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Car Rental = Car Accident!

January 21, 2008

Tom – Took a one hour walk this morning after the power went out.  When we got back had breakfast, showered and I left to arrange for the rental car at Mal-Key Travels & Tours.  The Managing Director was very helpful in working me through the process.  I checked 4-5 places and he seemed to have the best package of value and service.  They arranged to have a driver come with the rental car to pick me up and then I had to drive back to the agency; I guess they wanted to check on my driving on the wrong side of the street with the crazy traffic.  As a result of the 150 year British occupation, they drive on the left side of the road with the steering wheel on the right side of the car.  Sri Lanka became independent in 1948.

Once there I was able to get a long term lease >3 months for about $375 a month plus a $235 deposit.  The car is a 1999 Toyota Corolla 110 Limited, automatic and silver gray.  There was (and still is) a squeak when I start driving and turn right and the back tires were worn.  They put on four new tires when I went to the bank to withdraw all but $20 from our account.  I will need the rest of the money to pay our first months rent when we get to Matara.  We are currently cash poor but have money coming into the account in the next two weeks.

Helen – I guess it’s my role to tell you about the drive home from the car rental agency.  Tom made it home just around the corner from the house…he has to cut the corner close making that turn and darn wasn’t there a motorcycle parked illegally there.  Well, you can’t really say illegally because everyone parks there and along the street because there is a medical center at the intersection with no parking lot.  Yep, he hit it, knocked it down, and put a nice dent in both doors where they meet on the driver side.  He goes to find the driver, the driver comes over, looks at his cycle and decides no damage was done and drives away.  Tom calls his rental agency to report the accident; thank goodness the contract included insurance, and they replied that if the car was drivable as is (no lights broken, etc) not to worry about it now and they would take care of it at the end of the lease.  Do you think they expect a few more fender benders on this lease???  He was pretty embarrassed but we got a good story out of it.

We decided to call Ranjan and asked him to send his driver over to pick us up and bring us to his store and we would buy him lunch.  I wanted to see his reaction when I brought in the elephant and fish paintings to be framed (he had thought to buy the elephant but didn’t) and we didn’t want to drive there at high traffic time.  We ordered the delicious curry chicken puff pastries, but he wouldn’t let us pay for them.  He is going to cut the frame for the elephant but leave it unassembled since it is so large and frame the fish because it is attached to a broad backing and couldn’t be removed to be rolled for transporting home.

Afterwards we made one last stop at the House of Fashion and picked up a few more deals, the most important one being umbrellas.  When we got back to the guesthouse, Ruki had me try on one of her saris.

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Ruki decided to take us out for dinner at the Green Cabin to celebrate my upcoming birthday.  It was a lovely restaurant with a covered outdoor eating area.  It is well known for its Sinhalese cuisine.  There were no alcoholic beverages there so we had ginger beer which is like our ginger ale but with lots more ginger.  As always, dinner was late and we went to bed stuffed!!

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