Once more we have to apologise for our lack of updates, many of you must really be venturing into the hidden depths of the internet to pass your days at work. Sorry we're trying to be more punctual, but this not having a job thing really seems to make us pretty busy. This post takes you back to our Escape from Hebron, which we're pretty sure will one day be made into a movie. You saw it here first. Buckle up, it's quite a ride.
After that style interlude from Bangkok I am taking you back to our exit from India and the three wonderful weeks in Sri Lanka. We left Hebron at 4am and despite the dark, the pouring rain and our pre-emptive protests, some of the older girls came out to wave us off. On the drive to the train station we were treated to a long line of crouching bare bottoms as the local men went through their morning routines by the side of the motorway. Such was the density of the squatting line I couldn't help but wonder if this was India giving us some sort of gruesome farewell parade, something to remember it by. It certainly didn't make us question our departure and made us only more excited about moving on somewhere new. Unfortunately India generates some pretty mixed emotions in us. Whilst we had some wonderful times and enjoyed almost all of the places we visited on our travels, the experience of working with Sagar on the project and all the frustration that entailed is perhaps our overriding memory. It's a touch unfair perhaps to tarnish an entire country due to one man being an idiot but it really was that frustrating. Hopefully as time passes these feelings will mellow and we'll be ready to visit again when we go back in December. Our original plan was to spend a month back in India at the end of a trip. At present we're thinking that two weeks should prove more than sufficient. Anyway I am getting ahead of myself.
32 hours. That is how long it took us to get from Hebron to our hotel in Colombo and for 31 of those hours we were awake. The grand plan: get the train with Peter to Vijaywada, stop to have lunch with Mastan (our friend from the Heal project in Vijayawada ), get on the afternoon train to Chennai, and then either find a bar or head straight to the airport; tough it out until check in at 4am; get on the plane; get to Sri Lanka. All in all it went pretty much exactly to plan. We decided the bar was a bad idea so headed straight to the airport where unfortunately, as we were there a whole 6 hours before check in opened they wouldn't let us in for another 5 hours. Faced with the prospect of waiting it out in the Chennai airport car park we decided to try our luck in the visitors gallery where weeping families say cheerio to their loved ones across a large metal railing. Happily the security guard at that door took pity on us and let us in as long as we didn't make a nuisance of ourselves. This turned out to be a bit of a mixed blessing. Whilst a million times cleaner and less smelly than the outside option (the car park doubled as a massive open air latrine), the inside of the building was air conditioned to levels similar to that of a butcher's freezer. I am pretty sure the first stages of hypothermia had set in by the time we tried to get up 5 hours later to check ourselves in. Such was the level of trembling it took us a few goes to stand up and even more attempts to get our bags on our backs. This could also been due to lack of sleep or perhaps it was business as usual for team Gramy's co-ordination, never-the-less we were on our way (slowly) to Sri Lanka.
A very straight forward flight later we arrived in Sri Lanka. A very straight forward taxi journey later we were at our hotel in Colombo. So far, so easy, so good. As we were a little early to check in to our room we went for a bit of an explore of the surrounding area. It was like walking into the opening scenes of '28 days later'. We walked street after street not seeing a single person, car, dog or really any sign of life so it was not long before the combination of lack of sleep and a complete change of scene led to a very real paranoia that a crazed Sri Lankan zombie might come running towards us, foaming blood at the mouth. This was not helped by the fact the first humans we did see were heavily armed, fully uniformed army folk. Our paranoia was in full swing by the time we reached Galle Face Green where we finally saw the first signs that the population was alive and well and not in fact overrun by zombies. We also got our first glimpse of the sea from Sri Lankan shores, which was grey and moody with crashing waves. Feeling that we needed a moment to gather ourselves and raise our blood sugar levels a bit we had a bottle of warm fizzy pop sat with our legs dangling over the sea wall watching the waves roll in. It was a lovely moment and for the first time in weeks we were able to breathe a sigh of relief. We had survived India. I had had my doubts, as I am sure you did, but we made it and Graham and I were still talking to each other. Job well done I guess.