Thursday/Friday 04/05 April 2013- Colombo.
Again I was in no real rush this morning, all I have to do is make it the few kilometres to the train station in Galle for the 1:15pm train to Colombo. I wasn’t planning on doing anything else with the day so did not get down to the restaurant for breakie until almost 8:30 and then I took over an hour to consume it. While I was eating the sky just opened up and poured with rain for quite a while. I was hoping it would clear the skies and the air and we would have a clear day with much reduced humidity – it was a forlorn hope. It seemed even worse!
The roof in my room leaked while I was at breakfast, fortunately not onto, or into my open pack, but near enough for me to organise everything into a pile on my bed while I lazed about for an hour or so before checking out at the last possible minute.
I took a tuk-tuk to Galle train station just after checking out at 11:00 and was surprised to find there was no 1:15 train, there was a 2:45 train. This meant over three hours in Galle station, oh well. I bought my ticket and settled down on a step to do emails to kill some time. I was, of course, an immediate target for a variety of touts and beggars and finally got sick of it and threw my pack on back and walked off to find somewhere less public to sit.
I found an unlikely home for a couple of hours – Galle KFC. I have not been into a KFC in decades- McDonalds and BK, yes – but not KFC! I ordered a coffee and a vege burger and took a seat in quiet and uninterrupted air conditioned luxury. It was a good choice!
I sent a text to Benne to say farewell and it turned out he was already on the train I was catching Having got on at an earlier stop in Matara. Small world, I found him when I got in but we did not get to sit together on the journey as the train was quite full
I hung out a door for a while before the rain started to come down Once the conductor came round checking tickets and kicked the non class 2 passengers out I managed to get a seat for the rest of the three hour ride. Sadly it was on the wrong side of the train and I did not have a window seat.
The train track from Galle to Colombo runs pretty much directly up the coast, often times only metres away from the beach, so the views were great, though with rain and other passengers there was little opportunity to take photos.
We arrived in Colombo Fort station just before 6:00, I said a farewell to Benne and we agreed to try and catch in England or Germany at some stage. I enjoyed travelling with him, thanks Benne !
Before I got a tuk-tuk to Trudi’s place I picked up a couple of rotis to eat on the way, my last ones in Sri Lanka. Most of the time the take-away food comes wrapped in newspaper or whatever paper comes to hand, often it is stapled together to make bag. This was the first time I have had some school book, maths or accounting I guess. I am not sure on the hygiene of it all, but what the heck – it is what it is!
Trudi was away back in Australia but had a friend, Colleen, staying in the apartment and minding her daughter, so I had someone to let me in when I arrived. It was great to have a good hot shower and even better to have a glass of red or two. I spent a very pleasant evening chatting to Colleen before making my 11:00pm Skype appointment with El. Maybe the last one for a while as I am not sure what internet access I will have on the boat. As always, lovely to see her again.
Friday morning was not too much of an early start and I got to eat toast and Vegemite for breakfast which was just absolute magic – sometimes it is the little things that are missed the most. I got all my washing done and dried, even my month old sleeping bag liner, which was a relief – probably to all. I was going to post a box of stuff back to NZ and asked Colleen about getting to the post office. She volunteered to take it and post it to my mum as she was off to Auckland next week, that was very cool and I off loaded a bunch of stuff I was not going to need on the boat.
We went for lunch to the Barefoot Cafe, a very popular local hang out, the food was great as were the couple of bottles of Shiraz we made disappear as well. I had a great afternoon, and then it was time to pack up and head off to the airport for the flight to Singapore.
I really liked Sri Lanka, if I ever chose to come back to a country again I would put it on the list, the Sri Lankans are very friendly and hospitable and with the exception of some tuk-tuk drivers and guest house operators are honest as trustworthy as well. The country is mostly beautiful and clean and has a great mix of things to do from the spiritual to the profane, from the active to the restful. The best thing is the food is delicious, plentiful and cheap.