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Sri Lanka, June 20, 2006

Earth, Circumnavigated Twice

Round, round I go, where I stop, who knows!

go faster
Next time - by autotrike
Walking through Hong Kong's International Airport today (or was it yesterday?), I realized that I did it again; I circumnavigated the Earth for the second time.

Do you know how I realized that milestone? Every time I fill out an embarkation card, I have to fill in my passport's place of issue, Hong Kong. It was December 1999 when I was last here, trading in my Russia-beaten passport for a new one now filled with Southeast Asia and Africa.

Then, as now I am humbled by the amazing vertical living of Hong Kong. People live in vertigo-inducing apartments, so small the plumbing is bolted on exterior walls to open up internal living space.

My own mind space first celebrated a global circumnavigation when I returned on my 25th birthday to Bali, Indonesia. Going back to my birthplace, the house I stayed in even, from distant Moscow, was the first time I made the complete circle.

This time my party was short-lived. Unlike before, there were no Wayans to celebrate with, there were no beaches to tan on, only the cold impersonal Chek Lap Kok Airport for me to shuffle through, on my multi-day, multi-country, multi-lifetime journey back to Washington DC.

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Sri Lanka, June 19, 2006

Waiting to go "UP"

I stand here, in the lobby of the Jaic Hilton, Colombo waiting. Waiting yet again for the elevator. Waiting, like yesterday and the day before, like I shall tomorrow and the day after. Waiting, for the slow-ass elevators to come, waiting for them to go, waiting for movement. Always waiting.

If my room were not on the 23rd floor, if I was not in a suit, and if it wasn't sweaty hot I would walk the stairs. I need the exercise; I have a triathlon to prepare for. If the pool wasn't so nice, the room rates so low, and the location so perfect, I would switch hotels.

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Sri Lanka, June 18, 2006

Riding the Colombo Rails

It's a slow Sunday afternoon in Colombo, and I'm wandering through side streets and back alleys, enjoying the different styles of life visible over walls and around corners. Then I hear it, the "hoot" of a train horn, and off I am, in a mad dash to the train station.

That "hoot" signals the arrival of a train, a local commuter train and I am gonna jump on for a ride. See, as much as I fly, I really don't like traveling that way. What, with the dry air, cramped space, and checked baggage intrigue, airplanes have none of my love.

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Good Times @ Galle Face

What a beautiful Sunday in Ceylon. The ocean breeze keeping everything cool, the skies a deep blue, a perfect time to enjoy the ocean. While others may ride the beachside rails, many in Colombo head down to the waterfront boardwalk at Galle Face Green.

With an open park on one side and the ocean on the other, the boardwalk becomes a whole attraction in itself if just for the people watching. I quickly grabbed a chair at one of the plentiful street food vendors, ordered a whole seafood meal, and checked out the view.

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Sri Lanka, June 17, 2006

Careening Around Colombo

Did you have a tricycle when you were young? Maybe a red one you were excited to pedal around the neighbourhood? Welcome to its adult cousin, the motor-tricycle or autorickshaw, Sri Lanka's premier transportation vehicle.

Okay, so maybe its not the premier vehicle, Mercedes still has that title, but the autorickshaw, sometimes called a Bajaj is definitely the most fun. With a tiny engine, even smaller back compartment for two, and no safety features what so ever, it's a thrill to ride.

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