Flying to, and arriving in Sri Lanka: My experience and tips

 

Flying to, and arriving in Sri Lanka

We flew with Mihin Lanka from Seychelles to Colombo. As it is considered a budget air line I was expecting not very much.

I was pleasantly surprised with the flight. We had more leg room than I had anticipated which is always a good thing.

There were no TVs, but we were prepared for that and loaded the iPad up with movies to keep Arthur entertained if he got upset. He didn’t really need it though which was great!

We were given dinner which was actually delicious, we had a choice of either vegetarian or chicken curry, I had veg and mark had chicken, Arthur had some of each of ours.

The airport in Colombo was much bigger than I expected, I guess we have got used to our small airport in the Seychelles now! Everything was clean and mostly well signposted.
The one thing we missed was that we had to fill in arrival cards so we got to Passport control without doing that, luckily there was no queue else that would have been pretty annoying!!!

Stepping out of the airport is, frankly, manic!! Cars, taxis, and people everywhere.
Our taxi driver met us with a sign for “Miss Mark H” which enjoyed!! He didn’t speak very good English and it took a while to figure out that he had parked the car in a separate car park and we were to walk there, it wasn’t far!!

We told him the name of the place we were staying and he didn’t know it. He kept asking if it was Colombo 1, Colombo 3, Colombo 7 etc…..I had no idea what he was talking about.
Turns out Colombo is separated into different districts (hence the different numbers) although we are yet to find a map with these on!!

We didn’t have an address for our guest house just the name. Mark knew what street it was and roughly that it was near the Canadian embassy (this determined that we were in Colombo 7)…..should be easy to find right…..WRONG!! We drove around for over 2 hours looking for this place with our taxi driver just repeating “you have no good address? Just the name!” He was starting to get angry!
At this point it is after 1 in the morning and we are exhausted. Mark tells him to just take us to a hotel, any hotel and we will sort it the next day.
I was astounded when we got to a hotel that we weren’t totally ripped off by our taxi driver, the pre-agreed price for our transport for to the hotel was $35 and he didn’t charge us any more than that, despite having driven around for an extra two hours…..amazing!

We emailed the place we were staying once we got our hotel room and they were very apologetic, they have promised to pick us up in the morning, refund our taxi cost as well as the first nights stay.

We are now in the right place. The Cheriton Residences. it’s a lovely guest house, turned out we had pretty much been right outside whilst driving around the night before!!! This place has a very colonial feel to it, our room is huge and Arthur’s cot is lovely, not just a travel cot!
Here’s a bit of a grainy picture just taken on my iPad, we will upload all our camera pics once we are back in Seychelles.

Cheriton residencies, Colombo, Sri Lanka.  Flying to, and arriving in Sri Lanka

We have learned a few lessons from this experience so I thought I’d pass on a couple of tips:

1. When arriving in Colombo Airport fill in the arrival card before getting to Passport Control. That might sound obvious, however, we already had visas so didn’t realise we would have to do that too!! “visa” in fact is an ETA which we obtained online. Sri Lanka ETA is electronic and it is linked to our passport, so just need to show Immigration our passport and the arrival card.*

2. Taxi and Tuk Tuk drivers are not like London cabbies knowing their city inside and out: Know what district of Colombo you are staying in, this will help you driver out!!

3. Make sure you have the address of where you are staying. Hotel, guest house whatever. Have the full address and the phone number!! This will save hours driving around! Places are hard to find, guest houses particularly are not massively signposted!!

*in collaboration with SriLanka.org

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Review: One Piece Sunsuit from beachfactory.com

Not every day is like a holiday here, there’s normal daily stuff to do, yep, even in paradise!!

But living in the Seychelles means we are out and about in the sun a lot!!  This makes sun protection something that is very high on my priority list!

We are lucky that Arthur doesn’t mind too much having sun cream put on.  He’s pretty used to it!  But for me when we are going to be out in the sun I love Arthur to be able to have an even more reliable form of sun protection.

The times we are in the sun for the longest is at the swimming pool or at the beach.  The best thing we can do to protect him from the sun is to wear UV Swimwear!
With UV Swimwear, Arthur has continual sun protection that doesn’t come off from sweat or swimming!

I was delighted when beachfactory.com offered me a one piece sun suit for Arthur to review.  We had one when Arthur was a bit smaller but have more recently been using Rash vests and shorts (still UV of course!)

This lovely O’Neil one piece sunsuit is perfect! The benefit of having a one piece is that there is no risk of a top riding up or shorts falling down to expose skin to the sun!

UV one piece sunsuit review

uv one piece sunsuit review

uv one piece sunsuit review

As you can see this is a little bit big right now but that’s just fine. Something I recently learned, and I guess it makes perfect sense, is that if a UV material is stretched out (i.e. Too small) then it looses it’s “ultraviolet protective factor” which of course reduces it’s safety!

All the UV wear we have for Arthur has a UPF of 50+ this is the maximum level that can be produced in fabrics.
We of course team this up with sunscreen of SPF 50+ to ensure our little guy has as much protection from the sun as possible!

If you are looking for a one piece sunsuit do check out the range at the Beach Factory they deliver worldwide and have a great range of cool brands such as O’Neil, Rip Curl and Quiksilver, which is great because we want our little ones to look cool as well as being protected right!?

 

*I was sent the O’Neil one piece sunsuit for the purpose of a review but all the opinions are my own!*

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An Expat Christmas

An expat Christmas

This year will be our 3rd Christmas as expats, and our second as parents!

An Expat Christmas

Last year was obviously special as it was Arthur’s first Christmas and we made a big of a deal as we could by doing a big British Christmas dinner with our closest friends. However, as much as we love living in the Seychelles (and we really do!), we can’t help but find Christmas a bit of an anti climax. Hearing Rudolph the red nose reindeer and Santa Clause is coming to town just doesn’t seem right on a tropical island!!!

But this year, we are doing something a bit different and heading to Sri Lanka.

With this in mind our parents have sent our Christmas presents out early to us. So we could have our Christmas early, truly an expat Christmas.

Now, we have fallen out of love with the postal system here of late. When we first moved here it would take 10 working days for post to arrive with Royal Mail. Now we are lucky if it gets here within a month.
My parents sent stuff over with plenty of time and two packages have yet to arrive. To give credit to the Seychelles Postal system we’ve never had anything not turn up….one package took 6 months, but it still got here.

Mark’s sister works for a big courier company and so his family sent stuff with them. We had a phone call a couple days later to say it had been seized by Seychelles customs office. We are now dealing with a clearing agent to get that….I guess chocolate and Christmas presents for a 18month old is pretty serious stuff to be sending!!!!

As our internet allowance here is pretty restricted…..9GB/month we live for the weekends skyping our families. We get an additional 2.5GB internet to use each weekend!

So with us leaving for Sri Lanka on Saturday (13th) we arranged for our expat Christmas Skype with my family to be this Saturday just gone.
We arranged our time to fit in with everyone and Mark, Arthur and I sat on our bed with our presents chatting to my Mum, Dad, Brother and the dog. To me it felt just as good as our previous two Christmases here!! Just as much excitement and fun!

I’m hoping we can get our remaining packages this week before we go and go wild and do mid week video Skypes to our families before we go, if not it will be something to look forward to when we are back!!

My parents have sent a couple things for us to take away to open on Christmas Day so we still can make some kind of event of the real thing!
The hotel we are staying at is also putting on some kind of big special dinner too so that should be fun!
Mark and I have decided to buy presents for each other when we are in Sri Lanka. Just small things, again to have something to open!

Arthur will have his Christmas present from us when we are back, we are having an easel made for him while we are gone!!

To me this whole thing kind of sums up being an expat.
Having Christmas at the beginning of December via Skype and then off seeing the world for the big day itself!!

Seychelles Mama

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Packing for Sri Lanka with a toddler in tow

Packing for Sri Lanka with a toddler in tow

Going to Sri Lanka is a pretty big deal for us. Mark and I have never been to Asia, never done a holiday where we travel to different places, and perhaps the biggest thing is that this is our first proper family holiday with Arthur.

We went back to the UK in the Summer, but that was staying with our families where we were totally looked after, and had access to way more for Arthur than we are used to here.

We are now getting organised….mmm, attempting to get organised, so here we go: packing for Sri Lanka with a toddler in tow!

The weather is going to be cooler then we are used to here. Some parts of our trip will be colder than others.

Also we are traveling between the city, the beach and the mountains!

So with all this in mind, we need to pack for the variable weather conditions, and we need to pack light so we can carry everything from place.

I have definitely reached the stage of pre-trip panic. So I’m writing this all down to help assure myself we are reasonably organised

We have borrowed backpacks from our lovely neighbours so that’s going to help us a lot as it allows us to be hands free. One we can definitely take but we are not sure the other is big enough, so if not we have a separate bag on stand by!

For Arthur we have borrowed a really lightweight umbrella folding pushchair from a lady who loves near by. Her son is 3 now and they don’t use a lot any more. This little chair is, let’s say, “well loved” so I need to do a few little patch ups on it. In a way it’s a good thing as she’s said she doesn’t even want it back afterwards so if it just lasts the trip, so be it!
Packing for Sri Lanka with a toddler in tow
We are also taking the Moby wrap we borrowed from another friend. Both Mark and I love this and we know it will be so useful to us in Sri Lanka!

All the places we are staying in have washing facilities, so we need to be sensible and pack as light as possible, knowing we will be able to wash clothes when we are there.
Honestly, I struggle with this, I like to have options! I’m going to have to be very strict with myself!

We’ve been warned that in the temples shoulders and knees should be covered, especially for women. With that in mind, I’ve borrowed some nice pashminas I can throw on over my shoulders (also borrowed from my neighbours), I am also going to buy myself a couple of pairs of ‘hammer pants’ (definitely some with elephant patterns on!!) that I’ve been assured are available literally everywhere!! I’ve actually wanted some crazy patterned trousers forever and these will be perfect as they are super light, so can comfortably wear here after the trip!

Having lived in Seychelles for 2.5 years now, we never wear mosquito repellent. Not because we are lazy (well, maybe a bit!), but because we don’t get bothered by them anywhere near as much as we did when we first moved here.
However going to a different place, where we will become ‘fresh meat’ again, we will take some with us to help keep the Mosquitos at bay!!

Okay, I think I’ve got the major things covered! Oh of course, we have a trusty travel guide to take with us too!!

Only a few days until we go now, so very excited!!
What do you think of my list so far, anything glaringly obvious I’ve missed?

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My Expat Family 5

My Expat Family 5
 

Hello and welcome to the ‘My Expat Family’ blog link up.  I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who joined in last month’s link up!  There were loads of amazing posts linked up, I loved reading them all!

As usual, the link up opens the second Thursday of every month and stays open throughout the weekend!

Please add my badge to the post you are linking, by copying and pasting the code from the box below into your post. This means that people can navigate back to the link up easily!

As with all blog link ups they work best when the love is shared around, please do read, comment on and share as many of the other posts linked up as you can!

Tweet me the link (@chantellevr) and I’ll retweet for you as well!

This months link up will open Thursday 11th December, I look forward to reading all about your expat family!

 

Seychelles Mama

My Expat Family.  A linky for expat family/parent bloggers to share stories of family life as an expat.

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Lunch at Constance Lemuria Hotel {The Ordinary Moments} #32

This afternoon to celebrate the end of the school term and the start of the Christmas Holidays we went down to have lunch at Constance Lemuria hotel, along with some of our friends who also work with Mark.

We love the Takamaka bar! A simple menu with lovely sandwiches and salads!

Of course the best bit is that you’re on the beach!!

Lunch at Constance Lemuria Hotel
We all had a delicious lunch and Arthur had loads of fun running about playing on the beach and on the sun loungers!
Lunch at Constance Lemuria Hotel

Lunch at Constance Lemuria Hotel
He even wandered into the bar area and the lovely staff were showing him around in there!! They said that they think he wants to be a chef…..we know that he was probably just hoping for some more food haha!

He also had lots of fun checking out the Guinea Fowl that live in the hotel grounds!!
Lunch at Constance Lemuria Hotel with the Guinnea Fowl

Lunch at Constance lemuria Hotel with the Guinnea Fowl
After lunch we made use of the fabulous pool and had a little swim! We had just received these swimming Bands in the post from my mum! We had hoped that because they had George from Peppa Pig on them, Arthur would love them. This wasn’t really the case!!
Constance Lemuria swimming pool

Swimming pool Constance Lemuria Hotel
Arthur is so confident in the water, he really does need these now so he can be more independent, which he’s desperate to do! I’m thinking it won’t be too long before he learns to love his swim bands!!

A lovely afternoon! We are so lucky to have places like this on our door step!! Totally spoiled that we can even contemplate considering calling this an ordinary moment!! Every time we are there though, we tell ourselves just how lucky we are!

*FYI this isn’t a paid review or anything we just like this place!!!
 

Linking up with Katie for the Ordinary Moments
The OrdinaryMoments

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining Jamie for Magic Moments

 

 

Country Kids by Fiona at Coombe Mill
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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