Eat, Pray, Drink: 14 March 2024

Negombo, Sri Lanka

Today was our final morning in Colombo. Michael and Kyle have been rising early to get the most out of their mornings before breakfast and to enjoy the cooler temperatures.

Kyle, who is Catholic, really wanted to attend Mass to see what it's like in Sri Lanka. Michael is not, but agreed to go with him.

St. Theresa's Church is a Redemptorist church in Colombo, about a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Michael and Kyle set out early to attend the 6:15am weekday Mass and arrived a few minutes before the service was due to begin.

The church was light, airy, and open to the breezes and sounds of the early morning city waking up to the day. The walls were adorned with beautiful frescos, and stained-glass windows let in colored light from high above the sanctuary,

It was a weekday Mass, so it only took about 30 minutes. We were surprised at how many people had woken up so early to go to church at 6:15 on a weekday!

Sri Lanka is a pluralistic country, with large Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian populations, but Western Province, where Colombo is located, has the highest percentage of Christians in the country.

We also wanted to check out the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour, the diocesan cathedral for the Anglican Church of Ceylon.

There wasn't a weekday service going on, but we wanted to visit anyway because of its unique architectural design.

The cathedral is a "church in the round" based on the traditional style of local architecture, in this case the hexagonal form of a Sri Lankan Buddhist temple.

We stayed for a few minutes, admiring the unique architecture, but we didn't have a ton of time to spend. We had to get back to the hotel, pack, and get ready to move on from Colombo to our next stop.

Negombo is a beach resort town about an hour north of Colombo, and its where we will depart from on Sunday morning when our Rickshaw Run adventure officially launches! Before that, we have a few days of driving practice, basic mechanical briefing, and logistical stuff to take care of.

We arrived in Negombo just after noon, checked in, dropped off our bags, and took a walk down the road to the nearby Paloma, a very small family-run restaurant and bar.

The owner was super friendly. He took our orders and chatted to us while his wife prepared our lunch. He knew all about the Rickshaw Run, and wished us luck on our upcoming adventure.

We were all in the mood for local food. Kim tried an egg and sambol sandwich, Kyle had the Sri Lankan vegetable curry, and Michael had a spicy Negombo red curry with prawns and mango chutney.

Kim was feeling tired and returned to the hotel to take a rest and cool off. Michael and Kyle decided to take a walk down to the nearby Negombo Beach.

It was a really hot day, and the bright equatorial sun made it feel even hotter. We didn't stay very long, but it was nice to watch the waves crashing against the golden sand and to see the fishermen off the coast in their traditional sailboats.

This evening was "Pre-Adventure Beers", the first official Rickshaw Run event!

We took a car to the Serendib Restaurant and Pub, which sat on the beach facing out to the sunset.

The name "Serendib" is an old name for the island of Sri Lanka given to it by Arab and Persian explorers and traders, and is the root for the English word "serendipity", which we hope will prove to be a theme of our adventure.

We ordered a few Lion Lagers and sat down to enjoy the sunset. We got to know a few of the other teams who have arrived already, and everyone seems super nice. 

Not everyone is here yet; some teams won't be arriving until Saturday, just before the launch, but it's nice to get to know some of the other participants and to have a few friends who will be going on the Run!

Some of you who donated to sponsor our charity of choice and support us on the run might recognize our team shirts! We will be wearing these throughout our run. Most teams seem to have made matching shirts, but I think we are the only purple team so far. We will also receive a matching flag to fly from our rickshaw closer to the launch.

In the evening, after we had all arrived back at the hotel, Kyle started to feel hungry, and asked Michael to go out for a late night snack with him.

Michael and Kyle walked down the road to the Buhari Hotel.

In Sri Lanka, the word "hotel" can sometimes be used to describe a small, family-run restaurant. We will need to be careful when looking for places to stay! We have heard stories of adventurers on previous Rickshaw Runs who ended up - purely through the generosity of strangers - sleeping for the night on the floor of such a "hotel" because there was nowhere else for them to stay.

Kyle ordered a chocolate and banana roti (a type of South Asian flatbread, or stuffed crepe), and Michael ordered one with ghee and egg. 

We took the roti to go and shared them in our room before going to bed for the night.

Tomorrow is the first day of test driving, and we want to be ready for it. The next two days are going to be crazy as we get ready to officially launch off on our adventure across Sri Lanka!

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