After our little “Roadside” bus excursion the other day, we decided to fork out for a van to return from Trincomalee to Negombo to pick up our friend Teresa and so that Sharyn could take her plane back to Australia for her conference presentations.
It’s a 6hr trip in the van with a short lunch break, so the bus would’ve been horrendous! When we finally arrived at The Terranova Inn we were pretty tired and dehydrated and looking for a bed to crash out on for an hour or so before picking up Teresa at the airport.
Far from getting to finally relax, we were told we were a day late and they’d given our room away! Conveniently, the owner was in Colombo and he wouldn’t be back for another hour! All we could do was wait as he wasn’t answering his phone. We were never even offered the usual drink on arrival, even though we were obviously hot and tired.
The owner told the desk boy that Agoda (who we booked it through) had made a mistake with the booking, but we had the confirmation dates on a screenshot on Sharyn’s phone. He said he had a screenshot too – someone was lying!
This would’ve been a simple walkout except for the fact that they already had our money! Finally, they offered us a couple of rooms at his mate’s place down the road, but we insisted we wanted our room, or a similar room of the same standard.
Finally, we relented, as we needed somewhere to stay to bring Teresa to. The new guy took us down the road to a rustic-looking local house, nowhere near as nice as what we’d just paid USD112 for. Sharyn contacted Agoda and explained the situation, but they said they needed to talk to the owner first before they’d give us our money back – but he still wasn’t answering his phone!
In the meantime, I had to take the tuk-tuk to the airport to pick up Teresa. On our return, they’d put a French couple with a young boy into one of the room we’d chosen for Teresa. They had also been booked into the Terranova Inn. We had negotiated a new price with the new owner of the house we were now in and now I was back with Teresa, they had decided to double it!
Outraged, the French couple took their lad and left to find somewhere else to stay, the owner of the house calling the woman a whore in French as she left – nice!!
This was now obviously a huge scam and we also promptly picked up our bags and walked off, the owner wanting payment for the electricity we used while we were sitting there!
By now it was almost 6 pm, so we headed to the nearest restaurant, sat down, had something to eat, then began the internet hunt for a new room. Fortunately, after a couple of misses, we booked the MV Family Guesthouse just down the road. We were greeted by a young Russian lad called Vladimir, he was the only one living there. I had bought some beers earlier on the way back from the airport and put them immediately into the freezer. We spent the rest of the night on the large front verandah speaking with Vladimir and trying to make some sense out of what was a very long, tiresome day.
As always, things seemed much better in the morning. We had gotten a place to stay and we’d soon sort it out with Agoda. We headed down to the main street for breakfast and then onto the beach. It was a much nicer beach than we’d heard. We also checked out the railway station (Kattuwa) as Teresa and I were taking the train down to Hikkaduwa in the morning. Sharyn would be staying another night before flying out.
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BOOK INTO THE TERRANOVA INN in Negombo. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!