1.2 Train from Colombo to Ella

​The only thing I wrote for the trip:

We walked hastily to the station, with the help of lights from the stalls along the streets, past the chaos of the traffic and the tuk tuks that seemed to come far too close to my feet.

On board the train. The large red carriages with bold numbers were crowded with activity. The train guard directed us ahead. Carriages after carriages were just as full. Finally we got into one, stood by the doorway for a moment. It dawned on me that this was my spot to stand, possibly for a very long journey ahead. At this time, the train was crowded and we were perspiring quite a bit, sticky bodies occasionally pressed next to each other in this crowded space. I took out the exam paper I brought (lol) to act as a makeshift fan. Admittedly I was expecting a seat on this second-class train I suppose, but no matter, I quietly appreciated the fact that I wouldn’t have an experience like this back home.

​Our humble abode for the last 10 hours on the floor.

The train set off at 8pm. The comforting wind filled the stifling air of the carriages, along with the chorus of a group of boys behind us and their drumming beats. Mr J makes conversation – he shares that he travels ‘2.5 hours a day to Colombo, 2.5 hours back home, 8 hours working, that’s 13 hours gone.’ I tell him Singapore is a small country, it takes maybe about 2 hours to get from one end to the other. We spend the next 40 minutes yelling over the roaring engine of the train.

Cz tells me to get in to the carriage. Here, it’s slightly different. A group of girls are seated at the front, some sharing seats in camaraderie. As the train’s engine roars louder, the girls started to scream, and my mind flashes to a rollercoaster seat pulled by gravity. Slowly amidst their laughters and the drumming of the boys, they broke into a chorus that merged with the beats of the long carriage ride.

​(Finally) emerging from our humble abode for the night, where we spent 10 hours standing and sitting on the floor of a full train carriage. A local makes conversation – he shares that he travels ‘2.5 hours a day to Colombo, 2.5 hours back home, 8 hours working, that’s 13 hours gone.’ I tell him Singapore is a small country, it takes maybe about 2 hours to get from one end to the other. We spent the next 40 minutes yelling over the roaring engine of the train.

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