Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Talk about catching up! Lest I forget I meant to blog a little about the train ride back. We see (And hear) the trains on a daily basis, not hard to miss right under our window. The train track below us is the North-South route, the only one.
When we left Matara we had the driver take us to the train station. We never rode the train so this was going to be a new experience. To make it easier on us Matara was the end of the line.
The driver pointed out the ticket counter and things already started off easy, one ticket window for 3rd class tickets, one for 2nd class. There was a handwritten sign with the departure times.
I purchased two 2nd class tickets for 230 Rupees apiece, about $2USD.
We went to the passenger platform and was directed to a bridge that went over the tracks to the other side. I'm not sure what, if any accommodations there are for handicapped people. It was fun carrying our bags up the stairs.
It was easy enough to figure out where to sit as the doors of the train are painted with a 3 or a 2. Being that it was very early in the morning there was practically nobody on the train.
We grabbed our seats, initially sitting in seats that faced backwards, but before the train departed we found another car with seats facing towards the front.
After a blast of the horn the train left the station.
The best that I can describe the trip would be a very low tech, noisy, dirtier version of the Washington Metro. The train stopped at many stations heading towards Colombo and it became more and more filled up.
Vendors walked throughout the passenger cars selling different snacks which was a nice treat.
It was interesting to see the flora of the countryside, but sad to see all of the tsunami damage and the slums.
A little over two hours later we were passing our apartment building on the left hand side, we could see our cats waving hello (Just checking to see if your still reading, LOL).
The train arrived at Colombo Fort station. I had lost my ticket stub somehow and they checked for them as you left the station, Chris explained the situation and there wasn't any problem.
As we exited the station there was a small army of trishaw drivers vying for our business. We negotiated a price with one of them, don't give us the tourist price we live here!