Monday, 1 October 2007

The Long Road Home

Sri Lankan roads aren't all that confusing now are they? See, the longest drive within the city is going to take you about 30 minutes at most (add 10-15 more for traffic). So why's it that trishaw drivers always mess up a simple point A to point B trip?

Here's the deal. This morning, I walked about half a kilometer from home to where Kirimandala Road meets Nawala Road (point A). Found a bright blue trishaw there. Saw a man standing next to it. Went up to it and said I need to go to Braybrooke Place (point B). He thinks for a while, tells me to take the 176 from there and change at Borella. I look at him blankly and point towards the trishaw. He laughs and points me to the driver who is standing further away. I smile meekly and move on to negotiate with the actual driver. But that's not the story.

So having told him what the best route is and negotiated an apparently reasonable fair of 250 bucks from A to B, I get in and we're on our way. I still haven't gotten over the fact that in Bangalore trishaws charge only 6 INR (roughly around 18 SLR) per km while over here in SL i'm paying close upon 50 bucks a km! While heading down Kirimandala he suggests a different route which is slightly longer, which other trishaws have taken before, so I say to him "yeah ok if that's what you wanna do". So we head up Thimbirigasyaya Road instead of going down Baseline Road towards Kanatte. Generally, the Thimba route involves us turning into the lane opposite Sunethra Lane near the church on Thimba Road, then heading past CR&FC and towards independence square. While I was sitting there with my ipod plugged in I see that turn off pass us by. Then we turn right into Torrington Avenue. This was a new route! So when Torrington ended on Bullers Road I expected him to take one of 2 options, both of which ended up near independence square. But I was wrong, AGAIN! He goes towards Thunmulla along the one way, goes all the way around and comes back towards Lionel Wendt and the Museum and finally to Braybrooke place, adding at least an extra 10 minutes to a 20 minute ride.

I would've thought he might've saved more cash, and me more time, if he actually listened to me and went on the route that has been identified to be the shortest, at least by me! But these trishaws, they've got their own GPS which apparently you can't fool.

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