited in the queue for about 20 minutes moving forward to the lift. As the lift arrived and opened the door people were directed to move quickly to exit and we were quickly moved into the lift. Doors were closed and the lights went off for better lighting and movie experience about the Khalifa building.

At the Top Burj Khalifa Level 124 and 125 Observation Decks
Now at level 124, 452 metes, photoshooting and waiting in the queue for the perfect place to have nice photos of ourselves. David is still very interested in playing on the 124th floor of Khalifa balcony view with his new yellow van that Jarka brought him to entertain himself. Even at this point he is asking for the loo again.

We were asked to create a photo of us at the photo points to be a climbers, wanderers or balancers at the "highest point in the world"

Leaving the "Burj Khalifa experience"
We didn't upgrade the tickets to the 142 floor so we went down. If you want to save some time on your way down waiting in shorter queue, use the lift in the middle of 125th floor at 456 metres high, which can be reached by wooden steps. There are also amazing transparent "bubble" seats hanging from the ceiling to have a rest with beautiful view of Dubai and the sea.

How to get cheaper photos from professional photo service at Burj Khalifa decks
If you took the pictures at the camera points, don't buy it on this top floors as they are cheaper nearly the half of the price on your way to the base on the LG level at exit from the lift. 169 AED up, 100 AED per photo downstairs.
Enjoy rather your saved money on a nice snack or an a gift from the shop. We bought small Burj Khalifa magnet for 28 AED for our fridge.. 🙂

Dubai Aquarium at The Dubai Mall
From the gift shop we went to opposite ice cream shop and had a refreshing rest at this food court place. After some time spent here and two visits of the lavatory with David we finally walked to the Aquarium.

Standing in another queue we waited again and I left my family for a while to check upon the luggage room to leave it somewhere as it was quite heavy. So I found out that the best place to leave it was at the Burj Khalida luggage room.
With all the carried stuff I tried to get rid of I returned back to Aquarium to see Jarka and David just about to cross the check in point. Lots of people standing in there led me to asked kindly the security guy to open emergency-fast door as there was my family ready to enter. We than walked together on side of the aquarium that is visible from the shopping mall.

All those sharks, rajas and many kinds of fish behind 40-50 cm thick glass. I was amazed that such a thick glass can be glued in a way that is hardly seen where it was done. Only with really detailed look you can see the part where it was glued together.
Than we got to another photo point and made some postures as asked by really funny and energetic guy. I thanked him for the good job as he was making to get you in the mood for those postures.

We walked to the tunnel where all those fishes are swimming over you and you feel, that you can even touch that close moving shark in front of you. David of course paid all attention to yellow bus and making as much noise as possible on the aircon which was build to the floor. What a great place to play on.

When we passed through tunnel we went to second floor, a there was exhibition continuing. Lots of aquariums with piranhas, lobsters, prawns many of sea fishes species and some desert animals. There is even a balcony with transparent glass floor that you can watch all those sharks, fishes and rajas from above. You can pay 30 AED PP more to upgrade and use a boat that is pulled on the water level with glassed floor. Maybe the most interesting part was that you could dive in the cage to see the shark as close in the aquarium as possible.

We really enjoyed the aquarium exhibition. If it was just the tunnel under the aquarium, it would be very simple and overpriced. With all this presentations of fishes, The King Croc and piranhas it is really worth the visit.

Food court
After searching in all around the world restaurants with fast food we ended up with mexican quesadila and tortillas from Taqado Mexican Kitchen.

Metro and long walk there from shopping mall
What a mistake is to think that from shopping mall there is a metro running. Don't get confused, there is a sign of metro station in shopping mall for station Burj Khalifa. But you have to walk many hundreds of meters to get to the metro station Burj Khalifa. Maybe 15-20 minutes of walk through wide window tunnel over the road and between the buildings.

There are some walking lifts to get you there faster. But remember, when you are tired and short o time its a hell of a journey. At least there is an air-con inside.
We got to the metro station finally and we got onto the train to Airport Terminal 1 and after 20 minutes we got there to realise, that there is not an entrance to Terminal2 and not even an airport bus to Terminal 2.

Dubai Terminal 2 hassle
as it is quite far from T1 and T3. The bus will only take you between terminal 1 to 3 and back. There is local bus line which runs every 45 minutes, but no one could even tell us how long does it take to use it for T2. So we took the taxi which cost 31 Dirhams to be there in 11 minutes.

Went quickly to a loo after passport control to see men washing their feet in the sink where everybody else were washing their hands or refreshing their faces. Quite a big shock, I thought that after putting my head between legs in Turkish hairdresser, nothing will surprise me. All these men were getting ready for the evening pray at the airport.

Leaving Dubai
We bought some bottle of Tullamore Dew, big coffee from Costa and were hanging around the duty free shop and playing with David.

At around 8:20 PM we had final call to board the plane so we went to the gate 4. We got the 3rd empty bus to get to the plain, and waited for about 20 mins there. Nobody was coming for a long time and nobody did from the gate. Finaly at 8:40 PM we are driving to the plain. Some Sri Lankans, one couple from UK, which I think the girl was some East European country citizen, group of russians, just about 32 people. Only two small boys, David and onother 3 year old. We boarded the plain, this time all seats were taken, so it was a bit harder to survive the flight.

9:03PM we are leaving the gate with safety video on screens.
Jarka is reading Masha and the bear books for David. He is asking if we have a signal alarm for reversing the plane as lorries have. 🙂 He is again asking also for chewing gum to release the pressure during take off.

Colombo weather info for next days looks very promising for 19th March 2017
Partly cloudy, Highs 31 °C/88 °F and lows 24 °C/75 °F. Same or even better weather is until 23rd March, around 33 °C/91 °F for a day.

"Explore the bazaar and stroll by the sea in this vibrant, coastal capital." says the information panel on the screen.

9:17 PM finaly take off and leaving Dubai and Burj Khalifa in the distance with the lights blicking to the city that is getting smaller in the distance. 4:08 estimated time for arrival in Colombo/Negombo.

Flying over India
Now we have entered the air space of India close to Goa and 1:25 hour is left for landing. That is 64% of our flight with outside temperature
of -43 °C /-46 °F.

FlyDubai experience
Didn't expect much from this airline as it is a low cost of The Emirates.
On our way from Bratislava/Vienna we had surprisingly some hot food and blue box filled with sweet bars, chocolate, olives and italian breaf sticks.

But after changing the planes in Dubai there was only one try to give us some paid coffee, tea or drinks and that was all. No true about that when you are flying over 2 hours there must be food provided. I guess that is only because of EU regulations which don't apply in Asia.

I have to complain about touch screens on the seats as they were more stacked and overheated than working. My display was working from time to time, but Jarkas was stucked for an hour, David pressed to buy something just when we flew off and kept asking him to pay for 3 hours.

It was really hard to make anything on the screen. It wasn't just us, the guy sitting behind me was trying to press that hard, that he was hitting my seat constantly as I had to ask him to stop being annoying.
Many people just gave up and covered the screen or put the hat on it to avoid the light as it was impossible to switch it off.

Only one advantage is that you can use USB port to charge your mobiles or tablets.

Estimated time to arrival: 0:53 AM, flying over India at the moment leaves us 78% of the flight time.

Leaving India ground close to Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram with time to arrival in 23 minutes, 90% of our flight and we started to decrease at 0:30 of Colombo time.

Arrivining to Colombo Airport in Negombo