Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Indian Ocean 2012

Arabian Night and on to Sri Lanka

    As the clock ticked over into Wednesday, we were of course still sitting in the lounge used by Sri Lankan Airlines at Dubai International's Terminal 2, instead of being well on our way to Colombo by now. We were eventually collected from the lounge and each given a somewhat archaic, multi-part paper document called a Flight Interruption Manifest (universally known as a FIM, pronounced as a word). We were then walked to Terminal 3 where we were able to check in with Emirates, the FIM serving as a paper ticket. Bruce was a little irritated by this manual procedure as, given his line of work, he knew that these days it was all normally done electronically. Still, he talked them into releasing a nice pair of seats in the small section immediately behind First Class.

We moved on to the Emirates Business Lounge, which I instantly recognised from a journey to Sydney in May 2010. Once again, in the 'wee small hours', it was unbelievably busy, underlying Dubai's position as a world hub, around the clock. Sooner than expected, it was time to board.

(Link to flight log in side panel)

On arrival at Colombo Bandaranaike, we had a blissfully easy passage through the new section of the airport. With the new electronic visa system in place, the immigration agent didn't feel the need to ask me a single question. In no time at all, we were aboard the Hilton car that had been sent for us, enjoying a cold towel and bottle of chilled water. This drive was my first experience of Sri Lanka. It was an interesting journey, but nothing like as crazy as I had expected. I attempted to nod off a couple of times, but with fairly erratic driving and much horn-honking going on all around us, it was never going to happen.

Safely arrived at the hotel, we were given a private check-in at the 18th-floor Executive Lounge. Our room was of course available, as it had been booked from the previous night to ensure that it would be.

After taking a moment to appreciate the views ...

              ... we quickly settled down for a sleep of about three hours.

Having recovered at least some of the previous night's lost sleep, we had a light lunch in the hotel lobby, just as they were getting set up for their impressive afternoon tea offering. I had a traditional Hilton club sandwich and it hit the spot nicely. We spent the remaining part of the afternoon lounging around the pool and booked massages for 5:30pm at what, by international standards, were amazingly cheap rates. When the time came, I had an excellent, relaxing massage despite the decidedly sports centre-style surroundings and lack of spa ambience.

Back at the room, we changed into more appropriate clothing and went up a floor to the Executive Lounge. It was rather oddly set up, being split across two separate areas and having no doors. The canapés were appealing, however, and we enjoyed some attentive service from the staff. We then had a most enjoyable dinner in the hotel's Japanese restaurant, Ginza Hohsen. It was then time for bed, as a very early start was required once more the following morning.