Leaving Footprints

Taking nothing but memories!

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Chariots of the Gods

I know I’ve mentioned it before, on more than a couple of occasions, just how much I love tuk-tuks, so I thought it was about time I brought you into the fun-filled colourful little world of these ubiquitous and versatile three-wheelers.

As I have previously noted, tuk-tuks are adorably cheeky (unless you’re in the other vehicle they push in front of!), faster than a speeding bullet (in traffic at least) and prone to last-minute daring changes of direction IMG_5020(their drivers would do amazingly well on the hardest tracks of Mario Kart). Continue reading

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The place time goes to die

Upon entry to Sri Lanka you’re granted a 30-day visa, though, like in most other countries, you can stay for up to 3 months – but only if you submit another application to the Department of Immigration. I’d learnt from previous experience that Sri Lanka loves administration; every piece of paperwork has to be scrutinised by at least 5 other people besides the official you originally handed in to. With this in mind, and after last year’s trip, I knew that I could expect to spend a minimum of three hours there. At least this time I had the advantage of knowing where to go and how the whole palaver worked. Continue reading

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Living with the locals

Unlike my last time in Sri Lanka when I’d stayed in hostels, this time around I would be staying in a little self-contained flat. Although hostels are cheap places to stay if you’re travelling, their rates are still much higher than local prices; after all, white people do sweat money – or so I’m told. Continue reading


The eagle has landed – again

I have no idea how some people manage to look so damn glamorous at the airport; they seem to float around in fabulously exotic holiday clothes without a care in the world. As well as being uncomfortable, boredom-inducing purgatories, I find airports and planes freezing sodownload (7) I take the Eskimo approach and bundle up in as many layers as possible: I become the Michelin woman of warmth! I may look like I’m about to head out on a trek up Everest (I have my walking boots on as well) but it means that I have spare space in my backpack for souvenirs and pressies. Forward planning, my friends! Continue reading

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So long and thanks for all the curry

As I sat on my return flight to England, next to the rudest and grumpiest old couple you could ever have the misfortune of sitting next to, I thought about the last three months and wondered what I’d learnt from being immersed in a different culture.images

The first thing that struck me was how friendly Sri Lankans are. Despite the English being known for their politeness, that politeness doesn’t seem to extend to being friendly. The easiest way to illustrate my point is the example of walking down the road. As you walk about in Sri Lanka, if you make eye contact with anyone they automatically smile which is lovely, the universal good feeling generator. However, if you wander about back home the only people that will smile at you seem to be dog walkers and old people.

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Dinner on another planet

When you stay in a hostel you go for dinner with anyone and everyone. It’s a chance to swap stories, have some laughs and acquire info about which places to visit and which ones to avoid. It also beats sitting on your own like a lemon, except for those days when you really want a bit of peace and quiet. So it goes without saying that you should be free to choose when you go to dinner, where, and who with. Or not. Not if you are hounded by the Dinner-Going Terminator. Remember him? He cropped up in my earlier piece ‘Snow White and the multiple roommates’. download (1)

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Run to the hills

My objective whilst in Sri Lanka was to learn vital field skills and to, hopefully, contribute to the conservation of fishing cats. I didn’t fly for over 12 hours, enduring a screaming spawn of Satan, just on a jolly. I hadn’t planned on any travelling around the island either, which was a shame, but my budget was tight and gallivanting off on your own is expensive, even out here. That’s not to mention the massively differential tariffs in force.If you’re a foreigner you get charged over 10 times as much as the locals, and my blinding un-tannable skin prevented me from even attempting to blend in. Continue reading