Tuk Tuk & Train
Jánine really wanted to experience a train ride and mingle with the locals, so after asking at reception what times they leave the nearby station, we set off with 5 minutes to spare!… Jumped in a tuk tuk and zipped through the back roads of Ahungalla.
Arriving at the station, we asked at the ticket office when the train is for Aluthgama, “one hour” we were told, well, this is a first, we’re actually early for something!
So with an hour to spare, we just wandered around the station, soaked up the atmosphere and watched the eagles (no kidding) soaring above the trees.
We did spot the funny translation above though, a “wormly” welcome as opposed to a “warm” welcome. lol
We met a couple of friendly people at the station, who we chatted to for a while about how we should have visited Sri Lanka…
“Don’t bother booking your hotel, just turn up, go down near the beach and go round each of the guest houses until you find one you like, barter on the price a little and you’ll get it faaaar better price than booking anything with a tour company”. 😁👍 … wise words if your the adventurous types, probably not so much for me though. Lol
So after jumping on the train and grabbing a seat, we watched the countryside go by.
Not exactly bursting at the seams with people, which wasn’t how I thought it would be, but pleasant none the less, they still seemed to employ the honk the horn every 30 seconds though.
I do feel health and safety in England would have something to say about leaving all the doors and windows wide open though!…But very welcome with the heat!
In order to mix it up and experience everything we could, we decided to get a local bus back instead of the train… what an experience that was!
If you’ve read my earlier post regarding the local driving conditions over here, you might have an inkling as to what’s coming.
First off, what does a bus stop look like?… Still got no idea on that one I’m afraid.
We managed to spot 3 number 2 buses, the first two came literally one after the other, bumper to bumper, but not knowing where / how to stop them, they just drove on by.
The third one happened to stop where we stood which was fortuitous. 😁 So we hopped on and sat down, nobody seemed to be bothered that we hadn’t paid at this point… Oh well.
I thought it might be a good idea to pay though, so I went up to see the driver, he waved at a guy outside, then continued to look out the window and go about his business, so standing there like a Muppet wondering what to do now, I start looking around, then I see a passenger waving at me indicating I should just go sit down… Okay, let’s try that.
After 5 minutes of waiting at the bus stop, we set off, what was quite surprising though, was that within about 5 seconds we were doing Mach 3!
To further enhance the fighter pilot feelings I was having, we occasionally, without warning, swerved sharply to miss the odd missile…errr….tuk tuk, cyclist, pedestrian or if the opportunity arose, other buses!
…Then, like in the film Top Gun, we just “hit the brakes and the bad guys would fly right by!”
Eventually, a stranger holding a wad of cash and a card machine came up the aisle, figured this must be the guy to pay… That or a random stranger looking for hand outs!?…”2 to Ahungalla please”, a grunt and a 20 note change was enough…. Sorted!
About 8 minutes into our ride, the guy pipes up with “Ahungalla…Ahungalla!” And points at us!… Errrrr, I think that’s our cue to get off!
Bearing in mind the train ride lasted about 30 minutes, we were back where we started in 8!… Must be Sri Lankan efficiency, that or the brake neck speeds we were doing!?… Jánine at one point thought we were recreating the film Speed! The part where you can’t hit the brakes and go round a corner on two wheels!
So, we jump off the back of the bus, take a look around and think…”where are we?”
Thinking there must only be one main road along the coast and knowing we haven’t passed out hotel yet, we start walking.
Thankfully our hotel was only around the next bend, so all good here!
Tuk tuk ride, train trip and a bus for about £3 pounds!