Sunday, October 02, 2005

Drunk in Polonnaruwa

The first thing I do after getting to Polonnaruwa is to go to the train station to reserve my 1st class berth (bed) ticket for the night-train for the next (Saturday) night. I've learned already that you need to book the good seats as soon as possible.

There is some confusion at the station, and the guys tell me that there are no berths on this train, and that I can just book a vanilla 1st class seat (which won't allow me to sleep well).

I go to my guest-house, check in, unpack, shower, etc, and start speaking with the guest-house owner - a very nice chap. His wife calls the station to try and clear things up. It turns out there are indeed berths available, but that they've lost/never taken down my reservation - which I had made 20 mins before.

The owner offers to drive me into town to check it out. In the end, it seems my reservation was valid, and the train station employees were just idiots, and couldn't find my name on the reservation sheet (pretty difficult as I was the only 1st class reservation).

On the way home, the owner asks if i'd like to go to his local bar for a quick drink - naturally, I agree.

It turns out that Polonnaruwa is a heavily muslim area, and with Ramadan starting soon, he's not allowed to drink in the house, and his wife turns a blind eye to him drinking out of the house. What started as a quick drink turns into a decent stint of Arrack consumption = 3/4 of a liter between the two of us... which after a meal, sends me straight to bed.

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