Friday, February 7, 2014

Landing in Paradise

  • First Experience With Sri Lankan Cuisine

The flight was for 3 hours or so and there I got the very first chance to taste Sri Lankan Cuisine. Not offending anyone but it was a very bad experience for me. I had Chicken fried rice, fruits, juice and chocolate for lunch and I could not eat at all, not even the chocolate. And I got some kind of headache as well. That was the only side-effect I had by traveling on a plane. The view from the window was worth remembering; there were clouds after clouds. It was like I was in heaven. They were creamy; they were white. They were like ice bergs with various shapes and sizes and the ground, well it could hardly be seen. I could not see clouds for a very long time as I fell asleep and woke up when I heard the announcement of landing. I eventually came to know that they would announce about the landing around half an hour before they actually would land. I woke up and looked from the window and I would have regretted if I did not because at that time I had one of the most wonderful experiences of my life!

  • Witnessing The Most Amazing Landing 

Our plane was coming down by degree; the Indian Ocean was right beneath us. I could see the deep blue ocean as the view was getting clearer every moment and those icy clouds were right beside my window. I could see white sea-gals playing with gentle streams and at some point I got the feeling that our plane was about to land in the ocean! It was so close! Every time the plane was getting lower a bit, a strange feeling aroused in the stomach. Well don’t think that I was about to vomit; actually that was the part of fun. Almost touching the splashing streams of the ocean and launching straight between bunches of mountains, our flight landed. And I was in another paradise, Sri Lanka!

Sri Lanka, A living Paradise

  • Landed And Screwed Up!

After I got off from the flight I almost felt like I’m screwed up! Why? Well, that’s a very good question. The temperature was about 30 degree Celsius or so and I was wearing a heavy over-coat reasonably as it was so cold back in Dhaka but this almost made me to sweat. It was not the issue either. I had my luggage all packed up with warm clothes as no one believed that in this mid-winter Sri Lanka’s temperature could be 30 degree and I saw that it was actually way too hot here and I felt like chewing everyone up, argh!! Anyway, something’s are better to be left alone. We had to take the returning visa, that’s they called “On arrival visa”; everything went smoothly until we went to find our luggage. We were waiting beside the belt but there was no trace of our luggage. It was a moment of anxiety but at that moment I found a counter where they were selling SIM cards and I forgot those tensed moments within the blink of an eye. I almost ran and my happiness was doubled when the boy in the counter said that they were providing free SIM for every passenger. He activated my Dialog SIM. Such a generous guy; could not be more happier. I called my mom first, she didn’t receive. So, I called my sister in law to confirm my safe arrival. To be very honest I was so happy that it often popped out in my mind “O my God I can’t believe that I made it to Sri Lanka!!”

The Colombo Airport

Not everyone would realize this but yes, those who have traveled in abroad for the first time, alone precisely, they know the feel very well. I almost jumped while talking to my family and after I finished with all these callings I got my memory back that we still had to get our luggage. Apparently, there was still no trace of our bags. Worriedly I asked Sazzat, “Now what?”, and there was Sazzat looking at me blankly. He had no clue either. I went to ask an official who was at one of the counters there and he made a phone call and then we came to know our luggage had come through other belt and we were waiting beside another belt! We hurried. A smile came back after seeing our luggage safe and sound! lol! But from that point mishap became Sazzat’s guide. He discovered that the lock of his luggage was gone and the chain was half open and above all, the handle of the trolley was completely broken. I asked him to check immediately inside but inside looked okay like nothing was missing.

Now, what to do? We were with our luggage but we didn’t know where to go or whom to meet. I asked Sazzat again “So where do we go now?” And again he gave me his profound blank look. That was really very helpful as suddenly it occurred to me that “Yes, I got a phone and I got the numbers” I called Thushara Guanasekera, one of the hosts from Sri Lanka, ISV. She instructed me to go to Abans Tours” counter. Then we headed to the counter and on the way we found money exchange booth as well. Luggage, SIM card, money- done with everything finally, we found Abans Tours where we also found they had put our name-card on.

  • The Girl Who Came From Bosnia

Marijana Kuresevic 

At that counter I met my first friend of ISV, Marijana Kuresevic, a wonderful girl from Bosnia & Herzegovina, later it turned out that she was my room-mate too! She introduced herself as “Maja”, though you should not go with the spelling because her name was actually pronounced as “Maya”.

I liked her as soon as I met her. She was frank, bold, and friendly and had a cute smile. She was waiting for us for almost an hour and she had a rough time to get here in Sri Lanka. Her story was somehow like this: she was in somewhere else and she was planning to go to another place, but her flight was cancelled so she turned up in another place and then she got her mail of ISV and she had to come here (I am sorry Maja, you cannot deny that it was a very complicated one and you cannot blame me for not remembering it accurately). Technically, she was living in airports for four days. She did not even get the chance to go to her home and pack her luggage. Her father had to take all the troubles to bring it to his beloved daughter at the airport who was going to Sri Lanka within one day notice. But she said her parents are used to it as she is of this kind, travelling and hiking and seeking new tastes and new ventures!! I envy her, really!

  • Towards MIMT, Thulhiriya: Towards My First Home In Sri Lanka

Back to the counter, now it was time to go and it was 5pm, as the local clock said. That was a long way. It was three hours journey from the airport to Thulhiriya where the MIMT (Mass Institute of Management Training) was situated to facilitate all training and developments requirements under one facility.

Mass Institute of Management Training(MIMT) 

It is situated within Sri Lanka’s 1st apparel intensive private free trade zone, MAS Fabric Park. MIMT offers a range facilities needed to carry out diverse training programmes. Established in 2007, MIMT has grown to be the most widely used training destination by private corporate of Sri Lanka and is the country’s largest residential training centre.

On the way, we talked, we laughed, fell asleep then again woke up then watched the view from the window of the car, then again fell asleep. Finally around 8pm we reached there. It was a vast area. Well, I guess the word “vast” itself did not represent what I actually meant. It’s basically a very restricted area. On the way in, we had to cross three security check-posts. Arriving there we discovered that we will be living in chalets. Five chalets were hired for 30 participants. MIMT itself was a grand place and the whole area contained chalets, institutes, factories; even there was a river too! We headed to our chalets. As I already mentioned Maya was my room-mate, the chalet number 36 belonged to us. Sazzat got another chalet. We were the first three ISV participants to arrive there and I was so happy that I got Maya with me! Why? Well, I got a very reasonable reason. The chalets were placed beautifully on high grounds surrounded by large trees and bushes but all the chalets were distantly placed from each other. In the night time that could be to some extent scary too! Anyway, a van took us to our chalet. Unfortunately Sazzat had to stay all alone in one chalet cause no one else had arrived yet. Getting off from the car Maya and I rushed there to get in. We had a lot to do. We had to get fresh, change and again had to come to MIMT to have our dinner. We got 30 minutes for getting ready and by this time the car would be here to take us to there.

  • If You Want To Get The Best Room, You Have To Be The First One To Come ;)

When we got in, the first time in this whole day, I felt like I was home. It was huge and comfy with one big living room and attached dining, four bedrooms, kitchen and what not! Every room contained three single beds. As we were six participants to stay in one chalet two of us had to share one room. Maya and I searched which one would be the best room and we selected one from the right corner. Then we hurried to get shower. Maya went to the attached bath that was with our room and after having finished with my shower I found her coming out from another bathroom. I was surprised “what happened!” well, nothing much, she just found a big cockroach in the previous one and both of us really didn’t like cockroaches that much so we decided to change our room. We went to the one that was on the left corner and Maya went for checking out the fans and that regulator was broken. Maya said wisely “It’s really lucky that we came here first”. Finally we picked up the middle one. That was fine.

We got our room, a place to sleep, a place to do whatever we like, and the place which was our first home in a foreign country. :)

(To be continued)