7/10/18: Freezing In July (Sri Lanka)

We had breakfast at the hostel and then walked over to the train station around 7:40. We had to buy tickets for the 8:45 train to Nuwara Eliya.

When we got to the station, there was a huge line pouring out of the station and into the street. I went inside to make sure there wasn’t another line we should be standing in. I went up to a girl waiting in a shorter line and asked her where she was going. She told me Ella, and that her line was for standing seats. The long line was for reserved seats. So I got back in line with Adrian. Luckily, the line moved pretty fast and we had our tickets by 8.

We walked to the platform with our tickets, but we weren’t sure which part of the platform to wait in. We also had no idea if we had reserved seats. I went back to the ticket master and asked him where we should stand.

He told me “the middle.” Then I asked him if our seats were reserved.

“There is no guarantee that you will get a seat.”

Oh. So then why did we have to wait in that long line? I was confused.

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We waited for a while more. Suddenly, around 8:40 a mob of people started moving up the platform. Almost everyone had cleared out of where we were standing.

I was sure no one really knew what they were doing, so I thought it’d be best to just be patient and stay where we were. I saw a station employee walking toward us, so I showed him my ticket and asked if where we were standing was ok. He told me yes. Haha! Those suckers.

The train rolled in and we had to walk one car over for class 2. When I got on, there was just one open seat left. I took it and Adrian came over a few seconds later. We tried to figure out what to do since there was only one seat for both of us. As we were getting settled, the boy next to me got up. His parents (or maybe grandparents) in the row across from us motioned to Adrian to take his seat. The boy was giving up his seat for us— how nice!!

We took the train mainly for the views, which are notoriously beautiful, but we were sitting on the wrong side. All of the beautiful scenery was on the right side and we were on the left. We got a couple good views, but I think we missed out on a lot. But I didn’t feel so bad about it since the weather was so bad and foggy that even if we were on the right side, we wouldn’t have seen as much as we would on a clear day.

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Laddu man

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I thought the ride would only take 2 hours, but it took 4.

We arrived in Nuwara Eliya at 1 pm. It was FREEZING! And super foggy. I wasn’t expecting this kind of weather at all.

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A driver who was “heading back to Nuwara Eliya anyway” drove us to our hostel for 600 rupees (about $4).

We checked in to the hostel/guesthouse, Hi Lanka, and tried to figure out what to do for the rest of the day. It was really gross out, and it didn’t look like it was going to get any better. Should we leave tomorrow? Where should we go? Is the weather going to be like this everywhere?

We had a lot of sorting out to do.

In the end, we decided to first find something to eat and then figure out the rest. We were hungry AF.

We weren’t exactly sure where “town” was, since on the map it didn’t seem like there was anywhere really central. We headed to the bus station, and when that area turned out to have nothing, we continued on the main road. We hit a big restaurant called “Restaurant Two,” but the food was too expensive so we left to keep looking. At this point we were both starving and desperate to find something cheap and quick.

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We walked about 10 minutes more and ran into a local restaurant that had fried rice, kottu, and roti. We ordered two veggie fried rices and sat down.

The fried rice turned out to be really delicious— the spices were really amazing— and we were both so happy. It was a LOT of food, though. I ate a little more than half and then wrapped up the rest to take home.

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We walked back in the wind and rain and relaxed under the blankets. It’d been a while since I was somewhere that required thick blankets and coziness.

At 5:30, I went out for a run. I figured this place was as good a place, if not better, than anywhere else to run. It was definitely windy, but the cool air was such a nice change from the hotness and humidity that I’d become so used to.

I did the first 2 miles on a quiet street near my hostel, but when that road ended I went down to the main road. This was a bit more scary. At one point, a bus almost ran me over. The buses here REALLY don’t care about pedestrians, so if you’re not willing to jump into a ditch or hide behind a tree, they will run you over.

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Running views

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I ended up doing 4 miles at 9:29 min/mile pace, which is pretty good for me.

I went back, showered, and got back under the covers to warm up.

Adrian still wasn’t very hungry around 8 pm, so we decided to just get some street snacks for him down the road for his dinner. I could eat my leftover fried rice and maybe a small snack as my dinner.

We got some laddu (fried lentil patties) and some veggie pastries.

Back at the hostel, the big dining table was already taken by a group of travelers playing a card game. The couches were full as well, so we took a bench in the back of the room and ate our dinner. I warmed up my fried rice (this place had a microwave! The first one I’ve seen in SE Asia) and ate it with the laddu.

This was our first time being in a hostel with a communal atmosphere. It was weird to be in a place where people actually meet others and talk. We hadn’t had that in our first couple weeks here. I felt a bit like I had abandoned my solo-traveling, social self. I didn’t really feel the need to socialize and I felt like I was being a bit unfriendly. These people had no idea that I had actually been solo traveling for the past 7 months, and it was only in the last few weeks that I’d started traveling with a partner. I felt a bit guilty for not being more social for some reason. But at the same time, I was perfectly content just spending the evening with Adrian.

We followed dinner with a bunch of rambutan— we got 20 pieces, so each of us could have 10.

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Empty rambutan shells

We washed our dishes and went back to our room to watch some Netflix. This was the perfect time and place for Netflix and chilling. It was so nice to be indoors, under the covers all warm and cozy, listening to the rain and wind roaring outside our window.

We watched a couple episodes of “Unsolved,” the Netflix series about Biggie & Tupac’s murders.

At 11:30, the France vs. Belgium match began. I made it to 1 am before my eyes just couldn’t stay open any longer.

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