Office – OBT

Last couple of month I couldn’t gather myself to write something here, and now I regret it a little. Anyway, it was a busy couple of months with work and assignments. As usual, little bit of a breathing time at the end of the year, and almost all of us have lighter schedules toward the end of the year, mostly preparing plans for the next year.

Anyway, this is about the three-day OBT and annual trip from the office. We thought of changing the traditional way of going on the annual trip from the office, and added some adventure this time. Pushing ourselves to extremes in life is something I believe a lot, and this time we tried some of that, which we haven’t done or have happened to be forgotten for a long time. As kids we loved adventures, and we used to see some exciting things more regularly with the curious minds. But with time, we embrace quite a lot of responsibilities and bundle our lives with work and hardly find to time to explore the world, more importantly, explore ourselves.

 

 

So, first we head up to the mountains, for canoeing and then 3-hour trekking through the jungle. That sounded amazing, and we all were eager for the whole programme. Even though it got half an hour later to get there, we managed to get everything in order not to skip anything from the schedule. Since some rain was expected in the evening, we decided to do canoeing first and then the hike, as it would be even more interesting and challenging in a wet weather.

It was not an usual rowing exercise,  the canoe itself was so narrow that we could hardly fit into it. After a little bit of struggle, we managed to row in to the reservoir. It was pretty exhausting after an hour of fun in the lake, and by the time we came to the shore, a lot of energy has been drawn out from ourselves. But that couldn’t stop us from the next adventure.

It was the most thrilling experience I would say. Creeping through jungle bushes, and to make it more interesting, the beautiful Belihuloya stream crossed our path several times. We dipped our feet in icy cold water a few times, and felt the energy rising back up inside us again to head toward the end. The scenery was breathtaking as well, as most of the central hills were visible through the mist which covered most of the peaks of them.

After a hectic three hour journey through the jungle, we settled for a late lunch and relaxed ourselves in the tents in the evening. Dinner was a BBQ night with a campfire, and we had a pretty joyful time doing games and sharing funny stories.

The rest of the trip was to relax ourselves a bit in Udawalawa, where we stayed in Grand Udawalawa Safari resort. We played some cricket in a local school playground and in the next morning went to safari in the national park. On the way back home, we couldn’t miss out one of our favourite sports, which was carting. The track looked the same and the feeling was the same. Even though the ten minutes of speed and twisting our bodies with sharp turns made the body-pains even worse, the pure thrill of the event could soak up all of that at the end.

After three days of adventure, we managed to arrive at homes before the sunset, and it was something I would definitely try again next time, and may be, add a little bit of more time to spend in the wilderness.

Kolkata, India

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I usually don’t ride the road of luck in day-to-day basis. But there are times when the angels look at our lives and throw some treats at us.

Something similar happened to me in just a couple of months before. Getting selected from over twenty thousand people into a bunch of really lucky twenty winners from all over the country to watch the Cricket T20 finals in Kolkata, was something extraordinary which happened in my life.

The final match was played in Eden Gardens Cricket stadium, which is one of the oldest and largest cricket grounds in the world. Having seen it over the television many times, I didn’t think I’d be able to stand under the floodlights of it for a memorable occasion.

It was a three-day journey. We almost travelled a whole day there as we couldn’t get a direct flight to Kolkata, so had to take four hours of transit time in Mumbai. This is not a report of the whole journey as I don’t think I’d be able cover a whole city within just a few hours in it. However, the first impression after stepping my feet on the grounds of the city was quite remarkable. It was already getting dark when our luxury coach pulled out of Kolkata International airport, and it took another hour to reach the hotel, which was just near the stadium.

Since we had a small time to wonder around the city, we decided to have a quick dinner and walked down the street just around the corner of the hotel. That was when I realized that I just stepped into a middle of buzzing crowd. The night market was nearly inaccessible, and hardly moved our feet among the noisy crowd of buyers and sellers. That reminded of the street market back in Colombo, but with a bit more people in it. After a couple of hours of walking down the street, we returned to the hotel – empty handed. There were only a handful of people who had the opportunity to creep inside some shops to buy some local clothes and sweets.

The following morning, I managed to eat some local food from the hotel buffet and found out some new flavours which I hadn’t tried before. They had quite a number of selections of sweets which were really mouth-watering. But my tummy didn’t allow me to try them all and I alleviated the bad feeling by reminding that I was going to stay for another couple of meals there.

I was taken aback when I stepped on the streets that morning. It was when I had the true feelings of the city as it was a Sunday morning. The first feeling was that I had time-travelled a couple of decades backwards. Almost all the vehicles in the streets were from back in 80s, and to my surprise the buildings around the hotel looked exactly the same. I wondered if they had abandoned those, but after a close look, I could see people living inside of them. After observing several buildings down the street, my first question asked from the local guide was why don’t they renovate them?

That’s when I heard a long lecture about the history of the city. He took the pleasure to highlight a lot of key information and I thanked him for breaking down them real quick. It was the capital of British India. Almost all of the buildings which were built in that era were preserved to have that look, which was quite amazing. Even though they would have done a better job on that, I secretly appreciated for not demolishing them down.

Before entering the ground, we had the luxury of driving around the city, enjoying the old monuments and the vehicles. The stories heard about India were not by far from reality, as those were proved right in front of my eyes. Even though the three-wheeler was invented there, it was hardly to be seen on the streets.

Eventually, we enjoyed a fabulous cricket match, even though Sri Lanka were not lucky enough to be there in the final. West Indies put on quite a show against the Englishmen, and it was one of a kind way to lift the cup.

After a tiresome journey, we headed back home with lots of memories. It was my first trip to India, and since there are so much to be seen, it’ll be just the beginning journey for that amazing nation.

Holiday In A Beach Hotel

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Everyone loves holidays or vacations. Isn’t it?

But do we really need to wait for that time of the year to get it? Can’t we just manage a weekend for it, to give yourself a treat for working hard?

Well, that’s what exactly I did last weekend. It was in awhile that I visited the beach area in the southern part of the island. But it’s not far down along the coastal line. It’s a place a bit closer to the capital city.

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Anyway, it’s an ideal place to relax and enjoy the beautiful sunset, even though you gotta be lucky enough to have a clear sky and well away from any occasional showers. The beach is what attracts many tourists and there’s nothing much to complain about it. It gives you what you expect from it, and it’s all up to you to use it the right way. Have a play with the waves, run along the beach until you drop to the sands and even you could collect some beautiful seashells as well.

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The nature can be experienced to the fullest when you taste the best food as well. At least that was never a concern as The Tangerine Beach hotel provided me the best service a client would expect. My friends and I enjoyed the hotel very much, specially the sporting facilities provided by the hotel. Before going there we thought of moving out of the hotel to get some more fun, but just after spending a day there, we already forgot that plan.

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It was hard to say goodbye to the fun and mouth-watering dishes. But we all knew it was a short farewell as it only made ourselves crave for something fun like that as soon as possible.