Our First Private Driver

Take us to the Ancient Cities

Tourist Van
Carrie inside our van for our three day trip through the Ancient Cities.

The Ancient Cities are the ruined remains of the early kingdoms and capitals of Sri Lanka and some of the main attractions in the country. They are very spread out and tough to get to so, for the first time in the history of Carrie and my travels, we treated ourselves to a private driver.

Had we done it on our own through local buses it would have taken nearly a week to see the seven cities and we would have been spending more time than desired in the politically unstable north. So, after finally coming to terms with Rodney, we hopped into our van with broken air conditioning and a driver who spoke minimal English and headed out.

You Get What You Pay For

First let me start by saying our driver was an incredibly nice and friendly man. However, as we bargained Rodney down so far on the cost, he gave us his backup driver who did not have much experience with tourists. Over the course of our trip we found a few things odd, though never having had a driver before I don’t quite know what’s normal.

After our second day of driving, we had a few drinks with our driver, pictured to the left
After our second day of driving, we had a few drinks with our driver, pictured to the left

During meals our driver would sit down with us and just expected us to pay for his food. One night he also asked us to pay for a hotel room. Not that he doesn’t deserve these things just as much as anyone else, but shouldn’t that all have been included in the price?

Another classic moment of the trip came on the second morning when our driver showed up 45 minutes late. We actually had to call Rodney to see where he was and when he finally did arrive he gave us a story about his bus breaking down.

We found it a bit convenient that he showed up shortly after the phone call. A broken down bus? Suuure. That sounds like something you tell your boss or teacher when you really overslept. Our theory is that he got drunk the night before and just missed his alarm…a theory we firmed up that night when we became the first customers of his to join him for a few drinks in the hotel.