Scenes From Slovenia, our writer’s tortured take on his summer holiday with us, earned a few laughs (and maybe some shade). So we’ve let Lino DiNallo spill it on Sri Lanka, his first Out Adventure last winter.
Incidentally, we’re heading back to the island gem this March. While the trip is technically closed for booking, we may be able to sneak you in (act fast). You can also book and start saving for next year.
SCENE ONE: JETWING LAGOON, OUR STARTING-POINT HOTEL
“This is the fanciest room I’ve ever stayed in,” I think to myself, my trailer park roots betraying their bougie aspirations.
The porter leads me through a private courtyard. Beyond that, my bathroom al fresco awaits.
Screw Never mind the bedroom/living-room combo. The loo is even nicer, centred around a freestanding tub. It leaves me no choice but to photoshoot the shit out of it. And my towel turban selfie above was born.
SCENE TWO: SRI LANKA’S PENULTIMATE TROPICAL MODERN RETREAT
Overtaken by the jungle on a cliff, our next hotel delivers glorious views of the reservoir below. I am
pooping in the loo, minding my own business, while romantic rains fall outside. A monkey appears in my window. A monkey!
We saw monkeys aplenty, and they were all adorable (even the humpy ones).
SCENE THREE: A TEA FACTORY-TURNED-HOTEL…HIGH UP IN TEA COUNTRY
The sweltering heat and humidity is behind us. We’ve spent the afternoon riding the rails. We’re transferred to a coach. Then a bus. Then tiny vans…all to make our way up progressively more precarious roads in the steep tea tree plantations.
When we finally reach the hotel, it’s more of a ski chalet than the tropical retreats thus far. Fireplaces roar. Hot tea is served. I’m actually chilly!
SCENE FOUR: WE ARE ON THE DISCO BUS BOUND FOR WORLD’S END (IT’S NOT AN AFTER HOURS)
We’ve risen at an alarming hour for a long drive to an 8-kilometre hike, and it better be worth it. I’m told the apex may be the most glorious outlook on Earth: World’s End.
SCENE FIVE: THE HIGHWAY THROUGH A NATIONAL PARK. THERE IS AN ELEPHANT ON THE ROAD.
I REPEAT: there is an ELEPHANT. ON. THE. ROAD.
With safaris on three days, we saw plenty of elephants and other animals.
SCENE SIX: A SMALL GROUP BIKES ALONG A RURAL ROAD
A few of us donned our pedal pushers one morning to see Sri Lanka up-close. We passed locals showering in their yards, rubber plantations, tea factories, and tons of children. When the kids ran out to greet us, they all screamed, laughed in glee and made us feel famous. They went hysterical.
SCENE SEVEN: A TENTED CAMP IN THE JUNGLE LOWLANDS
“WHAT ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH ARE YOU, AND WHY ARE YOU IN MY TENT???”
I don’t know what I’m screaming at, but it’s big, ugly and terrifying. It awaited me after our bonfire dinner, next to the mirror in my tent’s en-suite (yes, the tents have ensuites). My scream pierces the air, which our guide would later confess he thought was a peacock.
I contemplate ringing the Help bell, which is literally something a school-matron would clang. Except if I ring the bell, I will have surrendered to the jungle. Alas I crawl under my mosquito netting – the only thing separating me from this manifestation of Satan – and wait for my Zopiclone to kick in.
I should note, in Out Adventures’ defence, NOBODY ELSE HAD THIS HICCUP. Nobody else was terrorized by junglebugs. Nobody else shrieked bloody murder. I consider that night my hazing into the Out Adventures family. It’s been nothing but fun ever since.