Friday, September 23, 2005

Back on the Train

Problem. The train to Elle leaves at 8:30AM.

I woke up at 7, still rather drunk, with a hangover rapidly approaching, packed my bag up, and got ready to check out.

Problem. I had 17 dollars left of rupees in my wallet, and owed 18.50 to the hotel. I give them all that I have, plus a US dollar to make up the difference, grin, and walk out the door. A taxi driver tries to charge me 2 dollars for the short trip to the station.. time was short, so I just kept walking. Pretty soon, a chap in a van stops, and offers me a lift. Very nice.

Make it to the train on time, sit down in my wonderful first class seat (at the back of the train, with a huge observation window in front of me)... pull out my guide book, and find out that Elle doesn't have a bank. The nearest town to Ella has a bank, with no ATM, and the banks close at 3PM here (30 mins after I would have arrived).

Thus, I had to travel an additional hour to Badula, got some cash, internet, and will be heading back to Elle shortly. All because of my stupidity.

Anyway - back to the journey. It was a 5 hour train ride, across some of the most beautiful landscape that I've ever seen. Lush jungle/trees, tiny villages with waving children, and then up into the hill country... quite a few large waterfalls, and then massive tea plantations. Every once and a while, you'd see a few women with baskets slung over their backs, filled to the brim with tea leaves.

Elle is supposed to be very British - the home away from home that they created when they managed the tea plantations. Not sure if i'll have net access there, but I think i'll probably stay there for at least 4-5 days. I've travelled a lot recently, and really need to stay somewhere for a while.

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