Back in Colombo for two days. Something has changed… I didn´t pay for the bus trip from Bentota to Colombo. I didn´t pay for any kind of public transportation at all. No tuk tuk driver followed me. No silly attempts to trick me – how can I take revenge now!
My mission for the first day, get the permission to enter Jaffna up north in two more days and book a seat on the train. So I went to the Colombo Fort Railroad Station to ask at the Tourist Service Office where to get the mysterious permission the government just set up a couple of weeks ago. Some say because of the result of some house searches, as they found some documents indicating that drug and weapon business has started again, launched by foreigners – might claim the corrupt government. Anyway. As a foreigner you need this piece of red tape parade confetti. At the office I was told to apply at the Old Parliament, 10 min walk from here. Easy. No problem. After asking at the gates of the parliament, it appeared that I have to go to the Ministry of Defense, which is located nearby. 20 min search. Easy. No problem. At the entrance of the ministry, which is structured as following, a roofed entrance for vehicles, with an underground sort of a settling, to inspect if they don´t carry bombs along, guarded by MPs and other more odd than hazardous looking guys – peacetime. Easy. A small building aside, through which the pedestrians have to walk and to register. The way to go. A grotty room. Five wooden paint peeling tables. No phones, no computers, barely something on it which looks like administration. Cheap red plastic chairs. A nonpictorial calendar on the wall, mold on the roof. A lousy cabin for body checks. Nobody speaks proper english. The duty officer or what rank so ever, told me I have to wait 30 min, because “not working now”. And I am not allowed to enter, because of my shorts, you have to wear trousers and at least a t-shirt. No signs outside or anywhere of this show off of necessary subservience. It has fucking 37 degrees outside! And I don´t respect your stupid salute game anyway. No problem. “Wait here 30 min.” I filled out a form and started to wait, everything seemed to be alright and easy. 1.30 p.m., after two hours I was hungry, didn´t had braelfast, lunch or a sip of water. No problem, stay seated, “Wait 30 min”. And suddenly something was going on, like efforts, something like you could call work. The two uniformed ladies opposite to me were drawing with a pen, which was also used as a drum stick before, mutual their palms, giggling. The guy next too, anti bomb squad was balancing absent-minded a ruler on his wrist, the other 8 duties in the room, military police and soldiers did the same, nothing, just randomly standing up, walking around, advicing some passengers, returning from toilet, bringing lunch, playing games on their mobile phones and staring at me, investigating my tattoos, that was it. And if this wasn´t enough exhaustion to watch them, the whole gate seemed to be freezed as an helicopter arrived, two, picking up the president, on his election campaign. That causes another two hours during literally nothing happened, only more soldiers joined, some high ranked, doing the busybodies. So we, the civilians, couple of locals and me, were stucked, for another two hours. Anyway I didn´t had my permission yet. I tried to be, I always try to be respectful and polite, without efforts, but especially at silly facilities like this, but this was just comedy. My inners turned into a knot, like when you feel you will explode very soon, an emotion bomber, scattering all his incomprehension and scorn, cursing their waste of life. I had chats with some of the locals, my inmates, one commented this act with “Time is rest”. I answered, “This time is waste, my friend.” He explained me more about his theory, another religious bullshit. “No! TIME I-S W-A-S-T-E. Watch them!!!” Religion as a calmer and military as a treater, guess how I felt. After five hours I left the building. The president hasn´t arrived yet, special forces on motorbikes, hooded, heavily armed forces, securing the entrance. What an absurd spectacle. Finally I did it, and my ticket subsequently. Good ridparade.
As I entered the dorm back at the hostel I exploded finally but into little happy bits. Who is sitting there, next to my bed, Jaime, my friend from Brazil. We were ending up, after the amazement, giving us a hearty hug, we know how hard it is to find pleasant company. And how lovely to meet him again. How lovely, Jaime. And you are just happy, because of how coincidence works and being a part of. – Jaime and Jose, you guys are killing me, each of you in his very special way. “Scheisse.” and “How much.” I can still hear the echo of your heartiness.
And some sad news in the end, I buried my flip flops today. After 8 months my loyal company, in wet, soggy, stony, sandy, salty, dusty, in good times and drunken times, you have always stick to my pace, I always loved you, but now you have to rest, on a dump outside Colombo city. I am sorry and don´t you worry, I already found a beautiful new pair. Everything is substitutable, even loyalty.