‘Problem problem!’

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Entry to many of the ‘cultural triangle’ sites are subject to entrance fees. At one time it was possible to buy a $50 pass which allowed entry across most of the sites albeit single day per site. That was discontinued. Effectively entry fees for overseas visitors are around $30 per site per day. This compares to nominal fees for Sri Lankans. The fees are expensive, probably too expensive, and could add a hefty amount to a travellers budget if they want to visit many sites.
I will not pay that much and will happily forgo the full experience in order to put my pennies to better use. At Polonnaruwa there are many examples of ancient ruins outside of the ticket area. With my bike fully laden I went as far as the site exit to catch a view beyond the gate and take photos. I had an interesting chat with the uniformed officials and protested at the prohibitive entry fees.
I left and cycled further along the road by the site of the old palace. More ruins. I took a few pictures. Checking with google maps I tried to circle the ancient ruins. The road became a wide path and I kept on. More ruins! Big stuff. Interesting stuff. Then tourists milling around. I took lots more photos.
I moved on and turned a corner and then found myself on the other side of the gate I had been earlier. A man rushed over. ‘Ticket?’ ‘I do not have a ticket’ I replied. He then pressed me for ‘$30. I did not have that cash. I offered him what I had and told him my entry was unintentional. In fact I had passed a fraction of the whole site which stretched much further in the opposite direction and would take at least a day to view. ‘Problem problem!’ He cried and ran in and out of the gatehouse. ‘Police station!!’ Not a problem I said given the time to make a cash point I would pay for my mistake. Actually there was a policeman at the gate during the whole affair. He came over and told me I could go. The other official said to me ‘you leave Pollonnaruwa!’ Yes I agreed I was on my way out of town.

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