There are certain things in life that never get boring: concerts, pique-niques, sunsets… Another one to add to this list: The open door train rides in Sri Lanka. Each ride is a new adventure and my ride from Hatton to Haputale might just have been my favourite experience in Sri Lanka so far.
After getting up at 1:30 am (which is when I would usually go to bed on a weekday…) after just a few hours of sleep and walking up (and down!) the 5.000 steps to Adam’s Peak in order to watch the beautiful sunrise, I was pretty tired and looked more than forward to just listening to some music and taking a nap on the train. This was not meant to be, as – of course – the train was as crowded as ususal and I didn’t even get to secure my favourite spot in the open door: The VIP spot was already occupied by two local teenage girls. They told me that they got off even after my stop, so I was mentally preparing myself to not sittting down at all for the next four hours. A pretty painful thought, considering my legs felt like pudding after the hike.
Luckily, however, I soon became BFF with the girls, since they – like most young girls I met here – were pretty intrigued by a white girl travelling on her own and seemed keen to practice their English as well. They quickly invited me to squeeze in with them and while we chatted about school, boys and the usual girlie stuff, their dads, uncles and some other guys came along and started to make music.
One of the guys had a bongo, while another one was improvising with an empty water-container and two empty bottles of water and a third one had a songbook. Soon a handful of guys and just as many kids were squeezing into the doorway (which I guess is not larger than two or three square meters) and we were all singing, dancing and clapping hands for the next three hours.
By the time my stop was approaching, we were all dancing, with even more kids and even some local women joining our improvised party. Within minutes, total strangers became friends and we shared cookies, water and happiness. My fatigue was soon forgotten and I felt so alive and happy during the entire trainride. I was truely touched by this experience and was more than sad when I had to get off the train. There might even have been a little tear hiding in the corner of my eyes.
What a lucky girl I am!! Every situation always gets better with music and there couldn’t have been a better soundtrack for this scenic trainride across the Sri Lankan hill country, driving along the beautiful tea plantations and waterfalls.
(PS: Sorry for the pool quality of the videos. I just had my shittyold iPhone at hand but I hope you still get an idea of just how awesome this adventure was.)