|The preparation before takeoff...packing|
Thirty six hours later, two airplanes, two taxis, and one "tuk tuk" later. I can officially say my feet are firmly planted on the ground in Sri Lanka.
Flying over 15 hours to Dubai was quite an experience. I would like to make a suggestion to all airline officials that individuals in coach should board from the back of the plane, that way one never has to see the glitz and glamour of first class on an international Emirates Air flight.
|Saying goodbye at SeaTac|
Passing the private beds, hot towels, and complimentary champagne, I made my way to row 32, snuggling up in a middle seat and mentally preparing myself for a long journey.
While I thought an eight-hour layover in Dubai would be torturous, it was actually quite the opposite. The Dubai airport was fascinating--so diverse in people, races, customs and cultures. On my flights, Emirates Air crew together spoke over 10 languages in order to accommodate all of the different backgrounds on the plane.
|Prayer room directions at the Dubai International Airport|
I was struck by the novel sights I encountered in Dubai. Walking through one terminal, I noticed there were at least 10 prayer rooms for individuals of all religions to spend time and meditate in, not something we are used to seeing at SeaTac for example.
Another difference was immediately apparent. Americans sure do like to "supersize" everything. To wake up, I ordered a coffee from Starbucks in the terminal. When I thought I was receiving a "grande" size drink, I in fact got something that looked like it was made for Barbie. I spoke with a man from Australia in line and he explained that to them, coffee, soda, chocolate, etc. are treats to people over here. They do not need a gallon of Diet Coke to get by each day.
From Dubai it was another five hours to Sri Lanka. Once I arrived, I had to take different modes of transportation to arrive at the Millennium Elephant Foundation site. One mode was a tuk tuk, a three-wheeled taxi where t heir drivers feel staying in the proper lane is not always necessary and honking is how to communicate with other drivers.
As I crossed my fingers I would make it to my destination all in one piece, I noticed the amazing colors, sights and smells of Sri Lanka. Every town was electric. Women were dressed in brightly colored garments, the smell of curry and pineapple wafted in the air and people were scattered everywhere, talking, laughing, and yelling over those tuk tuk horns. Sri Lanka was alive.
Surviving the long drive, I made it to the site in the afternoon, just as Washingtonians were probably going to bed. I decided to push through and stay awake, there was just too much to see.
So stay tuned. Next up, Sri Lanka's Millennium Elephant Foundation.