Waking up in the Star Anise Capsule Hotel (http://thestaranise.com) was a bit like waking up inside a double-wide coffin, albeit with a soft pillow, and my phone plugged in to a USB jack next to me. My simple breakfast of sweet sambol and roti was washed down quickly with thin coffee in one of those uncomfortable hotel dining rooms where everyone sits alone at tables trying to look inconspicuous.
Out on the busy, noisy streets of Colombo the ladies shade from the sun under parasols but nothing stops the humidity from reaching the back of the neck. At the corner I hand a destitute man a coin. There are fewer sidewalk beggars here than in San Francisco.
The airport bus is waiting near the main train station and I score the "shotgun" seat right in front. This seat is not for the faint of heart: the bus spends an hour dodging recklessly and avoiding head on collisions by the skin of Buddha's tooth. Three wheel "tuk tuks", smoke belching buses, wood panel trucks, whole families on one scooter, an old man on a rusty bicycle, push carts laden with goods, and even the occasional courageous pedestrian contend in a chaos of beeping vehicles showing surprisingly little anger. Lane markings are only suggestions. The traffic is a fluid.
The airport was like an oasis of calm and air conditioned cool. One passes through x-ray and pat down screenings before entering the building, again before the check in desks, again after passing emigration, before reaching the duty free and fast food shops. There will be one more x-ray before boarding the plane. Echoes of the civil war that ended last decade.
My first flight is to Singapore, where I will change for Melbourne, and see if I can catch a glimpse of the Little Rocket Man and The Dotard having their historic meeting. I hope their real life Wrestle Mania doesn't delay my flights too much.