Day 9: Colombo, SRI LANKA

Saturday, 22 April 2017 – Day 9: Colombo, SRI LANKA (6.9271° N, 79.8612° E)

 Ayubowan…Welcome to Sri Lanka (the Venerable Island)…

We arrived around 1:15AM at our hotel for five nights here in Sri Lanka, at the lovely Galle Face Hotel.

Darn it, another one of those crazy fun days yesterday that only a real-world traveler—like everyone participating in the 2017 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt—can relate to. Wrap your brain around this sentence and see if you don’t smile and say ahhh: Yesterday, we had breakfast at Hanoi, lunch along the Chao Praya River in Bangkok, and then enjoyed a late snack last night admiring Indian Ocean moonglow here in Colombo, Sri Lanka! Yep…kind of special! It was also an arduous, but hecticly fun day including the 7-Hour Bangkok Layover Challenge, then a late flight here to Sri Lanka. Happy to report we have a great group that is bounding and getting along well. Everyone is healthy and in great, almost giddy, spirits. Eager for more now that they have escaped their daily grinds, pre-conditioned routines and pre-set default assumptions. They are in the moment enjoying life to the fullest–traveling, that is.

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The Galle Face Hotel…our home in Sri Lanka. The venerable  Grand Dame of Colombo.

See, they are all still alive here in Colombo. Proof of life!

Okay, let’s do Old Business first…the Par 1, short-but-sweet 7-Hour Layover Challenge in Bangkok results are in following Peer Review assessments and official scoring (just a few tweaks):
In 10th place, NOLA 2nd Line (always being mentioned first I just realized their game!) earning 115 points:
In 9th place, Long Gone earning 135 points:
In 8th place, Traveling Bohemians earning 150 points:
In 7th place, Flying Snitches earning 210 points:
In 6th place, YOLOGoNow earning 320 adjusted points:
Then we have a 4-way tie for 2nd place between TSA Pre-check Yourself, SLO Folks, Lawyers without Borders & Team Ying who all completed 9 scavenges earning 325 points:
And in 1st place, congratulations to Team Thundersnow who earned 338.5 adjusted points (and the only team to obtian a photo of a real live elephant) on the second Par 1 super fast leg.

Congrats to all…it was hot, but alt least you all got out there to meet some new friends, have a few laughs and eat some good food.

That means that after Four completed legs (par 8 of 27 completed)…the overall top teams are:
4th place tie between two verteran Teams with 27 each – Lawyers without Borders and SLO Folks;
3rd place belongs to YOLOGoNow at 25;
2nd place belongs to Team Ying at 21;
…and still in first place is TSA Pre-Check Yourself at 15.

Again, congrats to all and you can click here to view the updated Official Leader Board.

We were last here in Sri Lanka in 2012…and had such a great time I promised to return ASAP. It is such a rich cultural target area. And this leg will surely test them all.

Sri Lanka will be a difficult Par 6…14 Bonuses of which they can do only 5 (there are 8 spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites here); a couple Team Challenges; over 60 other optional scavenges to keep them busy …4 mandatory foodie scavenges. There are some really interesting “movement oriented” Bonus scavenges.

Our Par 6 Sri Lanka Check-in deadline will be: Tuesday, April 25th at 3:00PM in the Travellers Bar. They have four days…Today, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday…and 3 nights to have fun site-doing all over Sri Lanka. It is still anyone’s event to win, or lose; and this leg will partially determine the 2017 winner of The World’s Greatest Travelers title. It is a steep line in points with a par 6 between 1st place and 4th place, 6 or 24!

So, good luck to all…be safe and have fun.

Word to the wise Travel Tip of the Day: Elephants are rather scratchy critters, so my advice: wear long pants!

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Among their 100 optional scavenges includes:

-Get invited for dinner with a family in their own home.
-Climb Adam’s Peak at sunrise.
-Take a safari attempting to photograph Sri Lanka’s Big Five: Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo, Sloth bear & Blue Whale.
-Learn how to play cricket with local kids.
-Partake in a traditional yoga class.
-Taste Testing of the famous Ceylon tea.

YoloGoNow heading into the sauna…

Team Ying’s Sydney on scooter…

On an aside…people always worry about us when I travel, when we travel as a family, and when we do our annual around the world adventure. The world is nasty place full of monsters at every turn. But I fear not beacuse I am informed. (Crazy, eh!) But you want to know why I am so bullish on our planet? Because I believe that we live in a 95% conflict free zone. That despite what you hear about Iraq, Syria, Afganistan and Congo, that the world is getting to be a better place–despite a handful those very few pockets of resistance. True. And how’s this: it is hard to believe that just a decade ago, Sri Lanka was one of the World’s Most Dangerous Places in the world. Civil wars are inevitably messy affairs, but it is over now, and life here has moved on… Sri Lanka is not a failed state, there are no daily terrorist bombings here, there are no kids carrying AK-47 assault rifles here. It is a safe place to see many amazing sites and learn from a historically rich culture and people.

Finally today, from where I sit, my visual cup runneth over with rivers full of fish, sweet exotic fruits falling off trees, water buffalo grazing next to ancient stupas, stunningly long pure white sandy beaches, elephants seeming to roam freely, lush rain forests greener than green, terraced tea plantations decorate the hillside, stately old colonial estates stand gloriously, and then those smiles, so many beautiful smiles. Sri Lanka is a beautiful place… we may have entered an unofficial subequatorial erogenous zone…and late, I expect lightening to illuminates the nighttime sky…a light show included in the price of admission. Thank you Sri Lanka.

More tomorrow…