Friday, March 16, 2012

We had a most enjoyable train ride yesterday.  We went up in the hills where there are tea plantations as far as the eye can see.  We stopped at the highest railway station in Sri Lanka at 1891 meters. We rode along in the third class car and hung out the windows and the doors like the regular folks.  In order to see well out the window you had to kneel on the floor, there were no seats, but there were people sitting on the tables. that were in the car. There was a little concession that sold soft drinks, tea, coffee and snacks and another fellow who sold the most excellent  peanuts.  This train ride brought back memories of going on holidays when I was a kid and riding the train from Northern Manitoba down to Winnipeg. 

Barry and I each had a camera and we had fun taking all sorts of pictures.  Occasionally you get a spectacular one, at least I think so, this one was taken as the train reached the end of a tunnel.
Barry caught the train coming out of one tunnel and heading into another.  There were 12 tunnels in our 2 and 1/2 hour train ride.
Seeing the line up of passengers, it made me realize what a foreign country we are in.  Everyone has been very pleasant to us.  There are lots of people with their hands out for extras here.  We have been taking tours and paying to get into places, then a guide will take us around and we are expected to tip the guide at the end. Some of the attractions are free to the local population but visitors are charged an entrance fee.  I am okay with that, in Australia, people over 60 were given a break on prices but only if you were an Australian, I figure this is just the same thing.  
How does this man, who was the station master at one of our stops managed to stay so beautiful and clean in the dirty grimy atmosphere that comes with a diesel train. 
Once we started losing elevation on the north side of the mountain range, we started to see market gardens.The bluey green vegetation in the background are leeks and we saw carrots, potatoes, yams, beets and lots of other veggies being tended as we chugged by.  Tomorrow we  are supposed to go and see some ancient cities that were built over 2000 years ago, so that should be really interesting. I am so glad that we came on this trip.