Select Page

On the night train from Jaffna to Colombo. Listening to Friedrich Kuhlau. The third class is not as nightmarish as expected. Wagon A I bet is a former second class, but wreckaged, still does the rail, still serves for a three class ticket and quite suitable, for now. I have my own seat, my seat neighbour decided to move further down to B, in the filthy brownish incident ceiling light, colouring the scrap of the twilight, I could see fear in his eyes and heard him, grabbing for his belongings and pointing on me with a nodd, commenting my evil epiphany, “Paccha Siraa.” And in my mind´s eye a film sequence starts, a close-up, old man´s face, saying, “Gozilla.” I feel no efforts to smile at him – my mouth the muscle ache, I don’t mind to have a seat for my bag and stretch my legs loose. Prior to this a bunch of young Sri lankans were standing outside the wagon, in front, between us only the time-brushed window, using hands aside their faces to shade their surprise, touching with their tip of noses randomly the glas. Knocking against, in furor, like at a freakshow, taping on their heads, like imitating a monkey, poking with their forefinger at their underarms, laughing, thumbs up, repeat, forhead taping, underarm poking, laughing, thumbs up, knocking against the window rechecking if I still follow the show, in which ny accident I sneaked in, without paying. Frankly, I am getting a bit tired of watching wild gesticulating freaks. Don’t want to pay even with my attention anymore. As I am checking the comfort of my roost, the navy soldier returned, who introduced himself as I was waiting at the platform to board the train, living in Gaulle, not liking Jaffna at all, “But good money.” – this stance on my favorite place in Sri Lanka I heard sadly too often, married, a five year old son, sort of odd in his approach, presenting me with a silly and alienated giggle his favorite website, a gay dating service. “You, also, here?” pointing on my cock. “Not yet.” Giggling, just him. Further web browsing. If I wouldn’t be that tired of gazes and especially impotent government employees, I had lots of questions now, but I decided, he seem to be alive and his well-paid service distracts his cock with temptation. “See you later, my friend, yes.” I continued inspecting. Fans are working, no need to open the window and let more flies in. My seat is right back in the corner. The ceiling and the walls are fuzzy covered with spiderwebs and their constructors lurking around, not huge but enough to decide I haven’t seen this. Erase! Just do your job and kill some moskitoes. It will be dark in an hour or so anyway. There is the horn and off we are, the spiders, the cock sparger and me. All doors are open as always. Behind me, the bathrooms. When the train stops an intense malodorous smell of dead cesspit moisten the brownish atmosphere with its odor. It needs a couple of rail rattles till the air is deeply breathable again. I went on the toilet later, decided to buy yummy milk tea from one of the sellers, jumping on the trains station by station, course by course, searching my pockets, standing in some sole-deep whatever-I-don´t-wanna-know. A twenty rupee bill flapping down my leg, kindlyntouches my knee before it launches, floating for a second on the surface of the watery unknow, before it sinks. Me in panic grabbing it, furling the less than 20 cents, but worth half a coffee, dipping my scarf with its ending into the sea while bending forward. I laugh out loud, this is so traveling. I hate and love it.

Remembering… and I don´t want to miss to mention the lovely sellers of Muneeswaran Road in Jaffna, at its end my accomodation was located. Every morning when I walked up to the mainroad, passing their stalls, we greeted each other in a humorous and comedic respect, taking pictures of us, laughing together. Such wonderful people. One of them would shout at me, jumping out of the dark of his stocks of clothes, yelling and undressing his shirt, “I love you!!!” In fact they are, like as many in Jaffna, living from hand to mouth, them and their families. Jaffna, like the government employees say, “Good money, but not nice to live there.” I am sure they never left their limited minds. I pity you, my friends. Sellers, fishermen and their families as far as I have seen. You don´t deserve this, nobody does and particularly not after decades of war, but business has to keep going and the army is still there, without… I only have hate to spit into your faces.

By hour seven after midnight, 5:54 a.m., I could be already in Colombo, but the train rested in silence, five hours, nearby Galgamuwa railroad station, in pouring rain, maybe a landslide, at least I found some sleep, not being shaken thoroughly.

As the train started to rattle again, we passed the accident scene. The night train coming from Colombo hit two baby elephants, one lying there, burst wide open, innards everywhere. The second couple of meters behind, seems like this one is sleeping, just having a rest after the turmoil. Wild elephants, hit by a train. I have never seen that before. A tear is running down as I look into the baby´s eye for a second. Locals standing aside, not able to interprate their state of emotion. Sri Lanka and its amazing nature.

19 hours later I am in Negombo. A city of randomness, because I am in between already. For the last time I enjoy the Indian Ocean, the sea, the wideness, realising I didn´t go for a swim once. – Sri Lanka was a catch and finally a road of marvellous meetings. My head in my heart I bow low.