I woke up to a room full of new faces who arrived last night while I was dead asleep- exhausted from my day of traveling. We shared a breakfast full of noodles, curry, toast, fruit & tea.
After breakfast, I left in a Tuk Tuk to the train station where after some confusion, I bought a ticket to Kandy. & now I am sitting at the station reading my book & writing this because I missed the train.
Now I have to wait until 10:30 for the next train (it’s 9:45). Cheers.
One thing that always motivates me on a rainy day, or makes me smile when I’m feeling lonely, are children. No matter where you are in the world, the sound of a child’s laugh is universal. Sri Lankan kids are the cutest. They run toward me, poke me, smile at me, but the minute I smile & wave back they run back to their moms. Except for this boy. He came & sat right down next to me & then called his sister & brother over to sit too.
Let me just walk you through my day of navigating Sri Lankan public transportation.
10:30 Finally boarded the correct train. there were no seats on the train, so I laid my backpack on the ground by the wall & sat on top of it. no matter where I am, I know my backpack will always give me a seat.
noon Now I’m at another train station waiting for the correct train to come. There aren’t any English signs, so I kept asking people where the train to Kandy was, what time it was coming & what platform it would be on. One person said platform 2, so when the train came I got up to board it, but a man must have overheard me asking people because he came over & said that this is the wrong train & I have to wait for the 1 5 train. I think, 12:15 train. Perfect.
12:15 There is no train.
12:20 I asked another person & he said the Kandy train is 1 pm. At least the 1’s are consistent.
12:40 Another train is here, I stood up to get on but the guy said the Kandy train is next.
12:46 I spotted a TV with the train times! Kandy train is coming at 13:01.
12:58 Ok, I’m stressing because the sign didn’t say which platform I am supposed to be on (there’s 5) & I’ve been getting mixed answers.
1:00 I’m going to stay on platform 2.
1:02 Trains here!! & It’s packed. OKAY, I’m squeezing on.
1:20 I spent the first hour of the train ride squished between 5 people with my backpack between my legs. I’m on the middle platform connecting cars right by the door (which doesn’t close). It’s so crowded that I’m not even in a car yet.
2:00 Finally some room! & fresh air.
3:30 I’ve been standing for 2 1/2 hours
4:00 A spot by the door opened up!!
4:30 I spent the last 45 minutes hanging out of the door looking at the amazing scenery & thinking, they would never let me do this in America.
A girl I met told me traveling through Sri Lanka was cheap, but slow. She wasn’t kidding.
After a full day (8 hours) of traveling, I checked into my quaint & quiet hostel. The owners were, again, so nice & helpful. The man even offered to drive me into town so I wouldn’t have to pay for a Tuk Tuk. In town, the city was busy. There were so many people running around, shop owners shouting at you to come in their store, Tuk Tuk’s beeping their horn signaling for you to get in, police directing traffic, construction & a lot of crows flying overhead.
On my walk through the markets, I tasted new fruits, veggies & snacks & bought a pretty scarf. Below is what I can only describe as Sinhalase (name of people originally from Northern Sri Lanka, which is now 75% of their population) version of a falafel. It was like fried curry & bread.
This is my all time favorite snack, a veggie rotee. The bread is flakey, the inside is warm, & the veggie curry inside is perfect combo of spicy & salty. Yum. Oh, I am also going vegetarian for the next two months as I am traveling through Sri Lanka & India. Unless someone has prepared a meal for me & then I will eat whatever they cook.
Veggies in the market.
For dinner, I ordered vegetable curry with rice. Sri Lankan style dinner is served with 4 to 5 curries & a bowl of rice. Each restaurant you go to will have different curries. Not pictured is a pumpkin curry because I finished the whole bowl of it. & look how much rice they gave me!
After dinner, I made a plan for the next day & went to sleep.