I said to myself “Welcome to loonyland” as soon as the plane made a sudden stop. I think the pilot was trying to judge where the walkway or shoot or whatever this metal corridor is called, was going to rest on the plane and he was trying hard to make sure that is was some where at least close to the door, so that we the people would be able to do our morning exercises while trying to jump onto the walkway. Anyway, no such luck he was exact and stopped at the entrance of the walkway.
I did not have the pleasure of playing rugby while at school ( no, it has nothing to do with how I looked during my school day’s or does it have to do with the fact that I could have won the crown for Ms. Universe if they were only measuring the waist during that period of history), but I am proud to say that I have experienced the game in the form it was introduced in the late 1800 when rules were made according to each and everyone’s wish. There were no referees or linesman just only players and only one aim “push anything until you reach your goal”.
Yes, I experience this very dangerous game each time I am on a flight from the Middle East to Colombo. The game starts as soon as the plane makes contact with the tarmac, people at the back of the plane jump off their seats (actually, its more like leaping into the air …… I wonder whether there is some high voltage on the tarmac that effects Sri Lankans…?) grab their luggage and buffalo their way to the nearest exit. They try their best to head right to the front of the plane, and would reach their destination if not for the stewards who have been trained to keep an eye on unfriendly sportsman who play this early form of rugby. If by chance you get caught in front of any of them, you will be pinned to the ground or they might just carry you all the way home…..
After the first wave of players have left the field “D” and I make our way to the doorway and take the first breath of local hulang (air) and feel or how wonderful its to be back, then before we could enjoy the moment, we are pushed or shoved by the next guy who is trying to get to the immigration counter before us so that he could stand in the queue as long as us, but in front of us….Oh, what pleasure!! We amble along to the immigration counter while admiring the new wing of the airport. D says “It looks very much better than before, don’t you agree” and I agree wholeheartedly as it is very much better than before, but………don’t you feel we could have done better?????? Something is missing and I just cannot put my thoughts on it…I am too tired from the flight and just want to get home and take a shower and may be sleep.
We are still trying to think why the Duty Free area is so small and looks like First Cross street, Pettah or more precisely like the worldmarket in Fort (which I hope is still there). Why do the salesman of these outlets hang around calling customers to their shops, shouldn’t it be more up class and professional? I like how things are at the Duty Free in Dubai, I do understand we don’t have that volume of business as Dubai Duty Free, but I feel a more professional attitude could be maintained as this is the First impression a visitor gets about Sri Lanka. The subject of how I feel about the airport could make up another post on another day, so let me leave it at that.
We pick our luggage which come in 4 different sizes and move to the counter that say “Nothing to Declare”(Green Line). The officer at the desk is having a hard time with a lady who has about 9 pcs of large luggage and saying she has nothing to declare. He takes our passports looks at my tranquil body language and at “D”s innocent figure and says “Welcome, to Sri Lanka…. Oh, you are Sri Lankan no…? After how long are you returning? from Middle East?” before I could even open my mouth and show him my un-brushed teeth he hands us our passports and waves us on. We are too tired to answer him and push through the metal/wood doors to the waiting area. Oh, Ya….now we are back home for sure.