Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Train from Ella

Woke up nice and early, took a 1st class train from Ella back to Kandy.

Spent much of the first part of the journey waving at people from the train - pretty much everyone was happy to wave back. Often, a smile on my part would be enough to solicit a wave from them - which I would happily return.

For the first two hours, I had the entire train carriage to myself. However, later, a few Sri Lankan families got onboard. They brought a drum, a bunch of food, and a decent amount of alcohol. Anticipating a party, I took off my headphones, and began to do the international sign of "hi, invite me to your party" = i.e. i started smiling, or actually, beaming.

Soon enough, a few come over and start chatting with me. It turns out that for the first 30 mins of the journey, they restrained themselves from playing music because they were worried that they would disturb me - the sole non sri lankan in the carriage. I soon convinced them otherwise, and they started singing. Then, out came the Arrack.

So it's just after noon, I'm drinking arrack out of a plastic waterbottle (turned into a cup with my pocketknife), and then they decide that they're not content to see me clap - they want to see me dance. Thus, I get up, and start dancing (mostly copying the dance moves of an 8 year old girl near me). This leads to much laughter on all sides - and quite a few of them pull out cameras with which to photograph the authentic englishman looking like an idiot.

In the end, we have about 2 hours of music, a few drinks, much laughter, and I get a few pointers on drumming and dancing - and as always, I leave with people's business cards, and an offer to stay at their house if I come through Columbo.

Sri Lankans are so friendly.

Got to Kandy - decided that I didn't want to spend 950 Rupees (9.5 dollars) like last time, and checked out a much cheaper (and dirtier place) - 420 with shared toilets and cold water.

I meet an English/Greek girl in the hallway outside, and we both decide that the place is disgusting. We end up sharing a taxi to another place on the hills overlooking Kandy, where I haggle the price down to 600 per night per room per person, and I get them to throw in a free cup of tea.

The plan right now, is to wake up as early as possible tomorrow, and head to the Botanical Gardens... after that, i'm unsure.

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