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Friday, December 31, 2010

My Kathleen Turner Moment

Movie Poster
circa 1985
On December 27th, we boarded a plane for Colombo, Sri Lanka. I have to admit; one year ago I would have never envisioned vacationing in Sri Lanka. I knew nothing about this small country and had not even confirmed my job in India. Here I am, taking an international flight from India with Doug, the kids, Mom and Aunt Karen. Fortunately Bangalore Airport is state of the art which makes surviving a delay quite pleasant. One hour and 20 minutes after takeoff we have landed in Colombo, made it through duty free – maximizing our 2 liters + 3 bottles of wine per adult. Yes, we fully enjoy our vacations. Next we made our way to the taxi pick up looking for Gamini, our driver. When I booked this vacation, I estimated about 3 hours from the airport to the beach house…seemed doable considering my commute to work is sometimes 2 hours. As the van pulled up, slightly rusted sporting a sticker labeled “Rebecci Schmitt” we all grimaced that this could be a LONG ride. We piled in 7 people, 10 bags and 12 bottle of alcohol. What can I say, we were planning to relax. The driver then informed us it would be 5 hours through central Sri Lanka as the coastline has too much traffic. A sigh of disappointment rumbled through the gang.

After about an hour and a half into the ride, the white van packed with people and luggage piled so high the rear window was opaque careened through winding roads barely big enough for one vehicle. My mom and Aunt looked slightly worried, the kids asked how long until we get there and Doug was taking pictures of rice paddies and villagers. It was humid, the air conditioner smelled moldy, the small towns seemed to run together feeling like we were making loops through central Sri Lanka, would the coastline ever emerge? Suddenly I had a flashback, didn’t Jewel of the Nile begin this way? Kathleen Turner, a New York socialite heads to Colombia to save her sister ….she too didn’t know what she was in for. Her bus ride, like mine, seemed never ending and the surroundings got more rural every second. Her lucky break was getting off the bus, sliding down a mud hill and finding a young Michael Douglas. Unlike her, I stayed on the bus. However we turned down a very narrow mud path and ended up at Moonhill – our paradise on the beach. Like the movie, we had a happy ending too but for a while I was wondering what I signed my family up for!

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