This week I've established a morning commute into Kandy, mostly to escape the house and its alluring couch and kitchen and bed, the sweet enemies of getting productive work done. I've set up my laptop in a different cafe in central Kandy each day, trying out the various coffees and snacks on offer, testing the comfort of chairs and the speed of wifi, and lo and behold I've been getting a lot done!
The commute starts with a stroll with Karen, herself on the way to her daily training course, down the dirt road past the lazy dogs, to the bus stand where she carries on up the hill to her school and I veer off to the railway station.
The 7:45 train is a little commuter shuttle from up country that is already pretty full at Peradeniya with only a handful more stops before reaching Kandy. It's much more pleasant than the bus, which gets trapped in the traffic, swathed in noxious fumes, berated by piercing horn blasts, jolting left and right to pass, jerking to stop for passengers. The train, on the other hand, rumbles smoothly along, rolling through the jungle by the university, getting priority to cut across the road in front of the snarling traffic stopped by the crossing gates. Here are a couple images of local train travel.
Today I saw six different tourists at the Kandy station. That's the most I've seen in weeks. Otherwise I have been feeling like the only alien around, and getting extra attention from the taxi drivers desperate for an ignorant foreigner to fleece. I do love the tuk tuk taxis, though. Each one has custom decorations (though they run along certain themes: Pirates of the Caribbean, Red Indians, Batman) and many have printed aphorisms to ponder. Here is an image of a confusing one.
The Vesak holiday has begun now, and decorations are fluttering on the hot breeze. Here is a photo from downtown Kandy. Sometimes we have to duck quickly when passing the low hanging banners on the motorcycle. For the next few days no alcohol will be sold. We hope this helps people to settle down.