Picking Up Pappy

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 20:23 (UTC+0530)

If you were following Pappy crossing the Atlantic with the annual ARC fleet you probably noticed his sailboat take a sudden U-turn and head back to the Canary Islands. They had serious equipment problems, not life threatening, but forcing a return to port. To salve this burning misfortune he made a good, quick decision: he'd pop over to visit Jim and Karen in "nearby" Sri Lanka.

He booked a four-leg flight via Köln (Germany), Istanbul, and down the Iraq/Iran border to Dubai, slated to arrive here at 3am. Naturally I volunteered to meet him at the airport and bring him home with me! But, friends, let me just be clear: 3am is exactly the <i>worst</i> time to land here. Let's not have this happen again, okay? Thanks.

So today, after my usual chores of fixing coffee and breakfast, topping up the water storage tank, and burning the trash out back, I called our trusty friend Sampath to whisk me, and my shiny new motorcycle helmet, to the train station. Wait — motorcycle helmet? Yes! Last weekend I bought an Indian made Honda 125cc bike in Colombo. Well, Karen bought it, to be honest, with a bank transfer to a departing British Council worker who's done with the bike. I took it for a ride, and it's just what we need. I'm dreaming about how this machine will free us to roam at will.

The only hitch was that the bike was far away from us and it would be hours of tedious riding on an unfamiliar machine to get it back home. Enter the great Sri Lankan Railways. You can show up at the station and place a motorbike onto a "goods train" that will deliver it to another station, where they will hold it until you fetch it. So I'm in Colombo for two reasons, really: to fetch Pappy, and to fetch a new bike! I don't know which one excites me more.

The three o'clock express from Peradeniya to Colombo is a joy to ride. It only makes two stops before arriving in Colombo, and gets in just in time for a sundowner cocktail. This time I decided against my usual, cheap capsule hotel, as Pappy deserves more comfort than that. The hotel I chose is called Yoho Colombo City Hotel. Yo ho ho! They do have bottles of rum, in a rooftop bar. And happy hour till seven! At which time begins a karaoke singer doing warbled Christmas standards. That part, not so good.

Anyway I was hungry and there was a minor thunderstorm wetting the outside world so I stayed indoors for some vegetable biryani and to suffer the music. I'm heading for an early bed now, planning to be scooped up at 2:30 am by a taxi to the airport...