1) The time lapse of five and a half hours is tricky. Leaving the UK at noon, we got here just after 4:00am. Our body clocks were telling us that it was 10:30 at night and that we ought to be thinking about getting to bed. The Sri Lankan clocks, though were telling us that we should still be in bed, sleeping but thinking about breakfast very shortly!
A better time to fly from the UK, I think, would be fairly late in the evening. You could then sleep through much of the flight; wake up on Sri Lankan time for a late “breakfast” then keep going until you have an early night in Sri Lanka.
2) Whatever you pack, it probably won’t be cool enough – well, certainly it won’t be on the coast (we haven’t been up to the hills yet, it may be different there). Long sleeved tee shirts, long trousers (even at night) are all far too warm.
3) And forget make-up too! It’s so humid that it will just drip off you. Get your eyelashes dyed instead, it makes life much easier.
4) Peaceful is a relative term. We’re in the tropics, it’s a jungle and therefore there are noisy birds and animals screeching all the time. And some of the smallest animals are the noisiest – the tiny squirrel like “Lena” makes an unbelievable racket! As for birds or mice in the attack, how about mongoose? They’re big and clumsy as they bumble about on the roof as you’re trying to sleep!
5) Don’t assume stray dogs are really strays. That animal lying in the middle of the road, forcing traffic to go around it (and they do!) is probably someone’s pet. They go home at night and people seem to just let them wander during the day.
6) The “dry” season isn’t that dry! It can and does still rain and humidity is like a warm wet blanket the minute you step out from the air conditioning. No air conditioning? That’s a mistake! I hope you’ve got a fan, at least! If you want to sleep in any degree of comfort at night, you’re going to need it. And as for washing, you’ll want to wash all the stuff you’ve sweatted into all day, especially when it’s impregnated with sun cream and anti-mosquito repellent – but it may not dry quickly, in spite of the heat. It’s just too damp so bring plenty of spare knickers!
7) Those pesky mosquitos aren’t only a problem at night. They can get you any time of day, especially if you go near dark, dank foliage (they even hide under beds!!) Even “Jungle Formula” isn’t enough to deter the most determined of these bugs. Start taking anti-histamine before you even leave the UK so it’s in your system to help counter the itch. Oh, and bring plenty of anti-mosquito products with you.
8) Perfume – forget it! Apparently it attracts the bugs even more and that’s the last thing you’re going to want. Reconcile yourself to the gentle lemony whiff of Citronella for the duration of your stay. It brings a completely new dimension to unisex perfumes.