Saturday, October 31, 2009

Batticoloa to Badulla then to Ella

6 am, my phone alarm just went on, I have been counting the drops of the heavy rain outside for quite some time trying to get back to sleep after another wave of mosquitoes.,
I am excited and in a rush as I must pack up again, clear the room and check out to meet my bus at 7.30. I like to be a bit of ahead of the schedule.
Its 6.45 and I have walk under the rain from the guest house for a good ten minutes to finally be disappointed. The bus to Badulla left at 6am and the next one won’t be before 1.30pm. I am rumbling, I am definitely unhappy about it especially as I have been misinformed by the guest house on this.
I return there to kill the time on the internet and doing nothing less else before leaving for the second time, definitely the last this time. The weather is back to normal and left quite a huge sun to dry out the asphalt running by fast under my walking shoes. It feels like I am running with my house with not much effort.
I have just two hours to kill , one spent talking around with the drivers and get loads of good tips and the other one, taking some needed force especially once I knew I would be stuck for another 6 hours journey.
My neighbor Luxmam tried to make out conversation once a nice and good size rainbow pierced the clouds and let us admire it for the few minutes of sunlight remaining. I couldn’t be rude to him(but I was bored already) while he was browsing through his phone, showing me his wife, kids, dogs and grandparents and asking me the inevitable question of my marital status.  It seems like society here is seeing wedding as a very important value and doesn’t really understand to see a white male aged 30 still not complying with the mold. Maybe I am abnormal!
The distance was not that long and it felt like déjà vu though the road was in a much better condition till we arrived at the bottom of the mountains, in an absolute darkness, barely able to see the pedestrians on the side of the road or dogs crossing without a warning.
Badulla, 7.40pm, almost 6 hours in total crushed in the backseat. My information was correct. I am starting wandering around the bus station, trying to spot for some guest house, found a lodge but they are full. The owner calls a three wheeler and for one hundred rupees I ll be able to hunt with him for accommodation. I don’t plan on staying here more than one night as my objective is to reach Ella. After one unsuccessful try, we got a new address to check. Time for a rest, its 8pm and I am falling asleep.
6 am this Saturday morning! I slept almost ten hours and feel like a charm! After a cold shower I am back on the tracks aiming at the railway station. Badulla is apparently famous for its waterfall but we can’t go swimming there so this is not really worth for me to go there and lose the opportunity of being very early in Ella and enjoying myself.
I must anyway be in the tea trails if not Monday, at the latest Tuesday if I want to explore the south of the islands and chill in MIrissa.i ll soon confirm with Amuthan for my arrival there but need to finalize the last bit of the ride from Hatton train station to Norwood.
Badulla to Ella was fantastic, back to the train and its melting pot of people from different social backgrounds. I am by the window, watching out and being waved at by some teenagers that will soon join me on the rail, in the fresh air as I was fed up being seated among breast feeding mums and kids yelling around and throwing food at me by lack of precision !
Badulla-Ella, it is only one hour by train and finally get to see some big tea factory.
The smell Is hard to describe but I am feeling much better here, away from the massive pollution of the city centers.
I am outside, saying bye to my teenagers singing act and spot the hotel country comfort right in front of the station.
This will be definitely the first one I will give an attempt and in fact that’s where I am staying for the night after bargaining for a mere 30 seconds. The price went from 1500 to a rather worth 1000 lkr much more in my line of budget.
Left the hostel around 12, supposedly the warmest moment in the day but its very cloudy today and the wind condition makes it very nice to walk outside though it looks like it will rain but lets hope not, I didn’t take my jacket.
I walked back to the train station, took the road down and made a right , pass through a tunnel and start climbing the hill ahead with the idea of getting a view point and finding some internet.
The story will tell that I didn’t get both in the right order but so much more! On the way to the top, I had a quick rest at this place called the skygreen hostel. Talk to the manager and sealed a deal for tomorrow night…even better from 2500 lkr he went down to a 1000 lkr. I am getting good at it!
The pitstop was necessary and resourceful in information. Got to the summit in no time, the last part was a bit harder as it was mostly burn and the soil was covered of pine needles making it very slippery.
Sat there for a while and a few minutes later an eagle came back to its nest quickly to feed the birdies and went flaring a few meters ahead of me, glancing at me like I was eatable… barely had time to pull my camera and got a shot of its rear. Really beautiful !
As I was waiting to make the shot, I got caught up by the rain and got soaked wet in no time. Stuff my t shirt in the backpack, put every single belonging in there too and covered it up with the rain protection as I was slipping through on the way down.
I got protection first under some banana tree then under the porch of the house I found. Very convenient place that allowed me to wait for a calmer moment to make an exit.
Still looking for internet if you do remind, took a staircase then another and soon I was on the rail track right behind a western (yeah) that I followed for a while before catching up on him and being tipped regardless my search.
I just met the guy again, his name is Fabian, he is a couchsurfer out of munich and we just kill one beer while the rain is still pouring and I must go back to my own place….
Just the idea is discouraging !
I also received an email today regarding the rest of the plan at dilmah and I ll be first in the bungalow, then hosted by the manager of the plant till the 5th.
I love when a plan comes together…(cf to Hannibal smith and the a team)

Ciao Everyone

Love you all

Big kisses to Pauline, guillaume and the amazing dog left home certainly having croquettes as I type in those last few words.