I was looking forward to travelling across Sri Lanka by train as much as I’m looking forward to the new Ghostbusters remake with all those fat chicks in it. After three lengthy rides in overcrowded and uncomfortable buses, I thought the nine-and-a-half journey from Batticaloa to Combo would be as much fun as having afternoon tea with a registered sex offender, but it was actually quite pleasant. I suppose afternoon tea with a sex offender could be alright, too, as long as he was a good conversationalist and promised not to bugger any dogs until he got home.
The train left Batti at 6:10am, which is a time I didn’t even know existed, and was mostly empty. I had two large, reasonably comfortable seats to myself, and a big window to open up and look out of, so I could wave to happy little Sri Lankans as I went. We rolled past a world waking up, with farmers starting their day’s work, shops opening, and dogs being chased by hungry people looking for breakfast. Palm trees, rivers, wetlands and villages all slid past.
At every stop, little blokes would climb onto the train and start singing as they did their best to sell food to the passengers. Some of it looked edible, some of it didn’t, but I passed on it all because Sri Lankan trains don’t have toilets and I didn’t like the thought of hanging my blurter out the window for the next five hours. It’s certainly a colourful and interesting journey that’s far more enjoyable than catching the bus.
I was reading a book when I felt my hair being pulled, and turned around to see a strange creature staring back at me. It had a frog-like face and was making unusual choking noises, its tongue flicking in and out as if it wanted to lick me. I swiped out with my book but the beastie ducked and spat something acidic at me. I dodged it, and the spit hit the seat in front of me, melting it. I squealed and the creature crawled under the seat and scuttled away like a bug, never to be seen again. I went back to reading my book and enjoying the view out the window.
But then, everything went wrong when a FLESH-EATING ZOMBIE shambled into the carriage! With eyes rolling back in his skull and a foul odour emanating from his emaciated body, the ghoul lurched from seat to seat, violently biting and eating the occupants, sending blood spurting through the carriage while people screamed and ran away. The corpse shambled up to me and leant in to tear out my throat, but I wasn’t having any of that, so I told him to sit down and shut up, because he was fucking around and wasting everyone’s time. The monster had no choice but to wander off and take a seat and stop being a dickhead.
With all the blood and gore and headless bodies lying around, I was glad when we finally pulled into Colombo at around 3:30pm. It was a long but memorable journey, and brought me one step closer to the end of a journey that’s taken me through 15 countries across two continents. While I could definitely keep going and see more of the world, it will be good to relax at home for a few weeks before heading off again – this time to Bali for a fortnight’s paragliding, before checking out Japan. That’s just going to be an appetiser, because I’ve got a feeling the trip after that’s going to be a big one…