Finally some ‘ME’ time! Part 4
The first 7 hour flight to Dubai passes quickly with me watching several ‘Planet Earth’ episodes, enjoying the indulgence of complimentary beverages whilst listening to music and working my way through the ‘Rough guide to Sri Lanka’. I arrive in Dubai during the night-time hours with 2 hours to kill before my connecting flight onto Sri Lanka. As I am keen not to get ‘stung’ by EE in terms of telephone charges I seek out WiFi and attempt to ‘Messenger or WhatsApp’ the offspring.
As I am typing the message, ‘I’ve arrived safe and sound in Dubai….’ a Facebook bubble appears, it’s a message from the driver who I have arranged my driver services with, he tells me that he won’t be picking me up??……he then goes on to say that it will be his friend Nisha instead… shit!! A sense of panic begins to rise within me, a second bubble appears from him……’Can you do a favour and pick me up a bottle of whiskey from duty free? The cheeky @!@!@!@!
So I am now in Dubai airport waiting to board a flight to Sri Lanka to meet a complete stranger, whom I had conducted ZERO research on at the other end. At least I had been able to conduct SOME research back in the UK on the fellow whom I was expecting to transport me around a foreign land for 6 days……’shit! shit! shit! this doesn’t sit right with me !’
In an attempt to reduce the feelings of panic that are now quickly rising within me, I make a decision to purchase the whiskey as I don’t want to offend and end up driverless once I arrive at Colombo at 4am. I had read many tripadvisor posts highlighting the problem of drivers not ‘being available’ at the last minute but as this chap had come as a recommendation. I felt confident that I would not fall foul to this issue…………As I feel restricted in terms of what I can do to challenge this situation, I accept it and board the 4 hour flight to Colombo, a bottle of ‘Chivas Regal Yr 12’ in hand.
The second flight also passes quickly and I am able to take a short nap. I descend in darkness and arrive at Colombo airport less than refreshed at just before 4am, feeling a little anxious about how this is going to pan out. I know that sharing my frustrations with the ‘new’ driver is not going to help the situation and so I use a ‘reframing’ technique (something that I use at work to encourage young people to see a situation from a different view point) and tell myself that so long as I text the offspring the number plate of the car I am about to climb into, then putting complete trust in a complete stranger (whom I have conducted ZERO research on) in a completely foreign land, could be quite exciting……..
As I pass through customs with my luggage I am met with a line of white shirts and black hair, all of whom are holding up name boards and as my eye sight has recently taken a turn for the worse I struggle to read the names………I walk closer trying not to squint too much and as I work my way along the long line of men (I notice some return my squint, wondering whether I am the name on their card, possibly hoping that I am not!) I finally see my name and make eye contact with the holder. It has been a long journey and I cannot remember the name that came through on the messenger bubble in Dubai airport earlier but I do remember it resembled Lisa, so I mumble something similar to ‘isa’ the holder of my name card smiles, nods his head saying ‘Hello yes yes I am Nisha’ and takes by bag.
I am escorted outside and an immediate sense of familiarity washing over me as I recall a trip to Bali last year, whilst visiting a friend in Australia with the offspring. The vibrant colours, the smells, the noise, the chaos, all bring back fond memories of our time there and excitement resumes squashing my earlier feelings of frustration
I later go on to describe Sri Lanka to the offspring as being like ‘Bali’s big sister’. Nisha asks me to wait while he collects the car and as I inhale these first moments standing by the roadside at Colombo airport I know that the following 6 days will be wonderful and I am already wishing that I had arranged to stay here longer.