Justins World

Ceylon train adventure

An early start which wasn’t really an issue given the jet lag is pretty bad. Must be the 5 or 6 hr time change. Normally I adjust pretty quickly, but find myself dozing off at weird times.  I went to the train station, where relatively calm chaos occurred.  I found my train and the carriages were in complete darkness and local humidity of 100%.  I think a swimming pool would have been dryer.  I somehow found my seat, but there was a lot of arguing going on between people and people seemed to have no issue either pushing over, around and past me, just to get to a seat.  

I sat in the humid sweatbox for ten minutes.  I managed to open the window to get some relief, then they turned the lights and fans on to everyones relief.  5 minutes later we were off, but only as far as the next station where the train was topped for over an hour.  I have no idea why, but eventually people made a mad dash across the platform and someone said we need to change train.  Fortunately for me my seat was in a better carriage with more legroom and a spare seat next to me.  The journey was still long, it was relatively hot, but the breeze and fans kept it comfortable.  I picked up a few things from sellers on the train to satisfy my hunger, mostly small bready fried things.  

Carved pillars at Polonnaruwa

I arrived in Polonnaruwa about an hour and a half after the scheduled time.  So given the 1 hour delay to departure it wasn’t too bad.  Got a taxi into my guesthouse, but the driver seemed upset when he realise that he may not be getting any return business out of me.  I do have phone numbers for 3 different Sri Lankan drivers in a little over 3 days. 

The guesthouse cooked be up a delicious lunch of chicken biryani topped with a fried egg. Its was so delicious and not a bowl of chillies to be seen!  The main reason to come to Polonnaruwa is to see the ancient city that is here.  This whole middle area of Sri Lanka is known for the ruins that dot the landscape.  I came here, because its all fairly compact and can be done in an afternoon and the other main place Anuradhapura, was further away from every where else I wanted to go. 

Stupa at Polonnaruwa

None of these ancient sites have cheap entry either.  $US25 to get in to see Polonnaruwa, puts it up there with other sites I’ve seen.  The ruins varied from foundations and bases of walls, to large stupa that were mostly intact and lots of pillars, carvings some with quite intricate details.  The finale for the visit was a large reclining stone buddha kept in great condition.

Reclining Buddha

Of course no ruins would be at home without troops of monkeys grooming, fighting and stealing things.  I also went to the nearby dam, to look for elephants, there was one elephant all the way across the dam and hoards of people waiting for more, but it appears the elephant show was cancelled and this elephant wasn’t told.

I had a deli ious dinner of dahl,  chicken curry, roti and some things called egg hoppers which was a bowl shaped pancake with and egg in the bottom.  I should have photographed it, but didn’t. I’m sure i’ll have them again. Tomorrow is hopefully a quieter day, no real plans other than to get to Sigiriya which is less than 100kms away.

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