Arrived in Sri Lanka

I’m in Sri Lanka. I’ve been here perhaps an hour. It was a *long* trip,
but I made it. And now finally I’ve been somewhere in Asia.

Things haven’t quite started yet, but they’re getting set up for the
hackathon, and things are going to get started soon. There are a lot of
guys here from WS02, and a few folks from other places.

The first part of the trip was largely uneventful. Lexington to
Cincinnati to Paris.

I hate the CDG airport. It feels completely accidental. Everything about
the layout of the airport feels unintentional. I was there for 3 hours,
and I spent 2 hours of that travelling from one part of the airport to
another. There was a 20 minute bus ride from the airplane to the
terminal, which went around and around until I was sure that the driver
was lost.

Then I had to get on another bus to get to Terminal 1. But apparently I
got on the wrong one, so wasted another 20 minutes driving about to the
wrong terminals. Then got on yet another bus to get the rest of the way
to the terminal.

About halfway through boarding, they suddenly stopped letting us on.
Several emergency guys with fire extinguishers, a repair guy with a
large tool box, and several policemen showed up. 10 or 15 minuted later,
they all left. I have no idea what that was about. And then they let us
on board.

Sri Lankan Airways is, I believe, the nicest airline I have ever
traveled on. The food was amazing. Simply wonderful. The stewardesses,
although I imagine the folks that abolished the use of that word would
object to them, were graceful and beautiful, all dressed in what I took
to be traditional Sri Lankan outfits. Did I mention the food was

The first hop was through Frankfurt. In Frankfurt we had to all get off
of the plane and re-enter the boarding area. At the entrance to the
boarding area, they re-checked all the boarding passes against the list
of folks who were allowed to get back on. In Frankfurt they do this
thing where they check your boarding pass before you can get in the
waiting area, rather than before you can get on the plane. Sort of a
good idea, as it speeds up boarding. Unfortunately, there are far fewer
seats in the waiting area than on the plane.

I arrived in Colombo at (I think) about 6 in the morning. It took a
considerable amount of time to wait for all the baggage to go around the
belt, and I finally dtermined that my larger suitcase had not, in fact,
come with me on the last leg of the trip. Fortunately, I brought two
suitcases this time, and the smaller one arrived, so I have something to
wear until the other one arrives tomorrow. Unfortunately, my recording
gear is in the larger one, and I had hoped to do some feathercast
interviews today. Hopefully it will arrive this evening some time. If
not, well, I’m sure I’ll manage somehow. My laptop is here, and that’s
all I really need. 🙂

The trip from the airport was fascinating, for a number of reasons.

For starters, folks here drive quite creatively. Lanes are merely a
suggestion. A new lane can be created at a whim, usually assisted by
blowing the horn a lot. And yet it was more like a well-choreographed
dance than the terror it should have been, and everyone seemed to know
their part.

We went through several distinct parts of town. Out nearer the airport,
the buildings were older, and many of them looked uninhabitable, while
others showed signs of a long-past splendor. Apparently some of them
were from the colonial days.

The next section was buildings that looked more purpose-built. Lots of
stores and businesses.

Then there was the downtown area, with more multi-storey buildings.

Through all of this, there were hundreds of school kids heading to
school. Lots of white uniforms keeping somehow spotlessly clean in spite
of the muddy roads and cars zooming past.

I slept quite a bit on the plane, and I thought that I was doing ok, but
now that I’m here and sitting around, I’m starting to feel the effects
of the 9.5 hour time difference. Maybe I should go take a short nap
after all.