We arrived in Hatton just before noon to catch a train to Ella. We got dropped off at the train station and a man walked over to us to ask where we were headed. We told him we were off to Ella and he told us to hurry as the train to Ella was sitting at the platform about to depart.
We grabbed the best tickets we could, second class for 125 rupees (1 dollar), and rushed to find a seat onboard. Wading through the rows of seats with our large backpacks, it was a relief to see the cleanliness and comfort we would be enjoying. The train was new and in great shape.
A group of young men stood around the doorway singing and laughing, as they saw me approach they cleared some of their things off a seat and offered it to me. I threw my bag in the overhead and accepted. The train began to roll down the tracks and into the Sri Lankan jungle.
As the group of young minstrels serenaded the passengers, other men walked up and down the hallways selling all sorts of delicious snacks. We bought a bag full to sample. At this point, I decided I was too excited to sit still and instead wanted to stand at the big open doors and take photos of the world whipping by. Walking through the train, I saw families sitting together laughing, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters.
The colour of the train splashed across the lush green of the forests and made me feel like I’d somehow been thrown into a Wes Anderson movie. For the next three hours, I soaked it in as the outside world got soaked by the heavy monsoon rains.