It’s a mere 265 kilometres from Colombo on Sri Lanka’s west coast to the east coast port of Trincomalee. In the mid-1990s the bus trip could take a day. The suicidal drivers and meteor-sized potholes were bad enough, but it was the army roadblocks that got you in the end.
The country was in the midst of a civil war and ‘Trinco’ was a base of the Tamil Tigers. By the time the fifth roadblock came into view, overcome by sweat and tedium, I was ready to pay anything for a fresh t-shirt and a beer.